SS-Helferinnen Uniform, Why No Tie?

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Vikki.
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Klara Hoffman
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SS-Helferinnen Uniform, Why No Tie?

Post by Klara Hoffman » 30 Nov 2006 12:23

Can anyone give me the reason why the SS Helferin uniform had no tie? Its a nice uniform but looks a bit drab with nothing on the neck.

Danke
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ancasta
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Post by ancasta » 30 Nov 2006 16:00

It was perceived by some in the higher ranks that a tie was 'too masculine', going against the SS view that women should show their natural femininity. This also means no makeup by the way (they were not permitted to wear it), and hair had to be off the shoulders like all helferin in uniform to keep it out the way. I have a book with SS Helferin research, I shall look it up for you.

In the meantime look up the special SS Helferin brooch they were awarded for special services. This they wore at the neck. If you find nothing I shall put up a photo of one, but its a bit grainy in the book.

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Post by Klara Hoffman » 30 Nov 2006 18:32

Thanks again for the info ancasta, a photo of the brooch would be nice if you dont mind. Could you recommend any books on SS Helferinen?

Danke
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Post by Vikki » 01 Dec 2006 04:46

ancasta wrote:It was perceived by some in the higher ranks that a tie was 'too masculine', going against the SS view that women should show their natural femininity.


Hello Ancasta,

Can you post the primary source (the original, period source) for this information? I'm sure some of the other readers would be as interested in it as I am.


This also means no makeup by the way (they were not permitted to wear it), and hair had to be off the shoulders like all helferin in uniform to keep it out the way.

And for this information as well? For example, Allgemeine Heeresmitteilungen 40, No. 1085 of 1 October 1940 instructed that only "decent" makeup was to be worn by female Army auxiliaries. Luftwaffe Order 41, No. 896, 28 July 1941 issued the same caveat--but not prohibition--on the wear of makeup to Luftnachrichtenhelferinnen.*

Photographic evidence of all branches of Helferinnen in uniform and at work argues that if such an order that "hair had to be off the shoulders" existed, it was widely flaunted. Unlike modern military (at least U.S.) restrictions of females pulling the hair up above the collar, the hairstyles of Third Reich Helferinnen, still fashion-conscious young women, appear to simply reflect the fashions of the day: hair on, at, or above the shoulder, with the same styles and percentages of hair down or pulled up as civilian women.


*John R. Angolia and Adolf Schlicht, Uniforms and Traditions of the German Army, vol. 2, p. 214; Angolia and Schlicht, Uniforms and Traditions of the Luftwaffe, vol. 2, p. 64.

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ancasta
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Post by ancasta » 01 Dec 2006 11:37

My sources vary but include 'Frauen zu den Waffen?' by Franz Seidler and 'Nazi chic?' by Irene Guenther. And I'm talking about SS women, not the other helferin who were permitted to wear things like mascara. Personal accounts too comment on being told off by superiors for the wearing of makeup while on duty.

The problem is I have seen your make-up quote used by reenacting women who insist that the world will implode if they don't wear heavy makeup at events and they end up looking like bad actresses laden with lipstick, foundation and eyeshadow, especially when there were shortages of makeup in the period they are meant to be portraying. I'm sorry to say that the academic archaeologist in me makes me an authenti-nazi, and I cant stand anachronisms like that. The rules are clear in that make-up must be worn lightly, and then only covers Heer and Luftwaffe, not the SS which came under independent and different rules. I cannot comment on the Kriegsmarine as I have not seen any sources for them.

Regarding hair, I didn't make myself clear so things have been taken literally - sometimes my English fails me, a consequence growing up abroad. I meant hair longer than shoulder length. Yes, I know women wore their hair on the shoulder, plenty of photographs show that, but I meant women who have lose hair beyond the shoulders. I have seen reenactment women portraying Helferin wearing BDM style plaits, pony tails or lose longer hair, when it really should be shoulder length or tied up. I find this a shame because so many soldat's spend a fortune getting the uniform, equipment and look spot on and then a minority let the side down. On the other hand I have seen Helferin who look like they have just walked out the pages of a Heer magazine and look superb. I attach photos for clarification but I have been unable to find the source with the actual rules regarding this as I cant remember which one of my books its in. Sorry :oops:

For SS Helferin research I recommend the German language book, 'Frauen zu den Waffen?' by Franz Seidler who has covered the subject extensively. He currently lectures on the Helferin topic at a German University. Within the book there are many quotes from Himmler and other sources about the bearing, standards and uniforms of the SS Helferin, including that women must en-shew artificial beauty through makeup, hair products and masculine fashions in favour of the naturally beautiful German Frau. Within 'Nazi chic?' by Irene Guenther the point is made that a woman wearing a tie (but she remains silent about the tie wearing early NS Frauenshaft) was a reminder to the 1920's boyish and 'unnatural, un-German boyish fashions'. I too always wondered why the SS Helferin were the only ones not permitted to wear a tie with their uniforms. It really does look odd. The above is what I could glean from books but I'm sure there is more out there.

I'll post some SS Helferin pictures of interest later..
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Post by ancasta » 01 Dec 2006 12:51

Some more SS-Helferin information. In this case, a uniform issue list. On the right hand side you can see how many were issued 'per head', and how long service had to elapse before a replacement was issued. The women were expected to make their coat last for three years for instance, and were issued two dienstkittels or worksmocks for duty like their other helferin counterparts. The tie is conspicuous by its absence but notice what extra goodies they get for the 'Eastern Territories'.
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Post by Vikki » 01 Dec 2006 13:22

Ancasta,

First of all, I could not agree more with you on most of your comments on the misuse--or complete lack of knowledge--of the period evidence by some female reenactors. It is a shame, because as you and I both know, there is plenty of documentation readily available.

However, it's not "my" makeup quote---it's a quote from period regulations, which are primary documents of how Helfs were supposed to behave at the time, and in their situation. If it's misused by modern female reenactors, well, so much to their discredit. That doesn't remove it from being a document from the time, or its information from being in disagreement with the information you posted.


But my question was on sources for the information you posted. And your original posts were referring to 1930s/40s practices, not those of reenactors who don't do their research. I found the information in your post fascinating and potentially extremely valuable information. And I simply asked for the primary source for that information--which can usually be provided by a specific reference to page or note number of the modern references you've obviously read. If one asserts a piece of information as a matter of fact, they should be able to provide a source---and to my mind, as another "academic archaeologist" type---preferably a primary, period one, for the information.

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~Vikki
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Post by ancasta » 01 Dec 2006 13:30

The award brooch - In July 1943 an award was instituted for SS-Helferinnen (not for SS-Kriegshelferinnen) made from 800 solid silver sized 55 x 8 mm in size. Every one was stamped with a serial number on the back and were worn as per regulations at the neck.
You had to be special to receive such a reward, and these brooches are terribly rare. Ladies who had completed a satisfactory probationary period or carried out 'special' work for the SS (one such story can be read in Blandford's book 'Under Hitlers Banner') with good behaviour, exemplary record and proficient service would receive it, but if they blotted their copybook or received disciplinary action the brooch would be withdrawn instantly and it would be mentioned in their service record.

Due to the utter rarity of these brooches and the lack of photos showing them in wear these brooches must have had a very limited issue to a very lucky and select handful of women. There is currently one for sale in Germany for 2,000 Euros.

Sources and actual brooch photo: 'Frauen zu den Waffen?' by Franz Seidler with the engraving picture from the Osprey book by Gordon Williamson.

Aus der Dienstordnung für SS-Helferinnen vom 28. Juli 1943 (Seite 11 Nummer 5):

"Als Anerkennung für gute Leistungen und eine klare, saubere, der deutschen Frau würdigen Haltung, wird den SS-Helferinnen nach einer angemessenen Zeit der Erprobung und Bewährung auf Vorschlag des Chefs des Fernmeldewesens durch besondere Urkunde eine mit Nummer versehene Silberspange verliehen.
Die Silberspange ist eine Auszeichnung, die zu Dienstkleidung und im Dienst getragen werden muß, jedoch auch außerhalb des Dienstes an die bürgerliche Kleidung angesteckt werden kann. Bei Verstoß gegen die Dienstpflichten oder schlechtem Verhalten kann die Silberspange für begrenzte Zeit oder für immer entzogen werden."*

Aus der Vorläufigen Einsatzordnung für SS-Helferinnen vom 2. Februar 1944 ( Seite 8 Nummer 30):

"SS-Helferinnen können nach zweijähriger Zugehörigkeit zum SS-Helferinnenkorps, soweit sie sich bewährt und stets eine klare, der deutschen Frau würdige Haltung bewiesen haben, dem Chef des Fernmeldewesens namhaft gemacht werden zwecks Überprüfung der Vorschlagsmöglichkeiten zur Verleihung der Silberspange für SS-Helferinnen (bisher Brosche genannt) durch den Reichsführer-SS. Bei der Namhaftmachung ist strengster Maßstab anzulegen."*

* Above German quotes from: "Auszeichnungen des Deutschen Reiches 1936-1945" von Kurt-G. Klietmann S. 193
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Post by ancasta » 01 Dec 2006 13:41

Vikki wrote:However, it's not "my" makeup quote---it's a quote from period regulations, which are primary documents of how Helfs were supposed to behave at the time, and in their situation.

I'm not implying that you said it - its very clear in your post where it originates and what the source is :)

But my question was on sources for the information you posted

I thought I had answered it? :cry: However, I admit I used a poor choice of words and a rather weak example. I'll just stick on my Stahlhelm and dive into the nearest bunker till the flaming for my post is over! :lol:

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Post by ancasta » 01 Dec 2006 14:47

I'm adding some more details about the SS-Helferin uniform here as I have seen in other threads that questions often come up about it.
Some of you will have noticed that the uniforms of the SS-Helferin and the uniforms of the SS-Kriegshelferinnen differ in cut and style, so here are some examples so you are clear in your uniform research.

The first photo is of the SS-Helferin uniform http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=5494
I havent seen an original suriving jacket but I assume there's some out there in private collections. Compare that to the jacket of the Kriegshelferin which is a completely different cut. They were also not permitted to wear the SS patch unlike the SS-Helferinnen who had to pass a stricter selection process.

Here is a rare surviving example of the SS-Kriegshelferin uniform
http://www.regimentals.co.uk/shop/viewphoto.php?shoph=33591&phqu=5

More information about the roles of these SS women can be found on this forum using the search facility :)

I am not a fan of these horrible brutal women at the camps, but I have added their uniforms here so that mistakes are not made in the field.
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Post by Vikki » 01 Dec 2006 16:50

Caption of the halftone image of the bottom photo of the clasp shown above, by the author in whose work it appears, Gordon Williamson, World War II German Women's Auxiliary Services, p. 42 (emphasis added):
The rare silver clasp instituted in July 1943 for award to SS-Helferinnen for distinguished service. This Silberspange für SS-Helferinnen was to be awarded to those auxiliaries who had completed a two-year probationary period with good behaviour and proficient service; it could be rescinded in the case of later disciplinary offences. No documentary or photographic evidence for actual awards has come to light so far.



And his description of the Spange on page 41:
...Original examples of the clasp exist, in 800-marked silver and some bearing what appear to be issue numbers, but no records appear to have survived detailing any awards that may have been made, and no photos have yet emerged of this clasp being worn.


Numerous awards and insignia were instituted (so that the criteria for their award or wearing are known), and had a limited run of the actual medal struck (so that examples of them exist, but usually only "prototype" examples), but were never actually issued. Well-known examples that come to mind are the "SS Officer Prototype" beltbuckle (with an unwreathed, mobile swastika and sideways-facing eagle) and the "Commemorative Medal for the Campaign of 1939/1940" (the "Western Front Medal"). It seems very likely, from the comments by the author above, that the "Silberspange für SS-Helferinnen" was one of these medals that was never issued.

We should be very careful in how we present these awards, so that collectors and reenactors don't get the wrong impression about their numbers or actual issuance.

Best,
~Vikki

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Post by Klara Hoffman » 01 Dec 2006 19:28

Thanks Ancasta and Vikki, both your comments have been very useful, the ss clothing list is great, like the idea of the black cape. I agree that some reenactors overdo it with make up and up to date hair styles. I hate to see the Jennifer Aniston hair do hanging out of a side cap, it just kills the uniform. No offence to Jennifer Aniston.

Klara

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Post by ancasta » 02 Dec 2006 13:49

Vikki wrote:We should be very careful in how we present these awards, so that collectors and reenactors don't get the wrong impression about their numbers or actual issuance.

So you think Franz Seidler, an author and leading academic on the research of Helferin and someone you recommend in the reading list, is wrong? And the photograph of the actual brooch, you feel that is a fake? I shall email him about it as I talk to him from time to time. I'm not telling people to wear these things, I'm informing the forum readership that this brooch exists in the ether that is military collecting but is so rare its not really worth looking out for, and was probably worn by less than 10 women out of the 5,000 or so SS-Helferin that were employed.

Books in this research area quote from each other, and if this brooch was instigated in mid to late 1944 I too would believe that there are no examples issued, but as it was implemented in 1943, and the fact I have seen photos of one, makes me think otherwise.

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Post by Vikki » 02 Dec 2006 19:46

ancasta wrote:So you think Franz Seidler, an author and leading academic on the research of Helferin and someone you recommend in the reading list, is wrong?

Seidler's research and publication on the subject are invaluable. However, as a consumer, producer, and former copy-editor of academic works, I don't believe that any work is either perfect or sacred simply because it's published. Not infrequently, additional information may exist or come to light that adds to or modifies the accepted knowledge on a subject.



And the photograph of the actual brooch, you feel that is a fake?

Read what I wrote:
Vikki wrote:Numerous awards and insignia were instituted (so that the criteria for their award or wearing are known), and had a limited run of the actual medal struck (so that examples of them exist, but usually only "prototype" examples), but were never actually issued.

Taken in context, nowhere did I imply that the brooch in the photo, or other known examples, were "fake". What I suggested is that, given one author's comment that no documentary or photographic evidence for the Spange's award is known, existing examples may be "prototype" examples of very limited production, made for review and approval of the design by officials--as was the case with numerous other Third Reich medals and insignia.



ancasta wrote:Books in this research area quote from each other, and if this brooch was instigated in mid to late 1944 I too would believe that there are no examples issued, but as it was implemented in 1943, and the fact I have seen photos of one, makes me think otherwise.

Then we simply have different opinions. The "Western Front Medal" I referred to above as a comparison was conceived in 1940. But even an award to commemorate so major a part of Germany's conquests was never issued by the end of the war:
http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/ ... ront+Medal

~Vikki

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Post by Matt Gibbs » 02 Dec 2006 22:22

Ok; hello folks. SS female auxiliaries is not something I have delved into, but seeing as SS items can be more highly prized, valued and indeed faked I think maybe you can guess why. Anyway, before I get to that I am going to add a feeling I have over reading in this particular thread that I have not seen in other recent threads.
It seems to me we're all getting a bit defensive here, or is that my imagination..? If it is, well, this come from a qucik read of the posts on here, and is in no way a critisism leveled at anyone, except perhaps myself. ;) I am allowed to be on the defensive here, you all know more about this subject that me! LOL. Thats fair because I probably know more about Anti Partisan Warfare than you [thats a guess tho!]
Perhaps we need to take a step back and look at the whole ethos of these forums, to learn and in so doing to share. The medium of the internet being so impersonal, and so unlike having a face to face meeting means we can appear to be more forcefull than we intend or appear to advocate someone elses opinion over anyone else. I don't own any of the books cited, and I have more than my share of reasons for not believing the printed word 100%. ;) I guess what I am trying to say is with this kind of awards we shall never know. Many hundreds of thousands of personnel files, documents running into the 10s of tonnes and other paperwork was burned or destroyed in the close of the third reich. Many avenues for badges I am interested in run into dead ends. With this brooch also I think we shall never know. Some people in this field saw fit to make money in the 50's and 60's by giving out bogus information to boost their own sales or stature, and pass off what we now know as fiction as truth. Sad but true :(

That photo of Helferin brooch appears also on many websites [generally unsourced as often the case] and either it or another very very similar picture appears in several other books I have read or looked over in the past. Personally I always thought it was small, ugly and in no way would have made me think "hey great I've got a cool brooch to wear!" :D :D Compared to other women working in branches of the party or the auxiliary forces, or civilian organisations I think it looks pretty cheap.

Maybe to female re-enactors it looks cool and something to have, since if doing SS they feel they have nothing else?? I shall ask some of my re-enactor colleagues for their opinions.

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