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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ancasta
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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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Vikki
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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.

Best,
~Vikki
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ancasta
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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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ancasta
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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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ancasta
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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/viewp ... 591&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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Vikki
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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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Klara Hoffman
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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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ancasta
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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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Matt Gibbs
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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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ancasta
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Post by ancasta » 03 Dec 2006 04:34

I'm chilling :D

On a serious side, I think this proves that out there in the big world there is an awful lot of mixed but published 'fact'. I can answer one question about 5 different ways depending which book I happen to open up at the time. I don't have SS reenacting or collecting interests either but I do appear to have collected some rare works about the subject and felt that I should share these things with others. And within my experience as forum poster and moderator on other sites nine out of ten things we write on here will be ignored anyway, but the rest of the readership will be inspired to go away and do some research of their own to either prove or disprove what everyone else is arguing about! I hope they do as I like to see as many different viewpoints as possible, with someone else perhaps discovering a completely new and unknown thing that would be of great interest to us all. This is why debate in the forums is so important.
As an archaeologist I have been taught to confirm a theory using more than two or preferably more sources, which I did. Vikki is using just the one which is why I responded the way I did.

I will stop posting on this thread to calm things down and also in the hope that someone else out there who has a serious and sole interest in the SS will have some information far more interesting than I could ever supply to share with the OP who really needs some serious information to help her in her hobby. I have got a copy of an SS-Helferin recruiting handout but I wont post it now.

And to answer the original question of the OP, all I can find in the short period of time are quotes from Himmler speeches on what the ideal SS woman should be, her bearing, her manners and of course her dress sense both in and out of uniform. He had discussed with fellow officers how ugly and mannish women looked in the 1920's when wearing ties - I cannot find direct references but it may (please note I say may, not is) be Himmler himself who insisted that women should not wear ties. Post your question in the SS section of this forum and you may get an answer from members who dont venture into the ladies section :D

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Post by Heimatschuss » 28 Dec 2007 00:26

Hello everybody,

this thread may be a bit aged already but just recently I've found two interesting pics related to the subject (i.e. SS auxiliaries' ties or the lack thereof).

Source 1: http://www.ebay.de auction 200185032580
Source 2: http://news.webshots.com/photo/13710599 ... 0923BNNoKn (The skullhead on the cap is another oddity.)

From these photos it appears that Himmler was not the ulitmate fashion guru to each and every woman employed by the SS. When it came to such vital things like fancy dressing some of them seem to have had their very own set of mind. (Just aberrations from the regulations of course but interesting nonetheless.)

The SS Kriegshelferin below seems to wearing one of the short ties that were typical for the first generation of Luftwaffe auxiliaries.

Best regards
Torsten
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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 28 Dec 2007 02:10

A very nice photo! Thanks for posting it...but it's not of an SS Helferin. The sleeve eagle is not SS nor is the cap, nor the eagle on the cap.
There are several branches that wore sleeve eagles, a couple that come to mind are the TENO, NSKK, and the Eastern Territories Officials. At first glance this woman looks to be of the former, but without seeing the color of the uniform it is hard to tell.
But a really nice photo none the less!

SW~

PS--That other photo (with the death's head) looks to be a heavily dubbed photo. The runes are in the wrong place, wrong size, she is wearing what really appears to be either a Heer or Kriegsmarine Helferin tunic (double breasted with pocket flaps), and the cap eagle is army or navy looking. I'd say it is a KM Helferin photo tricked out to be SS for the unwary.
Not a nice photo.

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Post by Heimatschuss » 28 Dec 2007 03:29

Dear Siegfried Wilhelm,

thank you for pointing out various flaws regarding the identification of the depicted woman as an SS auxiiliary. I'll try to find out for what organization she really worked for.
Obviously it's a bit more complex than I expected.

Best regards
Torsten

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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 28 Dec 2007 22:19

Torsten,
Believe me, I know what you mean. WWII German stuff is sooo varied and complicated I don't know how anyone can keep up with it. I know a few things, but I am not anywhere in the league of people like Fraulein Valkyrie (Vikki) when it comes to women's stuff. Better see what she says.

SW~

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