Three views of a Degen: top, the SS sign on the pommel; middle, the oak leaves and the runic design of the handle and upper scabbard; bottom, the art deco tip of the scabbard
|Place of origin||Peter Dan. Krebs firm of Solingen, Germany|
|Wars||World War II|
|Produced||c. 1936 - 1945|
|Blade type||Single-edged, straight bladed.|
The SS-Ehrendegen also SS-Degen (officially Ehrendegen Reichsführer-SS) was a straight saber or sword, especially of the dress sword worn with a SS-Uniform. In the context of Nazi Germany, it was used by the Schutzstaffel (SS) from 1935 until 1945.
First introduced in 1935, it was designed by Professor Karl Diebitsch, an SS-Oberführer, who was also Heinrich Himmler’s personal referent on all art and design within the SS. The degen was originally manufactured by the Peter Dan. Krebs firm of Solingen, Germany. Later degens were manufactured by Paul Müller at Dachau and by Puma of Solingen.
It had a long thin straight blade produced at different lengths to accommodate for the height of the wearer. The Degen featured a "D" shaped knuckle-bow (crossguard) as the handle which also featured a black ribbed wooden grip. The grip was bound with silver wire and featured an inset disk featuring the SS double lightning-bolt runes.
The scabbard was painted in a black enamel and had a decorative silvered top (locket) and bottom (chape) mounts. It was worn with an aluminium braid sword knot which was embellished with the SS runes in black on the stem.
The officer degen was officially awarded with a hand signed certificate from Heinrich Himmler to selected officers of the SS-Verfügungstruppe and SS-Totenkopfverbände in recognition of special merit. It was also awarded to officers who graduated from the SS-Junkerschulen at Bad Tolz and Brunswick.
The NCO version was similar to the officer version but the scabbard had a plain unadorned chape. The NCO version's handle also lacked the silver wire wrapping and the SS runes were moved from the handle to the pommel cap.
The Führer Degen was used by officers as a dress uniform weapon and for ceremonial purposes such as the swearing in of new SS recruits.
SS NCOs, especially senior NCOs, used the degen as a full dress weapon.
- Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP, Berlin, 1943, p.106
- Williamson, Gordon, Waffen SS Handbook 1933–1945.
- Thomas Wittman Exploring the Dress Daggers and Swords of the German SS
- Thomas Johnson
- Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich (Volumes I to VIII)
- Wearing the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich, Volume I to III
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- www.oldswords.com—online resource for antique sword/sabre collectors
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