Nazi Memorabilia Part 2/2

RAD Long Service Award

On my last blog I featured two books: one on the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and the second, a book on Adolf Hitler. They were known as ‘cigarette’ books because they were sold by a cigarette company in an effort to sell more of their product. The books consisted of pages with text interspersed with spaces left blank for future insertions of photographs. These photos could be purchased with premiums found in packages of cigarettes.

This blog deals with two items: A RAD long service award and a RAD officers brocade belt.

The RAD, or National Labour Service, was the Third Reich’s labour division. RAD members were expected to provide service for mainly military and to a lesser extent civic and agricultural construction projects. This changed as the war progressed and more and more men were tasked with laying minefields, manning fortifications, and even helping guard vital locations and prisoners.

According to one website, each RAD member was given a spade (note the spade in the above award) and a bicycle. (I’m rather curious about the latter.) Women were in the service as well but their awards / logos do not show the spade.

There were different levels of long service awards – albeit these awards were given for a mere four years of service. This one would have been at the lower level because of its material. The highest awards were made of silver or silver-coloured metal and there would have been an additional insignia woven into the ribbon. This ribbon is plain. Value for such an item is in the neighbourhood of $150 – $200.

RAD brocade belt

When I did research on the various items for appraisal purposes, it became pretty clear that any person who came in contact with Nazi personnel could know exactly how high up that person was in the Third Reich’s hierarchy. Every ribbon, belt buckle, or shoulder stripe etc. gave information about that person’s power and prestige.

My client’s grandfather was an engineer – officer with RAD. According to him, his ancestor’s main task was around building bridges. This type of belt is an officer’s belt and it is in excellent condition. There are different types of belt buckles with this insignia – some are square with this circular element in the center; other’s, like this one, show only the circular RAD symbol with spade and swastika encircled by sheaves of wheat (note the spade). Even the numbers of stripes and their placement on the belt had significance. The value of such an item, if in good condition, is between $250 and $300, sometimes more.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, although such items are associated with terrible worldwide events, they are nevertheless, also part of some person’s ancestry, and I was privileged to be invited to see them.

3 thoughts on “Nazi Memorabilia Part 2/2

  1. Dear Joanne,

    Recently I was contacted by a lady who’s husband past. Her husband’s father served as a General in the war. He had willed multiple items to her husband when he passed away years ago. A very wealthy man he was.
    During his time serving as a General, he had collected many items that were Nazi Items. Now that my clients husband has passed, she is wanting all these items sold and gone.
    After meeting at her home, she was apprehensive, and unsure what price to place on the items. These items/memorabilia are not your typical items, anyone would expect to find. For example she had, guns, original nazi flags, uniforms, multiple nazi buttons and pins, binoculars, knives, small cannon, and so on.

    My question is? Can these items be sold in an antique shop. Are they not to offensive to be sold. Is there a place these items can be appraised. If so, do you recommend a place. I know there are collectors, but most antique stores steer away from such items being sold in there stores. Her collection is large, and there are multiple items that the Germans lost which her father in law had. I don’t know which side he served on, but I believe this collection tells a rather sad story.

    Please can you recommend some advice for her large collection. I was very apprehensive to buy any pieces. The dog tags she has did not belong to her father, but rather a soldier they were taken off of. It’s a very Uncomfortable situation dealing with this estate. Any advice would be highly regarded, as to what to do with her big collection of Nazi and German antique items.
    Thank you Kindly,

    1. Hi Wendy – nice to hear from you! I totally get what you’re saying. In reading about Nazi memorabilia it became very clear that there are negative connotations with selling this type of memorabilia – and antique stores are loathe to have such items on display for fear they will be branded as Nazi – lovers and placed in danger from supremacist groups and anti-suprematist groups. It appears that most people who have such collections sell them online or through auction houses that seem to specialize in such things and it would be a way of disposing of them anonymously. Your client appears to have several items that could be deemed illegal to sell. I was able to find the information on the pieces I wrote about in order to do my appraisal because they aren’t illegal to sell but there are others where finding such items’ value could be complicated by these rules. I personally wouldn’t buy such items – although I find them interesting from a historical perspective. Perhaps, in order to help your client you might act as an intermediary and find auction houses that would accept her pieces. Good luck!

    2. I know they are used in movies, either the original objects or just their replicas. Search for any film related contact information e.g. producers, studios.

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