Great example of a HITLER JUGEND armband!
After seeing these on this site and an auction site I remembered that I had one – somewhere – since my teenage years. Found, cleaned and photographed I'm adding it to the database for those interested. Before I go into detail as to its precedence these are the photo's plus one from the records giving it's RZM specification :
First it's “pedigree”, I cannot in anyway see how this could be a fake. When at school I think around 1966 – 1968 I had a US M1 helmet but my father was sick to death of seeing it about and told me to get rid of it . . so I swapped it at school for this “Nazi armband”, easy for me to hide within the pages of a book whilst I quietly rebelled. It stayed there nestling in its press until I saw last year some of these being sold in auction, took me ages to find the book and lucky too for it could easily have been thrown away. It had been faithfully travelling with me through two countries and fourteen homes in FIFTY years!
All the wear and tear that is seen in the pix must be the result of it's “original” usage given I never “played” using it as a boy though it was dirty and so has been extraordinarily carefully cleaned by me recently and this has NOT damaged the material or the dyes in anyway. The two very small “hatched” areas seen near one end are where it was pegged out to dry naturally. Has wear on the inside but that, presumably, would come from it being worn?
Having sourced the specification for this item – copy shown in one of the pix – I have translated much of this and can confirm it matches the spec, there are TWO points of note though. Has no evidence of a label and nor do I remember seeing any indication of it and, though the dimensions are in accordance with the spec, it's weave seems to have tightened up as it's proportionally narrower than it should be by just under 10%. The careful wash I gave it did NOT cause that, I measured it before and after cleaning.
Open to offers as now I've found it I'll be selling it when I get a good bid.
02-03-2016 05:16 PM
Both on this site and another that I have displayed my example of a HJ armband on I've received comments about why I cleaned it and it's construction. I thought I would answer those here on my original thread. To split this into two manageable segments I'll deal with each one separately.
My example had been stored for half a century between the pages of an old history book and no special consideration was given to storing that book over that period. So when I found the armband again it had suffered from it's less than perfect storage in that it had been prone to moisture. The white was stained by mildew (?) and most of it was a “buff” colour with hints of green! Areas of the red were equally dirty. Knowing that this condition was solely due to storage and not use I decided it needed a sympathetic clean . . an extremely careful one in fact. No detergents were used instead it had a long soak in a warm solution of “Vanish Gold Oxi-Action” stain remover with occasional “agitation” by fingers alone, when the solution became dirty the armband was given repeated careful flushes with cold water. It was then first left flat to drain and then pegged up to air dry. It's never been ironed, the creases are the results of 50 years between book pages.
One reason why I've gone into detail about my treatment is, hopefully, to help others decide if they wish to clean fabric items. You see it may be true that collectors prefer to see “original patina” as proof of precedence but what about if your item has become dirty and stained whilst in your hands? That doesn't amount to a hill of beans. My cleaning can be compared to the “restoration of old Masters oil paintings” where the cleaning brings back the paintings colours as they should be seen. Not all will want this but I think it brought my HJ armband back to life.
Accurate dimensions taken before washing were the same as after so the slightly smaller proportional width remains. This example is 100 mm overall width, white bar is 25<26 mm and both red bars 38 mm wide. Spec says 105 mm, 25 mm and 40 mm respectively. I was inaccurate with my “<10%” remark, should have quoted the above. My mistake.
Whatever a perfectionist might say I'm pleased that the finished result is highly representative of it as it was last used and hope the images help others with their research into these regalia.
With regard to differences in appearance yet still within the relevant RZM specification many would agree that, with millions of these having been made, different commercial producers would use their own dedicated production techniques and materials. Having found the RZM on another site and shown here I have worked to translate it, not easy with it's Gothic script, and from what I've done I'm able to say that, if this were a legal document, then it leaves plenty of room for interpretation. No expert can then say of any one remaining example that it is the only version that is genuine.
One of the more popular concerns about a “fully stitched” example is that it can't be a true representative as it could be “home made” and there are certainly some examples doing the rounds that do look a DIY effort . . . but there are also others that certainly have been made in a factory (Chinese?) and where the faker has slipped up on some small detail. Too fresh? Nice paper label? Too good to be true? Same with obviously “home made” items, wrong fabric, swastika cut from a piece of felt, small T.P.I of stitching and, in many cases, clear evidence of hand stitching. Thing is that some of these may actually be the oldest surviving genuine examples . . not easy, is it?
I've already commented in forums that judgement by looking at pixels is flawed so I'll need to ask the reader to accept my statements as I have the thing in my hands as I type but, having said that, I am a photographer too and I'll look at taking some very high definition shots using a macro lens. That will give the viewer the same as if he/she had a magnifying glass . . a lot safer that risking burning holes in the item!
. . . and talking of which I have now conducted a “burn test” on two individual threads – one white the other red – from my example. Both are (were) a fine twist with a slightly “fluffy” nature as they unravelled, the white a little more than the red. Neither burst into flames, both smouldered and both extinguished of their own accord. That doesn't prove I own “The Holy Grail” but it does rule out it being a later fake.
Then there is one aspect of it's construction that rules out anything other than it having been made in a commercial factory . . . the detail of the stitching and – possibly – the white stripe down the centre. I am only able to view some of the stitching under a very powerful magnifying glass, I cannot even guess at it's T.P.I, threads per inch so fine is the stitching. The edges of the red are either woven with a selvage or, and there is some indication of stitching, actually hemmed and stitched . . at less than 1 mm width!?!
If you look at the image of the inside you'll see two lines of white thread. Now I had originally assumed this piece was machine stitched to the red cotton with a small hem and was amazed at the fineness of stitching in that the stitching couldn't be seen from the face. Not so at all, my original thoughts were wrong. In fact the white central bar is applied directly as an appliqué to the red possibly by the same machine that wove it, there is NO hem and where the stitches that pass through the red can be individually seen they are virtually a single twist. If not appliquéd as made then, once again, whatever sewing machine was used could sew right up against the edge. Look again at the inside and compare that stitched line with that used to apply the “swastika box” to the armband and you'll see a very clear difference, the “swastika box” stitching is much more typical of commercial machine stitching by an experienced seamstress . . but the edges? Even today I know of NO machine that could do this. In no way shape or form was the “red and white” piece constructed by hand, only by a machine usually producing metres and metres of the cloth. Even the application of the “box” is that of an experienced seamstress.
Home made? Utter foolish comments. It was commercially made BUT it was re-sized by its “owner” and that stitching along the seam clearly shows a slightly different colour cotton thread and hand back stitching too. But then Frau Gertrude would have wanted Little Hans to look his best when he attended book burning classes surely?
If only it could speak . . . ?
Last edited by Hendreforgan; 02-04-2016 at 03:36 PM.
Reason: copy and pasted duplicate text.
Hj armband close-up macro photo's
From what I've read there appears a consistent argument that “three piece stitched” Hitler Jugend armbands might easily be “home made”. Well, I can only speak for and display the example that I have which has been in my possession at least FIFTY years but, given I'm a photographer, I thought it might be useful for information purposes if I set up a “macro photography” shoot and produced plenty of VERY high definition images that would hopefully allow the viewer to see the individual threads not to mention the sewing too.
I say “hopefully” as the pix at the end of my text are unfortunately massively reduced PNG's, a truly disappointing size. The original PNG images being between 5 Mb and 6 Mb it allowed the viewer to examine construction at virtually 100x scale, the RAW images themselves were around 58 Mb. The larger PNG's are uploaded into a "public album" on Photo Bucket but I'm told I can't link to them here? Am I permitted to respond to any request to see these by private message. Not being able to see these HD macro images does remove a lot of the forensic work I have done?
You can now really clearly see the fabric used and the construction technique and it's pretty obvious this is no “DIY” item though it can be seen that the armband was re-sized to suit it's wearer as the different colour thread and the hand “back stitch” down the joint is clear to be seen.
Might I draw the viewer towards different styles of stitching used? They help explain the armbands construction. The swastika is stitched to a white rectangle which is hemmed and then stitched to the armband, though the stitching looks rough against that on the body of the armband it's still within acceptable limits of machine stitching, any seamstress would have struggled a bit with the BeVo type tape to create an accurate shape. To tell whether this is hand-stitching it would be necessary to un-pick part of the white thread stitching of the rectangle to the armband to be able to see if there was evidence of back stitching. My experience tells me it's machine stitched.
Note that the white thread stitched lines visible from inside are entirely different for the sewn on white rectangle and the white central border. The stitching of the rectangle shows typically fine machine stitch, including stitching past the start point, BUT the stitching of the central border might actually indicate another technique. It just might be possible that this white border is woven into or onto the red material as part of the jacquard process, the individual stitches exactly match the fabric and are not slightly “off centre” as conventional machine stitching. The red material, a cotton like all the rest, shows that it was woven this width and you can clearly see the reinforced selvedge edging. Where there has been wear to the white especially the pix show just how fine this material actually is and there does NOT appear to be either a hem or evidence of stitches through this material.
I can't remember seeing any items put up on this or any other site with macro photography, I hope that others follow suit? It does permit “web viewers” a wonderful opportunity to examine items almost as much as if they were in their hands.
Last edited by Hendreforgan; 02-07-2016 at 09:52 PM.
Reason: Addition of images & alteration to text.
Why don't you just put it up on the classified section and stop all your waffling? Its getting a bit tedious.
Books published to date... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack - Andersonstown'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.
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Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)
Is it that time already, must go wash my hair, put the cat out, oh yer and have a pint. zzzzzzzz
I think the term homemade may be a bit misleading. It is likely that these early pre-RZM armbands were locally made by local seamstresses or tailors. This would also account for variations in construction. There is also the likelihood that some early pieces were homemade by a woman with sewing talent. The piece in my opinion is period original and likely made by a tailor or seamstress..
LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.
Not to dampen your spirits, but...you Do realize that HJ armbands do not generally garner huge prices? The one you post is in fairly worn condition, with holes and loose stitching and may well have Been home made, whether by a seamstress or a house wife. The bands that bring the best prices are the stamped and tagged issued pieces, but this does not apply to the piece shown. On a Good day, a decent condition plain-Jane HJ brings, perhaps $100 or so, but this one? Sorry to say, but I couldn't imagine it bringing $50...
"Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."
As indeed I've already said somewhere else with nearly 9 million German kids in the HJ there could NEVER be one definitive example and again the RZM specification doesn't rule out potentially an awful lot of variation in manufacture. But there is too much glib, off the cuff commenting happening that simply isn't how history is investigated. To do the subject justice needs forensic attitudes if not skills.
Highly likely that the "swastika box" and it's black legged symbol is made and applied by a seamstress and nobody will know was that one Mother working on her hand Singer or was she one amongst many in a commercial environment. Lost to time. But one aspect of my example is the construction of the red and white band, this genuinely exhibits clear characteristics of being made on a factory machine . . . and that means it was produced by the kilometre and counting! The red band is precisely woven to a required spec and that white band, equally woven, is appliquéd by a jacquard process. Production of this part was big business then . . yet I'm not sure if I've seen this construction used in others posts on here and elsewhere.
That's why I took and uploaded the macro shots and, I fully understand the rules, but those I've put on other sites and on Photo Bucket allow the viewer to delve right in to the individual threads. I would encourage others to offer the same if they know of a photographer with the right equipment to help. What would an owner of other armbands have to lose? Ahh . . as the saying goes "you might possibly think that but I could never comment".
If I was you I'd keep the armband. The story attached to it is large and was a good read
It is also a good looker and early nazi armbands like these are hard to come by, wether the price is high or not.