New photos of my Volkssturm armband...and new questions too...
Here it is, got it in today. A great worn example! The first thing I noticed was the light brown colored threads in 5 places on the edges of the armband. Looks like that's how the soldier stitched it onto his coat, it was definitely hand sewn, and it looks like it was torn off instead of cut. I know it's a terrible longshot, but just for the sake of fun, would anyone care to speculate as to what this might have been stitched onto? I know some NSDAP issued uniforms of the era were a color similar to this brown thread. It was probably a civilians coat, but I like to dream.
Also, another speculative idea, how exactly were the majority of these actual issued armbands brought back to the USA? Would a GI have ripped this off of a dead Volkssturm soldier? I know GI's would have grabbed the mint unissued ones right out of the box, but what about a worn piece?
Since this is an issued armband, does anyone think it's possible the soldier wearing it actually saw action in say...Berlin 1945? Just owning a piece of history that saw fall of Berlin would be an amazing thing to me.
Ah so many questions. Don't worry, I'm speculating for fun. I like to look for ANY clues at all regarding the history behind a piece I own.
Thank you everyone for reading!
04-09-2014 10:56 PM
Naturally, it's impossible to know the exact circumstances of anything, but I know that a lot of stuff was traded for cigarettes and other things by prisoners of war. Things were also sold to Allied servicemen after the war to make a little extra money during lean times.
If it was worn, the battle for Berlin would be out as that was a 100% Soviet operation. It may have been taken off a prisoner in the fighting in the west by a G I. Without the original provenance, it will likely never be known. The brown thread could indicate stitched to a SA, NSKK or NSDAP uniform tunic sleeve. It could also have been sewn to a brown civilian overcoat. Finally, it could have been sewn to anything without any interest in color coordinating the thread to the sleeve it was attached to. Whatever it was sewn to is now lost to history.
LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.
Thanks for the reply. I do recall reading something along those lines in a diary excerpt, but I can't quite remember where. Interesting bit of information! Would you say the issued (as in salty) Volkssturm armbands have any higher demand among the collectors market as opposed to unissued mint ones?
Thank you for the reply Bob. I reasoned a similar idea, and exactly as you said it's "now lost to history."
by BOB COLEMAN
The only fact I have been able to learn about this specific piece is a bit of info from the dealer. He said "I bought this with other war souvenirs from the daughter of a US vet earlier this year. The vet died in 1982 and his wife died in 2012." The story of this armband was lost with the passing of the veteran 32 years ago, but even knowing this small piece of information I appreciate it that much more. History, that's the entire reason I collect.
Thanks again for the replies, from everyone. I assure you I won't be making these threads every time I add to the collection! (Maybe just one) Just very interested in this specifically.
Dont worry - starting a thread about a relic is sort of the point of the forum.
All too often, the background of a relic is lost to history. Would be nice to know more, but sadly that is not so in this case.
Kudos for ample pics and for the hi-res quality of same.
Well, I am not the person to ask about values, because I rarely know them! I don't really collect cloth stuff, but I think it'd be a safe bet that a mint one would sell for more, even if they're actually more common than a used one. The reason for that is simple; anyone can make something (like an armband) worn out, but no one can make it new again, at least not without restoring it in some way. A lot of people do prefer items that are likely to have seen some combat use, though, and such does seem have a certain mystique.
Either way, I personally enjoy threads like these, and I don't think you should limit yourself in the discussion of war relics. This is the War Relics Forum! That is why most have joined.
I prefer to see the threads that once attached these items to pieces of clothing, it adds a sense of the human touch to an otherwise stale and sanitised piece.
Thanks for the reply. I never thought of it that way. I suppose it would be easy for someone to take a mint item, put some wear on it, stab some random threads through it, and create a backstory about how it saw combat in the war. Then again, I would suppose there are subtle clues to help differentiate an item that is recently and intentionally worn compared to an item that was genuinely exposed to general wear and tear.
Thanks for the reply. Couldn't have said it better myself! Nice photo there, that's the next item on my list.
Yes, I would agree with that, but more importantly, I don't think anyone would intentionally age a genuine piece, since that would only lower the value. I suppose that reenactors or film studios could have done such things in years past, but for my money, any genuine item with wear probably really did see some use during the war years. I have a worn SS buckle that I sometimes look at and wonder if it witnessed any atrocities, or perhaps the wearer was just someone who marched in parades and went to beer hall meetings. It's easy to get lost in the history of items like these.