SS Mantel, Leder
The question arose on the other website as to a leather SS overcoat, and whether these were "issued." Of course, SS officers were Selbsteinkleider, that is, they received a clothing allowance and had to purchase their own uniforms, in general. I shall not generalize about wartime and combat, where surely this stricture must not have applied in cases of need. However, such is not the case with what was a very spruce item of wear of great cost.
One could purchase clothing or its raw materials through a Kleiderkasse, whereby this agency was a co op that precluded the officer in question from going deeply into debt to furnish all his kit. Such cases were legion in the old armies, and debts were a fact of life for young officers in the old army. Afterall, national socialism had a fairly socialistic aspect to it, which will shock some Americans unfamiliar with history, but no less true in the writing; that is, the social welfare aspects of Nazism and the SS would make hair grown on the palms of some alive today. Interest and debts were seen as non-Aryan and hateful, hence one was at pains to protect the officer corps of the SS with privileges of the kind visible in this institution.
Hence, the institutions of the Kleiderkasse which had as much a financial aspect as it did act as a retail source of uniform items. Indeed, it was the cheapo one compared to fine tailors, favored by the nobility and grande bourgeoisie, for whom such expenses were unimportant. The SS Kleiderkasse also covered the financial aspects of the officer's clothing allowance received from the SS (....or the respective services, in the case of army, navy and air force which had their own such agencies...) and paid the officer's bill to an external tailor or vendor, so long as they were RZM approved.
The leather overcoat as of 1941 was a costly item of purchase, described nicely in the page I have appended from the Kleiderkasse catalog. It is item 542 below. I should also think that the variant here was the thrifty variety and that these items cost more from better tailors.
Thus, the suggestion that this article of clothing might have been "issued" is pretty dubious.
I thank colleague d'alquen for this valuable source.
Collectors do themselves a favor to gain a better understanding of this system that still exists in the German Bundeswehr, although today it is run by a private contractor.
Don't you wish you could have all the nice thing-ies you can see in this image of one man's kit, all nicely arranged.
Last edited by Friedrich-Berthold; 08-17-2008 at 04:58 AM.
08-17-2008 04:32 AM