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Article about: by richard kimmel friedrich i located this guide on ebay and would ask, how accurate do you feel it is? This is about 69% right. It seems a lot of sellers tout the presense of an rzm stamp o

  1. #11

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    Quote by richard kimmel View Post

    i located this guide on ebay and would ask, how accurate do you feel it is? This is about 69% right.

    It seems a lot of sellers tout the presense of an rzm stamp on any german artifact that dates from 1923 to 1945 as a sure sign that the item they are selling is authentic. Worse is the number of buyers that feel that the only way to know if a nazi relic is original is to look for the rzm code or logo. What is the rzm logo, and what does it signify? Is the presence of the rzm logo a guarantee of originality? Plainly not.

    First of all, you need to know what rzm stands for. It is the abbreviation for reichzeugmeisterei, (national equipment quartermaster). Der nsdap the rzm was set up in 1934

    the antecedents of the rzm existed ca. 1927 and the rzm itself was set up in 1930.

    To procure and distribute items to party formations, and also approve chosen designs and to act as a quality control supervisor to ensure items manufactured for the party met required specification and were standardized.

    T[U]he sa and the political organization had trouble getting inexpensive, durable uniforms, and the nsdap copied the secret system of covert quartermaster organization in the preliminary reicshwehr and black reichswehr.

    The rzm proper (and not merely the zeugmeisterei) was created long before the secondary literature asserts.

    The issue was when did the requirement to mark items become law, which was in the course of 1933/4, a process well described in the organisationsbuch and especially in uniformenmarkt.

    When expressed in code format, the standard format

    this format was introduced in the course of 1935, and was different prior to said date.

    Was rzmbg/####/yy, which stands for rzm, followed by the branch code letter (a=equipment, b=cotton items, d=uniforms, k=clothing, l=leather items, m=metal items, and w = woolen items). G stands for the group code number. This is followed by a slash, and then the manufacture's license number, and then normally another slash and the last two digits of the year of manufacture. Seldom seen with ss material.

    Now, to list all the combinations of branch code letters and their associated group code number is far beyond the scope of a basic guide, and literally runs into the several hundreds. Let us limit ourselves to a few of the most collector popular combinations in the m (metal items)

    the m series is well know, the series for ausruesting and dienstkleidung is not, and cannot be, because such a list was far longer than that for say belt buckles.

    It was several thousand.

    Branch.m4 are belt buckles. M9 are meeting badges, popularily called tinnies. M11 are all party long service medals. And, of course, m7 are the ever-popular political daggers. So, how does the rzm code help authenticate an item? Look for errors! The first basic error would be any rzm code with a date code of 33 or less, or found on any object with a date prior to 1934 - remember, the rzm was set up in 1934!


    a real big example here is the rohm-signed sa and ss daggers. They were made in 1933! In fact, rohm was quite dead before the rzm was even formed - so - any rohm-signature on an rzm coded blade is a fake! Second, look for incorrect branch and group codes for the object you are looking at. Daggers must not be anything other than m7, period. A dagger sporting an m9 rzm code is a fake.

    Quite true

    it is also important to know what the rzm logo lookes like, so take a look at it:

    Not a very complicaterd logo, is it? Yet, this simple logo is often a very basic clue to if an item is original, or fake. First of all, take a close look at the 'z'. Notice it is not a normal typewritten 'z' - there is a bar in the middle. This is a normal european style to ensure that the letter z is not confused with the number 2. For collectors - beware rzm logos with the plain, unbarred 'z'! While an unbarred 'z' can be found very occassionally, and is associated with only a few manufacturers, fw assmann for one example; more often than not, an unbarred 'z' is a red flag. Also be wary of barred 'z's' with a bar that is centered! If you look at the logo above, you will note that the bar is slightly offset towards the top arm of the 'z'. Second, look at the inner circle, especially at 6 o'clock. Notice that space between the legs of the 'm'? Avoid rzm logos with the space between the legs of the 'm' filled in. Finally, notice that there should be an outer ring around the inner rzm-ring.

    I would not generalize about all of this in this manner, but the fakers often get the exact character of the logo wrong, but they then get many things wrong....

    The final clues is to know what you should find, or better yet, not find the rzm logos or codes on.

    The law for the protection of state symbols and party uniforms that introduced the marking requirement also included appendices which listed in detail those items to be marked.

    Naturally, items from non nsdap organizations would not be marked, but in practical experience, even some nsdap organizations not in existence in 1935 are unmarked, viz: Nsfk.

    You will never find an rzm code or logo on anything that you use the terms 'army', 'navy', or 'air force' to describe. The armed forces had their own procurement and quality control organizations (waffenamt, for example) that was set up long before the rzm ever came into existance. Any military medal, badge, uniform or accessory with an rzm tag or logo is a fake, double period.

    A legitimate question you may have is 'what about items made for the waffen-ss?

    Here this little essay goes seriously off the rails and makes a number of pretty horrid mistakes which are too complicated to fix in this single post.

    Are they rzm marked, or not - like items made for the rest of the german whermacht?' the answer is both, yes and no. The waffen (armed)-ss was the arms-bearing branch of the allgemeine (general)-ss.

    The above is a real screamer, and i do not have the time to explain the evolution of the armed formations of the ss from 1933 until 1939, but suffice it to say that no sane person would say that the waffen ss was the armed branch of the allgemeine ss. From 1934 onwards, the ss evolved into various branches, of which the allgemeine ss was the core, and the armed paramilitary units grew out of same and the became independent within the gesamt ss. This fact is crucial, as the source of funding for equipment changed with this process and thus did the marking of regalia. That is,parts of the ss were on the nsdap budget and parts of it (the paramilitary parts which finally became the waffen ss by 1939/40) were on various other budgets, to include the ministry of the interior.

    With its nebulous beginnings in the late 1930's, all equipment manufactured for the waffen-ss was under rzm scrutiny, just like equipment manufactured for the allgemeine-ss.

    This statement is generally true, but i am not sure 100% true.

    In fact, unless you are an expert, it may be very difficult at first to determine if certian items such as ammo pouches or backpacks from the early period were made for the waffen-ss or allgemeine-ss, as they were similarily stamped. This was all well and good while the waffen-ss was a small and germanic unit utilizing equipment manufactured in the reich proper. But as wwii progressed, and waffen-ss recruitment expanded to include individuals from areas outside the reich proper, who by all nazi definations, were not germanic, and were utilizing locally made equipment, rzm control became unfeasable. The result was that the waffen-ss set up a quality control board that was largely based on the army's waffenamt in 1943.

    I will pass on this assertion, as the rfss set up standards for ss uniforms as of 1934 at the latest.

    The rzm was more or less passe by the time the ss state within the state had created its own infrastructure of economic enterprise on slave labor and smash and grab acquisitions in conquered lands that was more or less outside the procurement structure of either the army or the nsdap. But this entity, such as it was, was not entirely outside of these institutions, either.

    But waffen ss insignia still have rzm tags on them from the time of mid war.

    So, waffen-ss equipment made from 1936-1943 is rzm marked. Waffen-ss equipment made from 1943-1945 are not rzm marked. With this knowledge, if you do your research to know when specific waffen-ss units were raised, you will know if they can, or cannot have equipment sporting rzm logos, stamps, or tags.

    I would not make this statement, but surely such applies to the verfuegungstruppe versus some unit from 1944.

    The photo/illustration is the one being referred in the context above.

    there is a lot more to write on this, and someday i should do it.

    Thanks for the impulse to address these issues.

    You are right to do so.

    This all is surely far from simple.

    PS I tried to annotate this so my comments would be legible, but they are not. Sorry. We need better editing functions here to mark and comment on text, which I am sure Dimas will show me.
    damit, basta.

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  3. #12

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    If you have a specific question for your work, write me a private note, or write to Adrian Stevenson or to whomever. Also d'Alquen, Bob Coleman, Bob Hritz and others here whom I have slighted with my ad hoc list are in the know on this material and also own a large chunk of authentic regalia. As concerns the secondary works, the Bender books are likely the best place to look, but they are not without their contradictions and complexities.

    Sapere aude!

    PS thanks to Robert H for his lending of this fine image.

    This book is my next project.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    damit, basta.

  4. #13

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    To the above must be mentioned the rise of the Verwaltungsamt SS and its own series of markings, i.e. contract numbers for items that by some mechanism were contracted for from RZM vetted sources but with a parallel series of contracts. I guess this process arose in part from the liberation of the SS from the SA, and, as I have written elsewhere, the separation of parts of the SS (i.e. SSVT and SSTV) from the NSDAP budget, i.e. the party finances. Himmler was a genius of independent capitalist and criminal capitalist enterprises (in keeping with the spirit of the times) which explains in part this parallel system, which later took on monumental dimensions in the Waffen SS. But the antecedents of this system were already in place at an early date. I make these generalizations because of several schoarly books I have read on the economic system of the SS, which describe said process in considerable detail, but which are not well interpreted especially in the English language secondary literature oriented towards regalia collectors.

    I am certain the answers to all of this are at hand, especially after losing myself night after night in the detail of UM, which has many, many hints of how to unwrap these riddles and enigmas in their number.

    This object is a peaked cap with cloth peak for NCOs in the Shea Beaver book and in the noted southern California collection.

    I wonder if such tags were found in regular Allgemeine SS uniforms?
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    damit, basta.

  5. #14

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    Like this here....if this was indeed an issue piece, which it was likely not.
    This piece has no tags, but might have at an early date.

    There was an early species of tags for tunics which had a tendency to fall out.
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    damit, basta.

  6. #15

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    Excellent thread; learned a great deal from these discussions.

    In reply to post #13 just above, I of course do not know if this tag was ever used on regular Allgemeine SS uniforms, but it was apparently used on SD uniforms (this seen before on this forum).
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #16

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    FB, I must say that you are a man of extraordinary magnitude !!

    Your explanations and knowledge of all SS cloth is irreplaceable.

    rgds, Ty

  8. #17

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    Quote by Frog View Post
    Excellent thread; learned a great deal from these discussions.

    In reply to post #13 just above, I of course do not know if this tag was ever used on regular Allgemeine SS uniforms, but it was apparently used on SD uniforms (this seen before on this forum).
    Which proves my point that this piece of clothing of yours may have been procured with monies from a non NSDAP source, i.e. the Ministry of the Interior in Heini H.'s role as Chef der deutschen Polizei.

    None of the more than one strictly Allgemeine SS uniforms I own (actual number is classified) has such a VA tag; but SSVT uniforms do, that is, uniforms likely bought with said non NSDAP funds.

    But this is a theory for which I have no direct documentary evidence.

    Happy regalia.
    damit, basta.

  9. #18

    Default Re: SS RZM Tags

    Quote by Ty Revelo View Post
    FB, I must say that you are a man of extraordinary magnitude !!

    Your explanations and knowledge of all SS cloth is irreplaceable.

    rgds, Ty
    I appreciate the kind words, but I do not know much at all. In fact in the last week, I have blundered into a whole universe of things I have never read before. I also am severely limited in what I know to a handful of items of limited range.

    I wish you a happy new year and thanks again, but the praise is misplaced. The people who knew it all are probably all dead, but I am in the process of learning their names. They had names and faces, and someone could hunt down their traces somehow.

    I am in the process of learning more of who these people were in detail. It is an exciting prospect, to be sure.
    More so than the stupid discussions of even more stupid cap badges.

    Uniformenmarkt also has excellent articles on how metal insignia were made, but I have to get a better dictionary to translate same, and I am not sure that such would even have any impact on the people who collect said objects, really.
    The journal also describes in detail the reforms and rationalization of said objects in the face of the strictures of the pre-war/war economy as well as the war economy itself. All details are spelled out in exquisite detail, there for the reading.

    Sapere aude!
    damit, basta.

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