Third Reich Emblems - The SS

all images (unless otherwise stated) reproduced with permission - and © Copyright Peter Crawford 2017

open image in new tab to view full size

for SS Flags and Banners go to:
In the Elder Futhark, the 'S' rune is called 'sowulo', and is written as a lightning bolt, signifying the sun, illumination, the vital quality of daylight, and power directed in a devastatingly straightforward way.
SS Runes
Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler
It resists the forces of death and heralds triumph of light over darkness, as the sun and lightning (and even the eagle) often do, as has been explained earlier.
In the Younger Futhark, the rune’s name becomes 'sol', and is very clearly still the sun, and is written identically.
By the time of the Middle Ages, the rune was called 'sauil' or 'sugil', and stressed the ascendancy of light over darkness, and was the power of the sun, both physically and spiritually.
By the modern era and the 'Armanen' runic system, the rune became 'sig', which is very close to the modern German 'sieg', “victory”, representing success, sun power, and conquering energy.
It is this rune that, when coupled with itself became the insignia of the 'Schutz-Staffel
Thus two sig runes, - two lightning bolts, crossed, as was aforementioned, - form a swastika, a major symbol of the NSDAP as a whole, and the two sig runes, adjacent, form the insignia of the party’s elite guard.
Perhaps it could be said that just as the eagles bore Jove’s thunderbolts, so did the SS bear Hitler’s.
Double 'Sig' Runes

The 'Schutzstaffel' (SS - literally "Protection Squadron") was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei - (National Socialist German Workers' Party - NSDAP) in the Third Reich.
It began with a small guard unit known as the 'Saal-Schutz' (Hall-Protection) made up of NSDAP volunteers, to provide security for party meetings in Munich.
In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and given its final name.
Under his direction (1929–45), it grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the most powerful organizations in Germany.

SS Reichadler und Totenkopf
(Cap Badge)

The two main constituent groups were the 'Allgemeine-SS' (General SS) and 'Waffen-SS' (Armed SS).
The Allgemeine-SS was responsible for enforcing the racial policy of the Third - Reich, and general policing, whereas the Waffen-SS consisted of combat units of troops within Germany's military.
SD Sleeve Badge

Additional subdivisions of the SS included the 'Geheime Staatspolizei' (Secret State Police - - Gestapo) and the 'Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS' - (Security Service of the Reichsführer-SS - SD) organizations.
SS Dagger
They were tasked with the detection of actual or potential enemies of the Nazi state, the neutralization of any opposition, policing the German people for their commitment to the ideology of the Third Reich, and providing domestic and foreign intelligence.
The SD was one of the oldest security organizations of the SS, and was first formed in 1931 as the 'Ic-Dienst', operating out of a single apartment, and reporting directly to Heinrich Himmler.
Himmler appointed a former naval officer, Reinhard Heydrich, to organise the small agency.
The office was renamed 'Sicherheitsdienst' (SD) in the summer of 1932 and was divided into two main sections - Inland SD and Ausland SD.

There were numerous associated departments relating to the SS - including SS-Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt (SS Office of Race and Settlement; RuSHA), the Ahnenerbe (Ancestral Heritage) and Lebensborn e.V. (Fount of Life) to name just a few.
SS-Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt Emblem

The emblem consists of the Odal Rune - which signifies 'inherited estate'.
The rune - had a meaning also of 'nobility', and could also express lineag, (noble) race, descent, kind, and thus nobleman, prince (whence Old English atheling), but also "inheritance, inherited estate, property, possession.
Its etymology is not clear, but it is usually compared to atta 'father' (cf. the name Attila, ultimately baby talk for 'father').
Heinrich Himmler
Richard Walther Darré
There is also an apparent etymological connection of Odal to 'Adel' (Old High German adal or edil - hence 'Adolf'), meaning nobility, noble family line.
The Rasse-und-Siedlungshauptamt der SS (English: SS Race and Settlement Main Office), (RuSHA), was the organization responsible for "safeguarding the racial 'purity' of the SS" within the Third Reich.
The RuSHA was founded in 1931 by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler and Richard Walther Darré.
One of its duties was to oversee the marriages of SS personnel in accordance with the racial policy of Nazi Germany.
After Himmler introduced the 'Marriage Order on December 31, 1931, the RuSHA would only issue a permit to marry once detailed background investigations into the racial fitness of both prospective parents had been completed and proved both of them to be of Aryan descent back to 1800.

Deutsches Ahnenerbe

Ahnenerbe - (Ancestral Heritage) was a project in the Third Reich to research the archaeological and cultural history of the Aryan race.
Founded on July 1, 1935, by Heinrich Himmler, Herman Wirth, and Richard Walther Darré, the Ahnenerbe group later launched expeditions in an attempt to prove that Nordic populations had once ruled the world.
Originally, the official mission of Ahnenerbe was to find new evidence of the racial heritage of the Germanic people; however, due to Himmler's interest in occultism it quickly became his own occult tool.

The group was formerly called the Studiengesellschaft für Geistesurgeschichte‚ Deutsches Ahnenerbe - (Study Society for Primordial Intellectual history, German Ancestral Heritage), but it was renamed in 1937 as the Forschungs- und Lehrgemeinschaft des Ahnenerbe - (Research and Teaching Community of the Ancestral Heritage).

SS Lebensborn Emblem
Lebensborn e.V. ('Fount of Life') was an SS-initiated, state-supported, registered association in Nazi Germany with the goal of raising the birth rate of "Aryan" children of persons classified as 'racially pure and healthy', based on racial hygiene and health ideology.
Lebensborn Home
Lebensborn provided welfare to its mostly unmarried mothers, encouraged anonymous births by unmarried women at their maternity homes, and mediated adoption of these children by likewise 'racially pure and healthy' parents, particularly SS members and their families.
The 'Cross of Honor' of the German Mother was given to the women who bore the most Aryan children. Abortion was illegal at this time.
Initially set up in Germany in 1935, Lebensborn expanded into several occupied European countries with Germanic populations during the Second World War. It included the selection of 'racially worthy' orphans for adoption and care for children born from Aryan women who had been in relationships with SS members. 
The Lebensborn e. V. (e.V. stands for 'eingetragener Verein' or registered association), was founded on 12 December 1935, to counteract falling birth rates in Germany, and to promote eugenics.
Located in Munich, the organization was partly an office within the Schutzstaffel (SS) responsible for certain family welfare programs, and partly a society for Third Reich leaders.

for more information and images relating to German (and other) national emblems got to:
by the renowned heraldic artist

Peter Crawford

1 comment: