The RZM, which stands for "Reichszeugmeisterei der NSDAP," or National Materials Authority of the National Socialist German Workers Party, was a paramilitary division of the National Socialist German Workers Party, more commonly known as the Nazi party. It was responsible for overseeing the manufacturing, licensing and retailing of the official "merchandise" of the party. The "SS," which stood for "Schutzstaffel," or Protection Squad, was the elite military guard designed to protect the German leader. The RZM dagger was commonly found amongst German paramilitary forces, but the SS dagger has become one of the more rare and valued World War II collector's items.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Scrutinise the handle of the dagger. It should be wooden, ebony black and have an "SS" insignia on the handle just below the pommel. The insignia is in the traditional "SS" thunderbolt style. Additionally, there is a small eagle holding a swastika in the centre of the handle. Both markings appear on only one side of the handle and are made from plated zinc metal.
Examine the steel scabbard, painted black to match the handle. It has nickel-plated fittings at the tip and at the opening. The leather hanger is connected to a fitting at the opening. There should be no markings on the scabbard.
Check the chrome belt clip attached to the leather hanger for an RZM control number. There is a circular RZM logo engraved on it and the reference code is beside it. The code begins with an "M," followed by a number, for example, M8 or M7/10. This number represents the name of the manufacturer and the city where it was produced.
Pull the blade from the scabbard and check it for another RZM number. The bottom of the blade, closest to the hilt, will have the circular RZM logo engraved on it. Below it will be a set of numbers. These represent the maker of the blade and the year of manufacturing. The letters "SS" will be alongside, or below the set of numbers.
Turn the blade over to verify the opposite engraving. It will read "Meine Ehre heist Treue", the Nazi motto which meant "My Honor is Loyalty." This slogan will be in large Old Gothic German script.
Tips and warnings
- The SA dagger is very similar to the one worn by the SS and could be easily mistaken for it. The SA, which stood for the "Sturmabteilung" or Storm Troopers, was also known as the "Brown Shirts." It was the revolutionary political group that helped Adolf Hitler first gain power.
- The SS dagger is one of the most desirable daggers for a collector. There are many replicas on the market and an authentic dagger can be hard to find.
- Some daggers use a metal chain instead of leather for the hanger. These models are known as the Chained SS dagger and the Honor dagger.
- "My honour is loyalty" is the most accepted meaning of the phrase Meine Ehre heist Treue. However, a direct translation to English would read differently. As is common in languages, the literal interpretation of words is not always the meaning of the phrase.
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