Monday, 6 February 2012

SS Long Service Medal and Cross's


SS Long Service Medal - 4 Years Service

Instituted 30th January 1938
Rarity – Scarce
Known Makers – Unmarked. (Deschler, "Petz & Lorenz")






The award comprises of a round medal measuring 38 mm in diameter with a raised 1 mm edge line. The depth of the medal is 3 mm. The central field slopes gently from the edge and the whole of the field is finely stippled.  Inset from the edge line by 2.5 mm is an open topped wreath with a wrapped ribbon base.  From this, on either side, are four oak leaves with incused veins.  At the base of each wreath is a pair of acorns, one on either side.  The Sigrunen, the runic symbol of the SS, is superimposed in the field of the wreath.

The reverse has a similar raised edge line and the field has a similar stippled effect.  At the centre is superimposed a 29 mm high, stylised Arabic 4.  Superimposed across this in four lines that are 4 mm high, is the inscription, 'FÜR, TREUE DIENSTE, IN DER, SS.', which translates to, For Loyal Service in the SS.?  At the top of the medal is placed an eyelet.  This eyelet is of a specific design and requires the collector to take special note.  It has its edges chamfered to a central, raised spine and the whole is also slightly counter-sunk.  Through this is placed an unusual ribbon ring which is known as a closed teardrop suspender.  That is to say, it is not round but elongated, measuring 17 mm long and 9 mm wide at its widest point.  The medal is struck very finely from bronze, which is patinated with a matt black finish.  When the medal has been handled, it often shows signs of the base metal through the patination which, when aged, gives an attractive tonal contrast.  The medal was designed by Professor Karl Diebitsch of Munich. All though unmarked the medal was produced by two manufactures Deschler, and "Petz & Lorenz". Both were of identical designs, but show distinct characteristics in production and design interpretation.  It was suspended from a plain cornflower blue ribbon measuring 35 mm wide.

When only the ribbon was worn on the uniform it had a small facsimile of the obverse of the medal attached to it.

Ribbon bar with 4 year medal emblem


The award was introduced by Hitler on 30th January 1938 and the regulations decreed that the SS Long Service Decoration Fourth Class is a round medal, made of iron that is bronzed.  On the obverse is a swastika with raised Sigrunes.  On the reverse is circumscribed, 'Für Treue Dienste in der SS', which translates to, For Loyal Service in the SS, and in the middle a large Arabic 4.  However, on 21st October 1938 Hitler changed the regulations for this award to that already described.  The reason for the change in the design and colour of the medal can only be assumed as to the fact that the 8 Year Medal and 4 Year Medal would have been indistinguishable in wear and would have necessitated the addition of a medal definer in the form of an emblem being attached to the ribbon.  This would have added confusion to the award criteria.  However, as yet no examples of the proposed first design have been encountered and it is safe to presume that none were produced or, if they were, they were melted down.

This medal was awarded to those members of the SS who were in the SS-Verfügungstruppen, SS-Totenkopfverbände and the SS-Junkerschulen who were on active service and served honourably.  This award was rendered for four years service and could only be conferred on non commissioned officers and other ranks.  The accumulation of service time could be accrued from the re-founding of the NSDAP in 1925, the 'Time of Struggle' or 'Kampfzeit', which was interpreted as being from 1925 to 1933, Hitler's coming to power, counted double as did active military service. 

Recommendations for award came from the Reichsführer-SS and the final approval vested with the Chancellery.  It is believed that the bestowal of the medals ceased by the end of 1941.

It came in a presentation case that comprises a black cardboard box with a mouse-grey flocking interior that is compartmentised in the lower tray.  On to the lid is impressed in silver, the SS Sigrunen.



SS Long Service Medal - 8 Year Service

Instituted 30th January 1938
Rarity – Scarce
Known Makers – Unmarked, (Deschler, "Petz & Lorenz")





The award comprises of a round medal measuring 38 mm in diameter with a raised 1 mm edge line. The depth of the medal is 3 mm. The central field is deeply recessed and dips sharply from the raised edge line.  On to the central field is placed a square swastika.  The tip of each arm just touches the raised edge line.  It measures 26 mm across.  The swastika has a raised 1 mm edge line running round its arms.  The line does not extend across the top of the arms and the fields produced at the centre of the arms of the swastika and that of the medal, are finely stippled.  On to the centre of the swastika is superimposed a round 17 mm wreath.  This has a ribbon tie at the base comprising of five bands and from either side emanate five single oak leaves with recessed central veins.  They meet tip to tip at the apex of the wreath.  On to the vertical arms of the swastika that are visible through the centre of the wreath, are superimposed the runic symbols of the SS, the Sigrunen.  The raised portions of the obverse of the medal are finely polished. 

The reverse has a raised edge line and a less recessed field.  This is also lightly stippled and on to the centre is superimposed, in low relief, a 29 mm high Arabic 8.  Superimposed across this, in four lines, in capital letters that are 4 mm high, is the inscription, 'FÜR, TREUE DIENSTE, IN DER, SS', which translates to, For Loyal Service in the SS.  At the top of the medal is placed an eyelet.  This eyelet is of a specific design which has its edges chamfered to a central, raised spine and the hole is slightly countersunk on each side.  Through this is placed an unusual ribbon ring which is known as a closed teardrop suspender.  That is to say, it is not round but elongated measuring 17 mm long and 9 mm at its widest point.  The medal is struck very finely from bronze that has a light chocolate matt patination, with the highlights polished to give an attractive contrast.  The medal was designed by Professor Karl Diebitsch of Munich. All though unmarked the medal was produced by two manufactures Deschler, and "Petz & Lorenz". Both were of identical designs, but show distinct characteristics in production and design interpretation.

There are two other variations that have been encountered. The first has been considered possibly as the original first design and could have been introduced with the 4 year medal on 30th January 1938. When the change was made by regulations of 21st October 1938 to the 4 year medal, this design being revised to the standard design as previously described.

This award comprises of a round medal with a diameter of 39mm with a raised 1mm edge line. The depth of the medal is 4.5mm. The central field is flat from the raised edge line. Onto the central field is placed a square swastika that measures 26.5mm across, the tips of each are touches the raised edge line. On to the centre of the swastika is superimposed a round 17.5 mm wreath.  This has a ribbon tie at the base comprising of six bands and from either side emanate five single oak leaves with recessed central veins, these rest on an under wreath of laurel leaves, these are visible as distinct points numbering 5 on either side of the wreath.  They meet tip to tip at the apex of the wreath.  On to the vertical arms of the swastika that are visible through the centre of the wreath, are superimposed the runic symbols of the SS, the Sigrunen.  The raised portions of the obverse of the medal are unpolished.



The reverse has a raised edge line and a slightly recessed field.  This is also stippled and on to the centre is superimposed, in low relief, a 31 mm high Arabic 8.  Superimposed across this, in four lines, in capital letters that are 4.5 mm high, is the inscription, 'FÜR, TREUE DIENSTE, IN DER, SS'.  At the top of the medal is placed an eyelet.  Through this is placed a round ring. The medal is struck very finely from bronze that has a light old gold colour.




The second variation that has been encountered employs an identical design to that first described but it has been increased in size from 38 mm to 42 mm in diameter, with an equal increase in the dimensions of the medal's design.  Two theories can be employed to the production of this medal.  Firstly, that this was a manufacturer's design test strike.  This theory requires a different die to be produced to create the medal and from this a reduction to the approved design.  Considering the cost of producing a die, this tends to be a rather flawed theory.  German manufacturers, renowned for their position and pedantic handling of business costs, would have balked at this wasteful practice.  The other theory is that this is the original size of the medal as proposed and was to distinguish the 4 and 8 year medals apart in wear, when the design of the 4 Year Medal was in its first form, before its change on 21st October 1938 to the design described. 

This medal was awarded to those members of the SS who were in the SS-Verfügungstruppen, SS-Totenkopfverbände and SS-Junkerschulen who were on active service and served honourably.  It was rendered for eight years service and could be conferred on all ranks, NCOs and other ranks.  The accumulation of service could be accrued from the re-founding of the NSDAP in 1925.  The period known as the 'Time of Struggle', or 'Kampfzeit', which was interpreted as being from 1925 to 1933, Hitler's coming to power, counted as double, as did active military service.  Recommendations for award came from the Reichsführer-SS and the final approval vested with the Chancellery.  It is believed that the bestowal of the medal ceased by the end of 1941

The medal was suspended from a plain cornflower blue ribbon that measured 35 mm.  When only the ribbon was worn on the uniform, it had a small facsimile of the obverse of the medal attached to its centre.


Ribbon bar with 8 year medal emblem

It came in a presentation case that comprises a black cardboard box with a mouse-grey flocking interior that is compartmentised in the lower tray.  On to the lid is impressed in silver, the SS Sigrunen. a presentation case that comprising of a black simulated leather case with button catch has also been employed.  The inside of the lid is white satin while the lower compartment, which is sectioned, is burgundy coloured flocking.  Impressed on to the simulated leather on the lid are the runic symbols of the SS, the Sigrunen.  A minature was also avalable.



SS Long Service Cross - 12 Years Service - 25 Years Service

Instituted 30th January 1938
Rarity – Rare, Very Rare.
Known Makers – Unmarked, (Deschler, "Petz & Lorenz").





The design of these two medals is identical, the only exception being the colour employed to denote the grade, silver being for twelve years and gold for twenty-five years.  They both were, as were the 4 and 8 year medals, the creation of Professor Karl Diebitsch of Munich who was the head of the Hauptamt Persönlicher Stab Reichsführer-SS, Chef amt Munich.  It was his assignment to deal with, "all artistic and architectural questions which interested the Reichsführer".  Some of his other creations were the police and SS swords, as well as the much sought after 1936 SS chained dagger, conceiving the design for their striking looking chains.  He is also responsible for the touch mark commonly referred to as the 'SS proof mark' which, in reality, was the logo denoting Diebitsch's work.  The famous Allach SS porcelain factory came under his control in 1939, when he was named director and he used a similar touch mark as its logo, which is to be found on the base of all its creations.  His mark has also been observed on some of the ceramic works decorating the walls of the SS - Junkerschule in Bad Tölz.  His sense of artistic and architectural excellence are summed up in a statement delivered by him where he stated, "We know that all we may produce will be critically examined by those who come after us and we do not want these later generations to give a poor verdict on our work".  This personifies possibly the desire of collectors to own some of Diebitsch's creations.  His perception of stylistic lines and runic forms intricately laced together, have left a legacy of some of the finest collectables for the Third Reich enthusiast.  He was finally promoted to Oberführer on 20th April 1944.

The crosses comprise of a square swastika that measures 38 mm across with the arms voided. The depth of the medal is 3 mm. Each arm measures 9 mm wide.  Round the arms runs a raised 1 mm edge line, indented by 1 mm.  This stops at the ends of each arm.  The field produced is finely stippled.  On to the centre of the swastika is positioned a wreath.  This has, at its base, a ribbon tie that is furled round it in six twists.  From this, on either side, runs the wreath former which has five small protrusions on both its edges.  On to the former is superimposed an oak leaf that has a raised spine and no veins.  The tip of each leaf overlaps the stalk of the next at the point where the protrusions are positioned.  The leaves meet tip to tip at the apex of the wreath.  It measures 22 mm across and the former and oak leaves are 4 mm wide.  On to the vertical arms of the swastika is superimposed the SS Sigrunen.  These, the wreath and the raised edge line are burnished, while the field of the arms of the cross is matt silver or gold. 

The reverse design of the swastika is the same as the obverse, save that the wreath is omitted.  However, the former and one oak leaf are visible in each quarter of the void of the swastika.  The inscription, in raised capital letters, is superimposed in three lines on to the arms of the cross, 'FÜR, TREUE DIENSTE IN DER, SS', which translates to, For Loyal Service in the SS.  The inscription and raised edge line are burnished, while the field is either matt silver or gold, depending on grade.

At the top of the medal is placed an eyelet.  This is of a specific design which has its edges chamfered to a central, raised spine and the hole is also slightly countersunk.  Through this is placed an unusual ribbon ring which is known as a closed teardrop suspender.  That is to say, it is not round but elongated measuring 17 mm long and 9 mm at its widest point.  This form of ribbon ring is the one that is most usually encountered on these awards and can be considered a good rule of thumb by which to identify a reproduction, which invariably employs a normal, round ring.

However, there certainly were instances where the second and first class awards were produced with a circular ring.  This is proven by the illustration on pages 34 to 35 of the 1939 edition of Dr. Heinrich Doehle's book, 'Orden und Ehrenzeichen im Dritten Reich', published in Berlin in January 1940.  In this case, the eyelet has been changed for a thick ball suspension connecting the round suspension ring.  It is possible that this design was changed to that employed on the 4 Year Medal and 8 Year Medal with the change of the 4 Year Medal design on 21st October 1938. 





The crosses were suspended from a plain 50 mm corn flour blue ribbon on to which either a silver or gold SS Sigrunen was embroidered.  The original order stating that they were to be woven into the ribbon seems not to have been implemented.  There are original examples of smaller width ribbon being employed, especially in conjunction with the medal ribbon bar.  Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler's medal bar sports a Second Class Cross, with much enlarged SS Sigrunen embroidered into it.  This is the type shown in Doehles book on the cross with the round ring.  Another unexplained variation.  When the ribbon only was worn on the uniform, it had a small SS Sigrunen embroidered on to it in the relevant colour representing the grade.

These crosses were awarded to those members of the SS who were in the SS-Verfügungstruppen, SS-Totenkopfverbände and the SS-Junkerschulen who were on active service and served honourably.  These awards were rendered for twelve and twenty-five years service respectively and could be conferred on all ranks, NCOs and other ranks.  The accumulation of service could be accrued from the re-founding of the NSDAP in 1925, the period known as the 'Time of Struggle', or 'Kampfzeit' which was interpreted as being from 1925 to 1933, Hitler's coming to power counted as double as did active military service.  It is this method of calculation that made possible the twenty-five year grade.  Recommendations for the award came from the Reichsführer-SS and the final approval vested with the Chancellery.  It is believed that the bestowal of the crosses ceased at the end of 1941. 

They came in a presentation case comprising of a black simulated leather hard case with button catch.  The inside of the lid is white satin, while the lower compartmented section is burgundy coloured.  The ribbon, in these cases, was folded and placed in the upper ribbon compartment horizontally.  Impressed in the lid are the silver SS Sigrunen for the second class and gold for the first class.

Anotherform of ribbon has been encountered. This example was obtained in the early 1980's. It is shown for the readers observation.



The long form of SS Rune. Similar are founf on Himmlers ribbon bar.


The Medal bar belonging to Heinrich Himmler  - Reichsführer-SS u. Chef der Deutschen Polizei. consisting of the 12 Year SS Long Service cross, 15 Year NSDAP Long Service cross, 10 Year NSDAP Long Service cross, Occupation of Austria, Occupation of Czechoslovakia with "Prague Castle" bar, Occupation of Memal, and West Wall madals. The medal bar in the original presentation case was found on 2nd May 1945 by men of Company E, 22nd Infantry Regiment of the US Army, at Himmler's summer home at Gmund, Tergensee. Protective case may be more appropriate as it was most probably constructed specifically for this bar when it was produced by the jewller at Himmler's direction.

The case measures approximately 21 cm by 15.5 cm. It is covered  with a blue simulated leather, and is secured by two hinged clasps. The interior of the lid is white satin bearing the logo "T. Reiman Berlin W. Friedrichstr. 188". The bottom of the case is dark blue velvet, and is slotted to receive the medal bar and ribbon bar.


 Himmler Heinrich - Reichsführer-SS u. Chef der Deutschen Polizei
wearing the ribbon bar



Himmler Heinrich - Reichsführer-SS u. Chef der Deutschen Polizei
wearing the SS Long Service Award, is shown meeting Spanish delegates in September 1940.


SS Long Service Cross - 12 Year Service -  Fake.


SS Long Service Cross - 12 Year Service - Obverse - Fake.


SS Long Service Cross - 12 Year Service - Reverse- Fake.


SS Long Service Cross - 12 Year Service - Ribbon Emblem - Fake.



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