Monday 7 January 2013

Germanic Proficiency Runes Badge

Germanic   Proficiency  Runes Badge – Bronze - Silver Class.  

Germanische Leistungsrune (der SS) Bronze Klasse, (der SS) Silber Klasse.

Instituted on. 15 August 1943

Known Makers – Un- marked

Rarity – Extremely Rare, Extremely Rare.

Germanic Proficiency Runes Badge – Bronze- Obverse.

Germanic Proficiency Runes Badge – Bronze- Reverse.


GermanicProficiencyRunes Badge – Silver - Obverse. 

GermanicProficiencyRunes Badge – Silver - Reverse.

The firm of Kremnitz, in the Protectorate, was reportedly the only maker of these badges, which is produced from fine zinc, which has as a design, two victory runes of the SS superimposed upon a mobile swastika. The swastika measures 46.5 mm across the legs with the individual leg measuring 8mm. These have a raised edge line with 3 similar ones 1 mm apart. The runes measure 28.5 mm tip to tip and 9.5 mm at the widest point. They are produced from bronze that is silvered with a black opaque enamelled field. These badges had no markings of any kind on the reverse, and had a semi-broad standard pin with barrel hinge and flat C type hook at the base. All the components of the hinge pin and hook are produced from bronze. The enamelled runes were fastened to the badge with two pins per rune, flattened over on the reverse.  It has been reported that there are two variations, defined as A and B types, which are determined by the reverse of the sun wheel being flat and the pins that attach the Runes slightly shorter on A type badges. There is another type that is even rarer. This is slightly larger and is not as valued as the A and B types. The reverse shows more differences, the runes are attached by small rivets and at the center are the impressed boxed SS runes. This badge was produced by the firm Otto Gahr. The badge in question came with its Proof book, photos and some 270 personal letters.

Himmler officially introduced the German Proficiency Runes on 15August 1943. It was instituted in two grades, bronze and silver, with a higher standard required for the attainment of the silver.He wanted an award that would be available to both the General SS in Germany and the Germanic SS abroad. No proficiency badge was available for all branches of the Germanic SS and in fact only in Holland had any SS sports badges been introduced at all. In the institution document he stated that it “should be an example in physical training and tests in the use of weapons in the National Socialist spirit, and confirmation of the voluntary attainment of the Germanic joint destiny”. His rational for such an award was mullty faceted.His desire was to encourage SS men to be athletically fit, with their minds attuned to Nazi ideology. For the essentially non – combatant SS members, to stimulate a competitive interest in basic military training.On a more grandiose plain he aimed at strengthening the pan – Germanic idea within the entire political SS organization.
It was presented with an exam record book and worn in the centre of the left breast pocket of the service uniform.

 Seehagen Alfred - SS-Oberscharführer - Germanic Proficiency Runes Badge - Bronze.
The design was to appeal ostensibly to the Germanic SS, being the formation sign of the “Wiking” division of the Waffen – SS, and later adopted by the entire III. Germanic SS Panzer Corps, which was made up largely of volunteers from the Germanic countries.  Records show only awards in Holland, Denmark and Norway, with one presentation ceremony known for these three countries. Although there may have been others later in the war. Exams were held in the Beneshau/Prague area of Czechoslovakia, but it is not known if official award ceremonies were held.  It is possible that the Runes were awarded to members of the Flemish SS, but as this formation was on the decline in 1944, none of its members received them.

In Holland; several thousand applied to undergo the tests, however only 95 passed, giving rise to the first awards being made on 1st, February 1944 at the Dutch SS School Avegoor. near Arnheim. The Higher SS and Police Leader in Holland, SS-Obergruppenführer Rauter, greeted Himmler. Also present were Reichskommissar Seyss-Inquart, leader of the N.S.B. Mussert, and Chief of the SS-Hauptamt, SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Berger. Himmler presented the badges, carried on a board by an Unterscharführer from the "Germania" regiment of the "Wiking" SS division. Himmler, who then promoted the Dutch Volunteer Legion to a grenadier brigade SS-Grenadier- brigade “Nederland”, in particular delivered a speech praising the achievements of the Dutch SS and the “Westland” regiment. It is interesting to note that the presentation pillows held 9 silver and 45 bronze on the left and 45 bronze on the right.

Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler speeks with Anton Mussert, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, Reichskommissar in Holland, is behind. To the right is SS-Obergruppenführer Karl Demelhuber .

The first award ceremony of the Germanic  Proficiency Runes held at the Dutch SS School Avegoor on 1st February 1944. from left to right, SS-Gruppnführer Gotlob Berger, Chief of the SS-Hauptamt, Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, Reichskommissar in Holland, Anton Mussert, Leader of the N.S.B and Henk Feldmeijer, Vooman of the Dutch SS.

SS-Hauptsturmführer Johannes Tjapko  wearing the Germanic Proficiency Runes and Feldmeijer in field-grey uniform.

SS-Untersturmführer wearing the Germanic Proficiency Runes in Silver. 
In Denmark the presentation was made on 2nd June 1944, at a memorial ceremony for the Danish SS volunteers killed in action, at Hovelte by the Chief of the SS-Hauptamt. SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Berger. The test schedule had been timed so that the results would be ready for this ceremony. Berger spoke of the Danish SS volunteers killed in action, and how "their spirits could rest in peace knowing that new columns of Germanic fighters stood behind them." He stated that it was in the memory of the dead Danish SS volunteers and in their spirit that the first Germanic Proficiency Runes were being awarded on Danish soil.
The Higher SS and Police Leader in Norway, SS-Obergruppenführer Rediess, acting upon instructions from Himmler on 16th August 1944, presented the awards in Norway. The ceremony was held at the Norwegian SS School; also present at the ceremony were SS-neststandartfØrer Riisnæs, and the leader of the Germanische Leitstelle in Norway, SS-Sturmbannführer Leib. Once the commander of the Norwegian SS School had bade his guests welcome, Rediess spoke of the badge's meaning, and how the 25 recipients, ten in silver and fifteen in bronze, had, though their behaviour, been a good example to their comrades in the Germanic SS, and to the youth of Norway.

Himmler having decided upon instituting the Germanic Proficiency Runes, he delegated to Berger and his SS – Hauptamt the task of devising the badges attainment rules and regulations.  These were published on 15 July 1943 and the introduction proclaimed,

“Regulations for the award of the Germanic Proficiency Runes.  The Germanic Proficiency Runes shall be awarded to those that have distinguished themselves in sports competions and shown spiritual maturity and sound personal thinking in the ideological field. It can be won by German and other Germanic men.
To be qualified for the Germanic Proficiency Runes one must fulfil the regulations laid down in the following three categories:
(1)   Individual achievement;
(2)   Team achievement;
(3)   Test in theoretical education (ideology).
The award shall be made by the Chief of the SS – Hauptamt following consultation with the Reichsführer – SS.  Recipients of the Germanic Proficiency Runes receive at the same time a diploma witnessing the award.
Those that wish to try for the Germanic Proficiency Runes and are not members of the Germanic SS, nor aspirants in that organization, must hold a political leaders card issued by an SS service centre to be able to join a preparation course.  The test for the Germanic Proficiency Runes requires a preparation of three weeks.  Applicants must then take part in a course laid down for the attainment of the Proficiency Runes, or be able to complete 120 satisfactory hours of training, which must not be spread over more than six consecutive months.
The test shall be carried out by a fully qualified representative of the SS – Hauptamt, Instruction Section, assisted by two members of a Germanic SS service centre.  The Proficiency Runes shall be worn on the left side of the uniform, more correctly with service dress.
The Chief of the SS – Hauptamt can from time to time insist that the tests be taken again.  Those unable to achieve the requirements, or who do not take part, forfeit the badge.
It is at the discretion of the Chief of the SS – Hauptamt whether or not the badge shall be withdrawn on account of minor infringements or for other reasons.
Berlin, July 15th, 1943.
Reichsführer – SS
Chief of SS – Hauptamt
(signed) Berger.
His introduction ended by referring to the rules and regulations for the attainment of the badge that had been prepared by the SS-Hauptamt.
Requirements for the Award of the Germanic Proficiency Runes
(Each test to be judged separately).
No.              TEST                             BRONZE                   SILVER                   DRESS
1.              400 meter sprint                     72.5secs.          68 secs.             Sports kit
2.               Long jump                               4 meters           4.75 meters      Sports kit
3               Grenade throw                       35 meters           45 meters         Sports kit
Tests 1-3 must be carried out during a single day
4. Choice of exercises.                                *                        *
    Riding, motor sport, winter sports, etc
* To pass this unspecified test satisfactorily, the applicant must fulfil the conditions required for the award of the National Sports Badge ("Reichssportabzeichen"), or receive a certificate for solo flying, or pass with distinction in riding, motor sport, winter sports, etc.
5.           Swimming 300 meters                  12 mins.         9 mins.            Sports kit
Tests 1-5 to be performed following normal competition rules.
6. Free hand shooting with small calibre, 10 shots prone, 50 meters from target. 2 test shots allowed which are shown separately. Shooting on a new instruction target for each shot. Time limit of 10 minutes- shots fired after time is up invalidate the test.
                                                                 40 points         60 points     Service uniform
7. Field Exercises:
(a) Description of a terrain; judgment of a terrain for a particular purpose e.g. approach possibilities.
                                                                 Good          Excellent        Service uniform
 (b) Estimation of 3 distances (near, intermediate, far); estimation of 2 distances sideways.                                   3 satisfactory estimates (margin of error allowed 30%)
(c) Orientation following points in the terrain; knowledge of the elementary rules in the use of map and compass.
                                                                 Good          Excellent
(d) Description of terrain and passing on of information (moving up in a terrain that can be observed by the enemy).
                                                                  Good          Excellent
(e) Camouflage against detection by the enemy according to the principle of "See and not be seen”; observation and description of objective.
                                                                  Good           Excellent
Tests 6 and 7: carried out during a temporary stay or training period in the respective SS school. The men are tested one at a time on selected positions of the terrain.
Test 7 (a) to (e) may be omitted by candidates that have completed six months military service.
On the basis of individual performance the training leaders (invigilators) select teams of 4 to 6 men.
8. 100 meter relay                                      17 secs.            14.5 secs.             Sports kit
9. Rope climbing                                        12 secs.               9 secs.               Sports kit
Test 9: Norwegian: Each team has two 5 meter long ropes that hang free. 80 cms. apart. Each man climbs the first rope, changes over to the other, and lowers himself down on it.
Dutch: Each team has to climb three 5 meter long ropes, which are suspended, from a carrying frame 60 cms. apart. The men have to climb up one rope, touch the carrying frame. And then descend by the other.
Mutual assistance was permitted in Test 9.
10. 110 meter obstacle race with grenade throw.    60 secs.   50 secs.   Service uniform
Obstacles:                       Canal:    3 meters long. 1 meter deep.
                                        Wall:     2 meters high.
                    Crawling obstacle:     0.50 meters high. 4 meters long.
                    Climbing obstacle:     (cross beams) 0.90 meters high.
                    Defence trenches:       on the 110 meter finishing line.
                    Throwing target:     a crater 5 meters in diameter the centre of which is 20 meters from the finishing line.
Width of path and obstacles: 4 meters.
Time calculation is to allow for throwing the hand-grenades.  The men start in closed formation equipped with 3 grenades each, and mutual assistance is permitted. The grenades are to be thrown from cover, and the men are permitted to get up on their knees for a moment to throw the grenades. The race finishes as soon as the last participant is standing upright in the shelter having thrown his last grenade.
11.        2,000 meter cross-country.                     10 mins       8 mins   Service uniform.
Each team has to cover a distance of 2,000 meters in closed formation in as short a time as possible.  Mutual assistance may be given.
12.    30 kilometer march with obstacles.       9.5 hours      9.5 hours   Service uniform.
The march is divided as follows: 0.75 along paths; 0.25 across terrain.
(1) departure 3 hours before sunrise; night march of about 15 kilometers.
(2) putting up camp with tent constructing cooking facilities; technical skills; training breaking up camp; 3 hours allowed which must be carefully observed.
(3)   return march including overcoming terrain obstacles.  The last 5 kilometers of the march to be in closed formation.
(4)   March equipment.
13. written (choice of subject). Time Limit: 2 hours. At the Dutch SS school Avegoor the choice of subject was as follows:
(1)   “Our enemies”.
(2)   “Being a Germanic and becoming one”.
(3)   “People and Fartherland”.
                                                                          Good                 Excellent.
14. oral group discussion on the National Socialist them. Test covers the same subjects as Test 13.
                                                                          Good                    Excellent.
If the candidate does not comply with the condition as laid down above, he may re-apply for the Germanic Proficiency Runes in six months' time after further training.
An exam record book was given to applicants, who contained the certificate for the founding of the award (p. 5), the regulations for the award (pp. 7-8), regulations on all categories including all sports, which the candidate had to fulfil (pp. 9-12), and the application for the three-week course for the Germanische Leistungsrune (p. 13). Pages 14- 22 listed the grades earned on the various exams and sports. Page 23 was the application form for the Germanische Leistungsrune in Bronze, and page 25 was the final document for earning/possessing the award. Page 26 contains additional regulations which explained that the award could be rescinded if the recipient was required to re-do the tests in the future, and then failed them. This is also mentioned in the last part of the " Bestimmungen " on page 8.
Germanic Proficiency Runes Badge – Fake.


  1. I bought a badge exactly like Otto Gahr badge that has the small rivets instead of the pins but it does not have the makers mark like the image. The badge has good patina on it, and it measure a little bit larger than the dimensions listed I'm interested to know your opinion on if it is real or not. I bought it from a gentleman in Hungary last year. It definitely does not have the FAKE M1/25 back like the image above. It looks nearly identical to the Otto Gahr badge but without the impressed boxed SS runes.

  2. "SS-Hoofdstormleider Bettink wearing the Germanic Proficiency Runes and Feldmeijer in field-grey uniform."

    The person on the left isn't Hendrik Willem Bettink; it's SS-Hauptsturmführer Johannes Tjapko Simon van Efferen.

  3. the most frightening and dangerous badge re purchasing. I myself would only buy from a vet, who was awarded it.