|3 July 93 |
While reading The 'Confessions' of
Kurt Gerstein by Henri Roques,
I realized that there is a serious problem
with the book's cover
photo of Gerstein. Gerstein, in a
typical period studio portrait, is shown
wearing collar tab insignia
(Kragenspiegel) which does not
correlate with the time frame alleged.
collar tab that Gerstein is wearing
originated as the collar insignia for
SS-Standarte 2 "Germania" of the
At the end of 1939, the SS-V.T evolved
into the Waffen-SS (W-SS). SS-Standarte 2
"Germania", now SS-Regiment
"Germania", was attached to the new
SS "V"-Division, later known as 2.
SS-Panzer Division "Das Reich".
By mid May 1940, the "Germania"
collar tab was discontinued and was
replaced with the Siegrunen
(double-rune) collar tab, minus the unit
(Standarte) number 2. Nevertheless the old
style collar tab continued to be worn,
against regulations, by some officers and
enlisted ranks and may even have been
issued to deplete existing stocks,
although the latter is unlikely. In any
case, the old style collar tabs were only
issued to the men of "Germania" and not to
any other unit. After May 1940 wearing of
the now non-regulation collar tab would
have been short lived.
By the end of 1940 SS-Regt.
"Germania" was transferred to the
newly formed 5.SS-Division
Now Back to Kurt Gerstein. He
joins the W-SS in March of 1941. The cover
photo of Gerstein clearly shows (by the
lack of any rank collar insignia, n.c.o.
tresse or silver officer piping) that his
rank is that of an SS-Mann
(1939-1941 early W-SS rank designation)
which is the equivalent to an American
Therefore, it is highly unlikely that
Private Gerstein, almost certainly still
engaged in some form of training, would be
issued discontinued collar insignia
belonging to SS-Regt. "Germania",
when it was formerly attached to the SS
2."Germania", SS-VT, old style
collar tab worn by Gerstein in
Siegrunen collar tab which
replaced the old style collar tab
in May 1940. This is the collar
tab Gerstein should be
Rarer modified old
style SS-VT collar tab with the
number removed to temporarily
comply with the new
The W-SS simply did not allow privates,
at this early stage of the war,
(pre-operation "Barbarossa") to wear
unofficial insignia, which furthermore
represented a unit which no longer existed
and to which he was never a member of.
It is highly probable that either the
photo is not Gerstein, he or someone else
lied about his entry date into the
Waffen-SS, and or the record of the units
in which he served were falsified.
- Eric Weisman
- 3950 Via Real #13
- Carpinteria, CA 93013
- 1.) Angolia, J.R. Cloth Insignia
of the SS. R. James Bender
- 2.) Bender, R.J. and Taylor, H.P.
Uniforms. Organizations and History
of the Waffen-SS., vol. 1. R. James
Bender Publishing, 1969.
- 3.) Lucas, J. Das Reich.
Arms and Armour Press, 1991.
- 4.) Mob, A. Uniforms of the
SS, vols 3 & 6. Historical
Research Unit, 1991.
- 5.) Strassner, P. European
Volunteers. 5. SS-Pz. Div.
"Wiking". J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing,