Accession Number: NEKHC:2009.6.1-2

Object: Dagger & Scabbard

Category: Hitler Youth; Propaganda; Youth Groups; Indoctrination; Weapons

Physical Description: Steel dagger with blade and hilt intact. Handle riveted onto hilt with small red and white enamel badge with Swastika. Blade is marked RZM (Reichszeugmeisterei logo) M7/66, carries the manufacturers logo which is a squirrel holding a sword through 'Eickhorn Solingen' (the manufacturer) and has the number 38 on the handle. Leather scabbard for dagger. Black leather and metal riveted together. 

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This dagger was manufactured by Eickhorn Solingen, the blade carries their manufacturers mark and the logo of the Reichszeugmeisterei (RZM), which was the office in charge of sourcing and supplying equipment and uniforms for the Third Reich. It was carried by children in the Hitler Youth.

Children inducted into the Hitler Youth had a period of between 2 and 6 months to master basic skills and pass certain tests. This included the courage test which, once passed, meant children were entitled to carry the Hitler Youth dagger. The courage test varied and included diving head first into swimming pools, or jumping from height. Accounts of former members talk of the excitement and pride at earning the right to carry a Hitler Youth dagger, demonstrating their importance as a part of Nazi indoctrination and propaganda. Early blades were engraved with ‘Blood and Honour’ (Blut und Ehre) however in 1938 this was stopped.

Sources:

Donath, Matthias (2007) Architektur in München 1933-1945: ein Stadtführer Berlin: Lukas Verlag.
Heck, Alfons (1985) A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days when God Wore a Swastika Phoenix: Renaissance House Publishers.
Koch, Hannsjoachim Wolfgang (1975) The Hitler Youth: Origins and Development 1922-1945 New York: Cooper Square Press.