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SS Officer Photo for ID
Old 12-13-2019, 11:27 PM   #1
jwburchell
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Default SS Officer Photo for ID

I tried posting this on one of the pinned threads without response, so am reposting here in the hope that someone can identify this SS officer.

I am told that this SS-officer studio ("Monnier Salon") portrait photo was acquired from the family in Germany - but came discreetly with no family name. Apparently it was told that he served in Dachau and then Auschwitz camps. Under magnification, I can see what appears to be two pips - and a cypher (indistinguishable) in between them - on the shoulder board. From that and the collar rank insignia, I believe this to indicate the rank of Hauptsturmfuhrer.

Would an officer serving in a concentration camp have a related cypher on the shoulder boards (perhaps a "K")?

Seeking any and all clarification and, if possible, an identification of the officer in this photo. All feedback will be appreciated.

Thanks for looking.

John
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Old 12-14-2019, 05:36 AM   #2
HPL2008
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Rank is Hauptsturmführer, yes.

His decorations tell us that he is a WWI veteran and that he saw field service in WWII as well (as he is wearing the EK II clasp).

The pre-war camp guard formations of the SS wore shoulder strap cyphers as did the additional Totenkopfstandarten raised in wartime, which wore the regimental number. Offhand I can't think of any cyphers that would have been worn by the actual camp staff, though, with the exception of an "L" for training personnel. (If there were others, I will gladly stand corrected.)

Unfortunately, we can't make out his right collar patch, but it doesn't appear to be a Death's Head. (To me it looks like SS runes followed by a small cypher, which would make them SSVT collar patches, but we just don't see enough of them to be certain.)

Nothing in the photo indicates a camp affiliation, but it is not impossible, either (especially given that transfers between field formations and camps occurred).

(As an afterthought: Monnier is a French name, so the photograph may have been taken in a studio in occupied France - far from Dachau or Auschwitz. But then, it's not impossible for a German to have a French name, either. Still, it might be a clue.)

Last edited by HPL2008; 12-14-2019 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 12-14-2019, 04:16 PM   #3
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Thank you HPL2008 for your feedback. I have searched without success for a cypher resembling that which appears on the shoulder board pictured. While still not very clear, I am adding here a close-up in the hopes that someone can identify it.
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cypher
Old 12-15-2019, 02:03 PM   #4
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Default cypher

my first reaction was a "K" also.
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Photo
Old 12-15-2019, 08:41 PM   #5
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Greetings,
I can't make out the cypher, possibly an "L" for training? They didn't use the letter "K" for camps. Sincerely, DJB
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:22 PM   #6
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I found a useful chart here on the germandaggers.com site showing SS collar tabs and shoulder board cyphers - see here: http://www.germandaggers.com/Gallery/CT3W.php
While not complete, it does show SS-Totenkopfverbande collar tabs with a stylized "C K" for Camp Commandant Staff; a "U" with umlaut for SS-Training Camp Dachau; and a "D" for SS-Sturmbann Dachau.
As well, it shows a metal cypher "SK" over "D" indicating Standortkommandatur Dachau.
The chart also shows a metal cypher "L" for Lehr, as already mentioned above.
I think that if there were a cypher for Concentration Camp / Konzentrationslager, the letters "KZ" would have been used.

Thanks to all for the feedback thus far. I hope that together we can achieve some consensus and solve this interesting mystery.

Last edited by jwburchell; 12-15-2019 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:17 PM   #7
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I agree, as HPL2008 pointed out above, that the collar patch is almost certainly showing the SS runes and despite anecdotal evidence has nothing to do with the SS-TV.
The cypher itself has a very distinctive shape and I have distorted the army pattern Gothic "G' in Photoshop and applied to the close-up as it is the only cypher I can think that matches the curved back of the letter and the down stroke to the right.
If correct, it would indicate that the SS-Hauptsturmführer served with a motorcycle battalion. The use of the emblem may be unofficial or not, but I'm afraid I am not conversant with regulations after about 1939.
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Old 12-19-2019, 02:11 AM   #8
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Thanks, Derek. (I was hoping you would comment on the photo.)
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:43 AM   #9
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Yes, indeed...and a very big thank you from me, as well, Derek for your valued assistance which is greatly appreciated. Nice, as well, to note that you are located in Canada...eh? :-)

Season's greetings!

John
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:05 PM   #10
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There doesn't seem to be an edit function so I will just point out that I inadvertently typed a "G" in my post above when it is clearly a "K" that I had superimposed on the photo.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:17 PM   #11
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Thank you, Derek, for the clarification.
As noted, the "K" must have been used by the SS-VT motorcycle battalion with which the SS-Hauptsturmführer served.
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