February 2020 Featured Helmet
Recently a friend of mine who is a very talented picker, came upon a double d q64 with the quite common grey, black, and field grey paint scheme, with the multiple decals in layers. He sent me a couple of pictures and I verified it and told him nice job. The conversation did not go any further for over a year, until recently when he expressed his desire to sell the helmet and I requested more detailed pictures, especially of any names or markings in the helmet. He sent me back a couple of shots of two names that appear in the liner, one of them also appearing in the dome. In capital letters written in decent calligraphy is the name EBERL. I immediately shot back to him asking if there was any evidence of the first initial anywhere else in the helmet. He looked in the dome and saw a pencil inscription which he sent me and is pictured here. Capital I preceding the name Eberl. I thought, could it be the Irmfried Eberl, a notorious Holocaust Perpetrator? I approached Ross Kelbaugh to research the helmet and he came back with an RuSHA file on the one name, which is Albert Messmer, and some copies of file remnants of Irmfried Eberl. He explained that there were three or four eberls in the file but only one with the first initial I. Irmfried Eberl, an Austrian, was a psychiatrist in charge of the “Aktion T4” euthanasia program (the first phase of the holocaust) in Berlin at age 29. He was given command of Treblinka when it opened up in 1942 at the beginning of “Aktion Reinhard,” but was only in command a short time because while he was a competent murderer, he was not a competent administrator or logistician, and the mess quickly piled up with disastrous results of what his successor described as Dante’s Inferno on Earth. If it insulted the sensibilities of his successor, Franz Stangl, then knowledge of that person tells you how absolutely evil Eberl was. Eberl went back to the euthanasia program and finished the war in an army unit; then returned to Austria at the end of the war. He was spotted by a psychiatrist colleague (because he did not stop his Psychiatry practice). He was arrested and detained and during that time and himself to avoid the consequences of his actions. My instinct about the helmet when I saw that inscription, and when I saw both inscriptions plus a third set of initials, reminded me that a lot of Camp helmets tend to be issued multiple times as people rotated in and out of the duties up the camp hierarchy. He would have left the helmet there and Messmer or whomever would have taken it up from him. I have not researched Messmer for an additional file that would give his wartime activities. To that end I would ask anyone reading this who may have heard of Albert Messmer in the context of Camp hierarchy, from any lists or anything they’ve seen in their research, to let me know or give me that lead so I can continue researching it. Many thanks in advance for that.**Research update: Albert and Messmer are most likely two different people. There was a Johann Messmer as and SS-Uscha at Auschwitz; and several surname ‘Albert’ served at that camp. The likely scenario of this helmet was / is after Eberl was sent back from Treblinka, the helmet likely would have stayed behind in the camp for issue to another. Auschwitz, also being located in Poland, would be a likely place for the helmet to have wound up after Treblinka was shut down. From Auschwitz, the march into the German camps took place, leaving the helmet in one of the camps liberated by the US GI who brought it home to Illinois. Dachau, Natzweiler or Buchenwald would have been large camps liberated by the Americans. Hence, a helmet of a long and complex — yet plausible — journey throughout the K-Camp system. Here are pictures of the helmet. It is a straight-up excellent example of that early period of multiple usage of the same helmet by the SS. I hope you find this presentation of a notorious piece of the holocaust interesting. Kelly
Learn more about this helmet on my show of shows video presentation of it and others.
October 2019 Featured Helmet
This M35 Double Decal SS helmet came directly to me from the family of the recently deceased veteran. We met in person and I was able to learn a little bit about the gentleman who brought this back. His name was Sgt. Daniel Peterman, and he served with the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. The pictures below contain his unit and awards information. According to his grandson, a retired Army Officer himself, Peterman earned the Silver Star in the intense fighting of the Colmar Pocket, by taking out a German Machine Gun nest. The helmet was worn by the SS gunner. It is a Q62 M35, with factory finish and Q Pattern SS and party shields. It bears two German names, indicating multiple ownership, which was common.
October 2018 Featured Helmet
This helmet is a Q66 M40 SS, heat lot T1206 (corroborated in the batch number list as Waffen-SS single decal), with a sprayed and hand mopped camo finish that is in very nice, service used condition. The name KREFFT appears faintly in the liner. The added beauty of this one is the correct and matching camo cover that came with it. The camo paint shows areas where the fabric of the cover was imprinted into the paint– obviously this soldier did not have a lot of time for the paint to cure–he had a battle to fight! A real eye-candy piece for us, and the owner is indeed lucky to have such a rare and nice piece as this. In my opinion having held it in hand, it is a moderately used SS helmet, runes removed at some point in service, then was likely camo’d around the Normandy time frame. The cover has been on the helmet long enough to show front rim-wear, and that ‘look’ of being a worn together set. I estimate it more or less matches the Normandy time — certainly in the camo scheme; or a little later in ’44 / early ’45. These are some studio pictures I took, showing the basic features. Enjoy!