Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler


Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler will be forever known as the head of the feared SS, which earned a reputation both as being responsible for the operation of concentration camps and as the equally feared Waffen SS elite fighting unit that was nearly always on the front lines of every major battle.


Himmler himself was a very odd character, somewhat shy with a low public profile, yet positioned himself to where he had an awesome amount of power that struck fear in the hearts of not only the German people but the others in Hitler’s immediate circle.


Very little of Himmler’s possessions have survived the war and it is extremely rare to find any of his insignia or personal items available on the collector market.  To date, only one of Himmler’s uniforms has surfaced in the collecting world, an example which is highlighted below.


Himmler wore the same, basic open collared service tunic throughout the war, the only major differences being in color with examples in black, field gray and gray appearing in period photographs.  The candid photograph at left is typical of what he wore.





Shoulderboard for the rank of Reichsfuhrer SS.  This board is from the same outstanding white tunic that the above collar tabs came from. It’s a standard Allgemeine SS General’s shoulderboard with the addition of a rank device consisting of three oakleaves (as in the RFSS collar tab).  This device was colored silver from 1934 until December of 1939 at which time it was changed to bronze. April of 1942 found another regulation changing it back again to silver. 

(private collection)



As a note of interest, there were FIVE men that held the rank or title of Reichsfuhrer-SS, in chronological order:


(1) Julius Schreck, April 1925 to April 1926

(2) Josef Berchtold, April 1926 to March 1927

(3) Erhard Heiden, March 1927 to 20 January 1929

(4) Heinrich Himmler, 20 January 1929 to 30 April 1945

(5) Karl Henke, 30 April 1945 to his murder 7 May 1945 at the hands of Czech partisans near Neudorf in the Sudetenland.





Single Shoulderboard for the rank of Reichsfuhrer SS.

  (private collection)


Close-up of the RFSS oakleaf device.




Collar Tabs


Left and right collar tabs for Reichsfuhrer SS.  This pattern was used from 1934 until the end of the war.

(private collection)


Another original example of Himmler’s RFSS rank tab.  Only five of the original brass beads remain on this specimen.

(private collection)



Another original example of Himmler’s RFSS rank tab, this piece is missing the acorn bead accoutrements.

(private collection)




Reichsfuhrer SS collar tabs. This particular pair has smoky glass beads within the laurel leaves, instead of brass.

(private collection)




Real, or Reproduction?

There are many reproduction Reichsfurher SS collar tabs on the market, very few are accurately made, which makes them easy to identify….some of them are even laughable when compared to an original. Here is a rather convincing replica next to an original for reference.  Note closely the differences.  The original has very fine embroidery with sharp features, whereas the replica has bulkier appearance.  Note also that the replica has thicker edge piping, a common characteristic of most modern reproductions of German collar tabs.  And of course the size of the replica is not correct either. From studying all of the originals posted above, you should be able to tell which tab is real, and which one is a reproduction.




Reverse view of the replica and original RFSS tabs.



Reichsfuhrer SS Uniform


German Reichsfuhrer SS – Heinrich Himmler

Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler’s white summer tunic.  This is the only known surviving example of one of Himmler’s uniforms and resides in a private collection in the United States.


(private collection)


View of the unique Reichsfuhrer collar tabs and single shoulderboard.

(private collection)