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Hey, guys, I'm new around here, and new in general to militaria collecting. It's something I want to get into, but I'm starting with a piece I was recently left by my father, what I know is an early SA Eickhorn dagger. What's different from almost every dagger I've seen on this and other sites is what's on the cross-guard and scabbard.

I have the full back-story as to how my family got it, and some additional information to provide, but in the interest of receiving full, honest opinions, I'll save that for later. What are your thoughts about the dagger's condition, provenance, and value?

As a side note, I had eight years of German in High School and College (but that was some time ago, so a bit rusty), but the inscription says "Obertruppführer Josef Strätz / Fallen on May 28, 1941 / For Germany's Greatness / SA-Sturm 3/11 Zeil/M" (The last line I imagine was the SA unit to which he belonged, but I haven't had a chance to decode it. Also, for reference, the group mark is that of Franken, which makes sense, as this was obtained in Nuremburg.








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Welcome to the forum.
You have an interesting SA dagger there IMO. Most daggers are 'nameless', as they cannot be traced to a particular owner. Here you have a fullname and rank and KIA date, on what appears to be a Funeral dedication on the SA mans personal dagger. Although the engraving appears to be not done by a professional engraver, it none the less reeks of originality. The fact your father brought this home makes it a very special and certainly to be the Center Piece of your collection if you choose to expand it.

As you stated the dagger is a Eickhorn produced example. However this dagger was once a 'Rohm Honor Dagger' given to those who served early in the SA. These Rohm dedicated daggers had their dedications from the reverse of blade removed after Rohm's 'unmasking' and elimination in June 1934 by Hitler's edict.

Here's what the 'UN-reconstructed Rohm' dedication looks like. This example on a SS dagger, they were the same on SA's as Ernst Rohm was the leader at the time of both organizations.




The blade condition is the most important part in any edged weapon, yours is showing patina type rust from fingers all over the blade.

You would have to find a researcher who might find the man and perhaps have a photo on file (if your lucky).

Would like to hear the circumstances of how your father came upon this one. Nice piece of history there. I like it. smile

Serge

Last edited by Serge (aka Wagner); 02/15/2013 08:48 AM.
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Love it...That is a cool dagger with history.


Never argue with an idiot, he will only drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. And remember the early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Absolutely superb-ticks ALL the boxes as an historic artifact if not as a pristine example
Paul

Last edited by Paul; 02/15/2013 10:57 AM.

FUR EHR' UND PFLICHT BIS HERZ UND KLINGE BRICHT
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Thanks for the responses so far. I'll tell the "rest of the story", at least as I know it. The dagger was actually passed down from my grandfather, who was a B-17 waist-gunner in the war. When the war with Germany ended, my grandfather, who had been stationed in England, re-enlisted to serve as an MP in Germany during the occupation.

As it's passed down to me, he was tasked with confiscating weapons from individuals who were thought to be potential troublemakers (I suppose when there was still fear of post-war partisan fighting among die-hard NSDAP adherents). My grandfather entered a home which appeared to be empty, and while searching it, was surprised by what he described as an old man in the bedroom, wielding a knife. Someone in my grandfather's unit dispatched the old man, and gave him the knife since he was nearly done in with it. The knife turned out to be this SA dagger, and the old man turned out to be the father of Josef Strätz. The dagger was probably not in great condition at any point in the past 60 years, because I'm sure my father played with it when he was a child.

Josef Strätz, though, appears to have been a Gefreiter in the Luftwaffe, and served as a Fallschirmjäger. He was killed on, well, May 28, 1941, during the Battle of Crete, although I'm not sure if he was killed from a wound received on that date, or on an earlier date during the initial attack. He is currently buried in the Maleme German War Cemetary on Crete. Any information on how I could dig up his service records would be great.

I assume that this dagger would have been something left at home when Josef, who was 33 when he died, joined the Luftwaffe, and that his father may have had an engraver put this on there (or more than likely, engraved it himself?) as a memorial. That he chose to use it in an attempt to "take revenge" just makes the story that much better.


Last edited by RüdigerNC2; 02/15/2013 01:48 PM. Reason: added Crete
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RüdigerNC2,

Welcome to the forum.

You have a great dagger with provenance that I'm sure quite a few members of this forum wouldn't mind having in their collection, including myself.

An awesome first piece to kick start your collection.

Very nice!!!

Rich


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A very special dagger indeed and thanks for sharing it. This dagger is a great example of why we collect these special pieces of history.

Last edited by Erich; 02/15/2013 11:45 PM.
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I think it's a really nice dagger but strangely the word "Deutschland" is spelled wrong. On your dagger it is spelled "Deuschland". A huge mistake for a German to make I would say. Just look at the blade of your dagger and you can see how the word Germany should be written in German.

Danny

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I also think that the right rank should be "Obergruppenführer". The rank "Obertruppführer" did not exist. Sorry to have to tell you this.

Danny

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I've seen this dagger hundreds of times since I got it; I took 8 years of German; I didn't realize the spelling error until just now. It's like one of those puzzles you look at on emails where they say "I bet you can't pick out the incorrectly spelled word".

Well, my grandfather was a tobacco farmer's son from NC who didn't know German except what he'd been taught by the Army. Also,I'm not sure where he or another soldier, without the benefit of the Internet, would have found this very real German Gefreiter's name, when my grandfather didn't serve in Crete.

Compare that to the fact that even today, with spellcheck, errors are made on signs and television captions, and even tombstones, I can easily see an uneducated German who was probably paid a pittance to carve this in (or maybe it was the father himself) making that mistake.

After all, I have 7 years of college and grad school and I sometimes misspell my own company's name when I'm writing letters. I wonder if the franconian/swabisch dialects have anything to do with the ease of the misspelling? After all, in both the -tsch sound is very smooth and sounds like "Doysh" when spoken.

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Erm, re: your second post, hate to disagree:

English Wiki

Also, see:

German Wiki

Last edited by RüdigerNC2; 02/16/2013 12:30 AM.
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You are right. Sorry for my second post.

Danny

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Well, your point about the mis-spelling is still a bummer. I personally don't question the authenticity, knowing what I know of it, but I wonder if that would dampen the monetary value if I ever chose to sell it. After all, it has some very detailed information (unit number and name) that I can't even dig up on the Internet.

Last edited by RüdigerNC2; 02/16/2013 01:16 AM.
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Great!

You are correct in saying that your Dad played with it as a child. My guess is that he also let the blade rust and the cleaned it with emory cloth or sand paper. As Serge says, it was once a Rohm dedication dagger, but with the dedication gone, it is one of the most common SA daggers around. Plus the blade is terrible.

But,
That is one of the best dedication SA daggers I have seen. I would think you are correct in that the young mans grief stricken father did the dedication himself. Miss-spellings? He was not he sharpest knife in the drawer if he waved an SA at armed troops. Value? give a few days and I'll get back to You.

Live in NC? Me too. Cary. Would buy you lunch to see this one!

Dave
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Thanks! I'd love to know a ballpark. I need to get it appraised for insurance. I'm from Holly Springs originally, but live in Mooresville near Charlotte now. Funny thing, the grandfather who brought this back graduated from Cary High in (I think) 1939.

Also, on a quick Google books search, I was able to find plenty of original German publications, including some dating to 1816, that made the same mistake. A more fundamental point is that if this man's son was a 33-year-old private first class who was a member of the working-class SA (the organization that, in many respects, emphasized the "socialistiche" and "arbeiter" part of the NSDAP), it's likely that this was a very working-class family, and that the old man was probably literate enough to write, but not literate enough to have perfect spelling of even the most basic words...

Last edited by RüdigerNC2; 02/16/2013 01:45 AM.
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i'm not an expert but i think that the mis-spelling shounld not be taken in big consideration...at the contrary it gives IMO a deeper meaning at this dagger...( if was a fake the writer would have put much more attention to the spelling than an old untutored worker.)
in italy many lawyers write "itagliano" instead of "italiano" and so on...:))

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'Found an old man wielding the dagger', 'looking for revenge'
COME ON !! what is more likely is the poor old guy had his door kicked in by a bunch of GI's looking for souvenirs , was frightened out of his mind and only had that to defend himself with. Very honourable 'dispatching' an old man and stealing his sons dedicated dagger so the rest of his family had a dead Oppa and no rememberance dagger from the son.
Disgusting.Am I the only one thinking like this or are we all blinded by a cool looking dagger??


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Originally Posted By: Jon Fish
'Found an old man wielding the dagger', 'looking for revenge'
COME ON !! what is more likely is the poor old guy had his door kicked in by a bunch of GI's looking for souvenirs , was frightened out of his mind and only had that to defend himself with. Very honourable 'dispatching' an old man and stealing his sons dedicated dagger so the rest of his family had a dead Oppa and no rememberance dagger from the son.
Disgusting.Am I the only one thinking like this or are we all blinded by a cool looking dagger??


As you say Jon, certainly pause for thought.

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A lot of what we collect was acquired that way, Jon. Also through searching homes, taken from piles of weapons turned in by civilians, searching the dead.

Not Blood Orders, though. laugh

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Jon, you bring up a good point. I'm not here to judge the actions of my ancestors or anyone else's, though. My grandfather wasn't a saint, and I don't think anyone alive knows what really happened that day. But you're committing just as big of a sin by assuming things were the other way around. Why not accept that nobody's a saint, and concentrate on this very nice piece of history?

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As a general rule, by the time our soldiers got onto German soil, the numerous German atrocities were well known and well documented. Those who had been in the war the whole time had seen plenty of their buddies die. Those men knew the reason their buddies were dead and why they were on foreign soil. I would be interested in seeing how the people who now try and stand in judgment and criticize our WWII soldiers supposed and presumed actions would fair under the same conditions.

I won’t even get into the fact that someone who I doubt has ever done anything of note is calling one of our dead soldiers a liar over the capture of this weapon.

It is so easy to sit around 70 years later, without a clue as to what the conditions were in the 1940’s, and make judgments based on nothing.

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[I won’t even get into the fact that someone who I doubt has ever done anything of note is calling one of our dead soldiers a liar over the capture of this weapon.

It is so easy to sit around 70 years later, without a clue as to what the conditions were in the 1940’s, and make judgments based on nothing.
[/quote]

All I am saying is there are two sides,always, and in this case there may well be a different side to the story that is just as possible and likely as the one presented to us. Forced to defend ones self with your dead son's SA dagger,finished off by Allied soldiers in your own bedroom. Very sad state of affairs.My judgement of how it might have unfolded is based on the circumstances decribed.

Also presuming I have never done anything of note is a] rude and b] wrong. I have 4 lovely kids, I have won various national awards for compassion in my field towards the elderly in the UK and annually ensure over half a million elderly people and hundreds of thousands of school children are kept well fed with nutritious hot food.


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At least... wait for it... 60 million people died in WWII. Most involved circumstances which were not "honorable".

Daggers were considered weapons by the allied forces when they demilitarized a town after the war was over. The occupants were ordered to deposit their weapons in a pile, usually in the town square. Then soldiers would search the town house by house to locate any weapons that had not been surrendered. As troubling as the story is, I can see something like this happening. Many of the 60+ million people that died in WWII were "dispatched" in a similar manner.

As someone alluded to in an earlier post, to judge the events that occurred surrounding WWII with today's morality is a mistake.

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So, basically Jon is a government worker tht thinks his job entitles him to hold people accountable for crimes he thinks they committ. The mind police.

Looking at the set of circumstances, The man made the SA dagger into a shrine for his relative, then attempted to take vengeance against any American Soldier he could find. I know the Germans and Germany. German men in WWII did not cower and shake as someone came into their house. Germans being afraid is not why the British have feared the Hun for almost a thousand years. It is quite the opposite.

Now the question comes up that if Jon is such a man of conscience, why is he here. How can you collect blood orders knowing they would go to some of the most viscious of characters. And why would you want to stomp on a young man's collectable he got from his grandfather, if you are so compassionate?

In any case, this dagger is a fine collectable with a ton of charactor.

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I can see merits in both sides. "We" were supposed to be on the side of "Right" in that war and not capable of atrocities, unlike the "Enemy"; on the other hand, street fighting/house to house clearing is nerve wracking; is death waiting behind that next closed door?
I am sure many instances occurred as happened to our new friend's late grandad; when nerves are tried beyond normal human experience and every moment could be the last. The instant reaction of that young soldier to danger might have been followed by regret, and relief at surviving another encounter. The majority of GIs' were citizen soldiers,"soldiers for the working day" and not long service professionals. As collector/historians comfortably removed from that war several decades past, although I still remember the bombing and civilian casualties, we should strive for balance in our judgements.
Not intending to preach here, I am 74 years old and it is,jmho.

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I could not agree with you more Barry.

I totally believe you when you say you still remember the bombings. I hope you have written your experiences down. It must have been terrifying, especially at your age.

Anyway, if someone wants to have a meaningful conversation on atrocities committed by the governments involved in the War both before during and after, I would have no problem participatibng. I can point out plenty of atrocities on all countries and can start with Custers genocide war against the native Americans.

But, that is not what is happening here. A person came on this post and called a dead American war hero a liar and a murderer. There is no evidence at all for this. Contrary, we have the story from the Vet himself.

So, no one is saying the war was squeaky clean or all the crimes were from one side or another. What I am saying is you can not just accuse dead people of crimes when the only proof is created in your mind.

Think about it. Is not making an unfounded accusation towards a dead soldier, a bit despicable. The soldier can not speak for himself. Is it right his memory is damaged with absolutely Zero evidence he did anything but leave the farm, fight a bloody war, follow orders, and come home to tell about it.

Barry, you remind me of how lucky Americans are that we have never suffered the traditional bombings of our cities the way you guys did.

JMHO

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Ridiculous. I did not call any American a liar or murderer. I simply said there are always 2 sides to a story and it was just as likely the way I said it could have been, than the story presented to us.
Not that is has anything to do with this dagger but I'm proud of what I do for a living. I may not ever have the honour of defending my country( although I was a Special PC for a number of years, unpaid) but then neither did people working in the UK during the 40's on the home front, doesn't mean they did not contribute. Many of those I provide for are ex soldiers, cast aside by society and forgotten, so please don't preach about my lack of contribution!
Anyway I like the dagger, it's a great family heirloom to have as a souvenir. I did not mean to cast shadows over your brave grandfather,forgive me if you felt that way,regards,Jon

Last edited by Jon Fish; 02/27/2013 11:15 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Jim W


Anyway, if someone wants to have a meaningful conversation on atrocities committed by the governments involved in the War both before during and after, I would have no problem participatibng. I can point out plenty of atrocities on all countries and can start with Custers genocide war against the native Americans.
JMHO


Just a brief flash of perspective, since you brought it up - Indians had for many decades before Custer been quite notorious for slaughters of their own, and in conjunction with both British and French forces, who hired them out as mercenaries. They were responsible for many well documented massacres of whole villages, often killing men, woman and children as they slept - And, of course, made the absolutely barbaric practice of "scalping" world infamous. Yes, this day & age, "native Americans" are set up as nothing but peace loving, innocent children of the forest, brutally beset upon by domineering, ruthless blue eyed aggressors, such as Custer. Wasn't quite that way back then, I think you watch a bit too much Disney.
I find your accusation against Custer, also a dead soldier, despicable, and hypocritical to boot. You seem to want to pick & chose who can be slandered and who cannot, and pillory any judgement which does not meet your criteria. Well, don't cast stones if you want none cast back at you is all I can say.


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Geezzz Skynryd... your recount of history seems to be a little bit jaded. The Indians defended themselves because the white man continually broke treaty agreements and were stealing their land and killing their food source... of course they defended themselves... their mothers, their fathers, their brothers and sisters... their children... wouldn't you defend your heritage?

Do some due-diligence and at least figure out what's fact and fiction before firing...

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Actually Skynryd, it is not me that has judged Custer to be a war crinminal, but history itself. The same as history has defined hitler, stalin, and others as war criminals. And, as with hitler and stalin, there are still people to defend them, and there are people who continue to deny and defend a totally despicable chapter in American history.

Skyline drive is quite right. The movies you have watched, skynard, which is clearly where you get your history from, were made with white actors acting like "blood thirsty savages" and were made for entertainment purposes of a predominately white audience. They are not history.

I must really laugh at your one statement that "made the absolutely barbaric practice of "scalping" world infamous". It was the british and the French who taught the native Americans to take scalps as proof and then would pay by the scalp". that kind of barbarism only comes from the Europeans.

On a macro level, this whole thread is a perfect example of why politics is not allowed on these threads. Not only are people trying to argue that genicide is acceptable in some circumstances (skynyrd), but we have effectively chased off a young potential collector with a family heirloom. Instead, people want to change history and have an argument.

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I agree, Jim. Discussing how daggers or other "bringbacks" is interesting, but as has this moved on to other topics and is degenerating quickly, I am closing this topic.

I will prune it back later after everyone has a good look.

Dave


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