Fabulous Replica of SS-Totenkopf Death's Head Ring
Incredible SS Honor Ring (Kuno Callsen) (Item SS 22-1)
|DESCRIPTION: Here is the best Totenkopf Heinrich Himmler honor ring ever to be found. It certainly is the most researched one that we have ever heard of. Mr. Don Boyle, the man who wrote the hornbook on the subject, calls it unhesitatingly, “In my estimation,” it is one of the most historic honor rings ever found in that it belonged to a quite famous SS-Einsatzgruppen figure. We concur with this estimation for this is without a doubt the best ever. Don goes on to say on his certification the following: “Along with the ring is an award document making Callsen a very high NSDAP official and advisor to the government with a hand-signed signature of H. Himmler.” On his certification is the information from the ring’s interior: “S/lb. Callsen 21/6/39 H. Himmler.” This letter and document from Mr. Boyle is dated August 22, 2005. Mr. Boyle is the author of SS-Totenkopf H. Himmler Honor Ring 1933-1945.
The date of 21/6 is the Pagan Festival of midsummer’s day. Many of the rings were awarded on that date that had meaning to the SS ceremonies that honored the Teutonic past. This was not a rejection of Christianity, but a demonstration of respect and reverence to historic epochs that predate the Christian era.
The man who received this ring was an SS man’s SS man! He was a thorough believer in the NS Bewegung (movement) and a loyal SS man to his oath and allegiance to the Schwartze Korps. His oaths Meine Ehre Heist Treue was only superseded by the later statement made by so many SS officers and men: “ Wenn alle untreu werden, so bleiben wir doch treu!,” “If all become unfaithful, then we remain still faithful.”
Since acquiring this fantastic relic, we have done much research and we will present many archive copies (translated into English) with the chronicle of Kuno Callsen, the ring’s former owner. Kuno Callsen was born October 10, 1911, in the town of Wilster in S. Holstein. He was the son of a teacher by the name of August Callsen. Kuno attended the middle school at Wilster and afterwards, the high school at Itzehoe, where he received his diploma. Later, he entered as an apprentice at the newspaper Flensburger News and served in a three-year course as a news expert.
After working there for only a year, he decided to enlist in the SS and because of proven skills, he was allowed to enter straightaway the SD (Sicherheits Dienst) of the department of the Reichsführer-SS. This was on March 1, 1935. He was a member of the NSDAP since October 1932, and was a member of the National Socialist Student Organization at the Kaiser Karl School in Itzehoe. This information is from Callsen’s personal file, which is part of the documentation that we have copies of. There is a notation in the file that goes like this: “Callsen is a media expert (newspapers) and has considerable knowledge as a press consultant. His systematic work has brought AMT II/II of the SD-Uberabschnitt Hessen to an excellent standard. Callsen is a steadfast and precise worker with a deep-rooted understanding of our National Ideology.”
His service records show a 10-year span of promotions between 1934 and 1944. He went from SS man to Sturmbannführer via Rottenführer, SS-Scharführer, to SS-Oberscharführer, to SS-Hauptsturmführer, and, finally, in 1944, Sturmbannführer (major).
In other documents you can see that he won the SA Sports Badge and that he was educated in the real gymnasium (high school or college) and that he was an RSHA in the SD Unterabschnitt Hessen and his employer is listed as the Reichsführer-SS.
A note of interest is that Callsen was sworn in to the SS april 20, 1936 (Hitler’s 47 birthday). Another document, a personal file (Personal Bericht) lists him in character as open and honest, race Nordic, no offenses are known in the struggle for the movement, no previous convictions, at the time single. He has a healthy understanding of the NSDAP outlook, his behavior in and out of duty is without complaint, his knowledge and education is sehr gut (very good), he has keen learning ability. Religion—a believer!, occupation media expert.
Callsen was married on December 23, 139, to Ingeborg Sprecht, who was born March 3, 1920 in Nevisenburg (Hesse file 82972). He was an SS-Hautpsturmführer with SS no. 107362 and was attached to the SS area head office in Darmstadt. There is a document in 1939 where Callsen had communication with Reinhard Heydrich another signed for Heydrich. The document notes that Callsen was an SS-Obersturmbannführer from November 9, 1938. The promotion was on the sacred day commemorating the Putsch in Munich in 1923. There is a promotion proposal from Potzett, SD Führer of the SS-Oberabschnitt “Fulda-Werra.” This is from the security office of personnel in Berlin. Callsen was recommended at that time to be promoted to Obersturmführer. This promotion was discussed under the auspices of the SS leader of the “Fulda-Werra” section SS-Standartenführer Potzelt. There were no objections and the meeting was continued with the signing of personal recommendations and references. Signatures were gained starting with the lowest rank and latest dates. No one abstained from signing. At the end of the meeting all participants were ordered to keep these minutes secret. This meeting was held on September 17, 1937. There is a list among the documents of the officers who gave their approval. All were from the SD-Oberabschnitt “Fulda-Werra.”
It was in March 1935, that SS-Hautpscharführer Callsen was assigned to Oberabschnitt “Fulda-Werra.” On March 1, 1935, because he had the qualifications as a newspaper expert, he was put in charge of the press and media section. He had diligently proved his ability to build through hard work the knowledge and systematic excellence in running an exceptional department. He was noted to have a keen ability to detect any countermovement and submissive expressions in any press or writings submitted. His reports are very informative in their overall view, and his connections with the press and the party and state are excellent. Since the press office was amalgamated with SS-Abteilung 11/2, Callsen had proved that he had the know-how and expertise to actually become the head of SS section 11/11 of the SS/SD Hessia. It was further said that he will excel in his new position. He is a good comrade and he can be truly be recommended for advancement. His behavior outside his duty is exceptionally good. There are various documents of various promotions with the grouping of archival papers. On another document dated in 1944, which is a copy to the SS personnel office, there is another recommendation for his promotion to SS-Sturmbannführer. From January 1944, shown in this communiqué there is a line that asks what was his military duty: (none), SD matters only. Front commands were, in 1942, in the east (special assignment) Einsatzgruppe?
Awards: Iron Cross Second Class Present Service; Personal Advisor to AMT 111
Callsen is since March 1935 assigned duties with the SD-RFSS, all testimonials are first class
He is an expert in his work and advanced in short time to higher ranks. The document demonstrates that his party membership no. is 647505. He was a leader in the department. His work and duty has the notification GOOD and he is an ideal and correct SS Führer.
He was then duly raised from SS-Hauptsturmführer to SS-Sturmbanführer. In another communiqué from der Chif der Sicherheitspolizei und der SD dated 1944, it notes that Sturmbanführer Callsen has been ordered to Lüneburg to oversee the reestablishment of the SS-Abschnitt Lüneburg. His orders are to oversee the filing of all SS personnel matters, salary, vacations, etc. His salary will be regulated by the RSHA. This order came through Kaltenbrunner SS-Obergruppenführer and general of the police, November 1944.
On June 6, 1944, there is a letter from Callsen from Neu-Isenburg to the SS personnel Hauptamt in Berlin-Charlottenburg to announce the May 22, 1944, birth of his daughter Anije and he also states that he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class on December 3, 1941 and was promoted to full government assessor on September 1, 1943. On November 29, 1944, there is a written confirmation from Kuno Callsen that he has returned his personnel file to the head personnel office (This office came under Gottlob Berger.). He signs his name under “Heil Hitler.”
Kuno Callsen is listed in the Dienstalterliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP für SS-Obersturmbannführer und SS-Sturmbannführer Oct 1944. This is a listing of all SS personnel that had reached those ranks with party numbers, SS numbers, date of birth, present grades, and assignments. It also shows the man’s awards and if he received the Ehrenringe, (the SS-Totenkopf ring), that would be presented under the auspices of Heinrich Himmler, himself. The listing also indicates if the listed SS officer received the sword of the SS and if he won any military awards. Callsen is listed as having received the Iron Cross Second Class, and the much-coveted ring and sword. He is shown there as attached to the Reichsicherheit’s head office with the party number 647 505, and SS number 107362, and became a Sturmbannführer on January 30, 1944.
The last document that we have is dated November 1944, when he was at Lüneberg. After this, we lose track of Kuno Callsen and we believe that right after this he was assigned to Einsatzgruppe 4A Einsatzgruppe C and possibly under Oberstleutnant Riedel as a Sonderkommando. These units were charged with security tasks in the great Russian offensive known as Operation Barbarosa. Many of these units operated against Soviet and other partisan outfits who were terrorizing the German military forces and allied anti-Soviet people.
For many years after the war we have heard about the horrors inflicted by these Einsatzgruppen against the Jews and other eastern peoples, and no doubt about it, this war in the east was hell personified and atrocities were, in fact, committed by these SS commandos and their ethnic anticommunist allies especially among the Croatians and Ukrainians. Yes, we have heard these stories, and they were often true, but there were the usual exaggerations that seem to be the privilege of the victors in any war’s end. But on the other side—and shouldn’t we always consider the other side? Some of the most beastly atrocities imaginable or (unimaginable) were being committed against the Germans by partisans of Tito’s forces and Russian red bandits all over the eastern front. Captured German soldiers were being drowned in village cesspools, rolled to death in barrels that were dumped into the rivers, and then shot at. Thousands of young German soldiers were beaten to death. They were usually castrated. German field hospitals were captured and the strangling of helpless victims would begin; beating to death the helpless ones and drowning them in their wash basins. They doused their victims with gasoline, hung them feet first from branches or preferably poles and lanterns, set them on fire cheering to the agony of the living torches, which lasted all the longer because the victim had been hung head downward as a precautionary measure so that the rising smoke could not mercifully choke them. What was done to woman in the anti-Soviet villages simply cannot be described. The sadistic monstrousness of it is much too much for words. Captured German soldiers were bound over logs and their bowels were dug out with bayonets after castration. Extremities, hands, ears, feet were amputated while the soldier was still alive. Nothing that any African cannibal might have thought up as sufficient torture held a candle to the expertise of these partisans and what they inflicted upon the Wehrmacht. This was hell with a capital ‘H.’ The situation was similar to that of the U.S 7th Cavalry in the Indian Wars. The word passed along the ranks of the German forces was “if it looks like you might fall into the hands of the enemy, save the last bullet for yourself.”
It was because of this Soviet-inspired program of despicable horror that the Einsatzgruppen were formed and this was the reason they were rushed to the fray. It must, at this time, be noted that the Soviet Union specifically did not sign the Geneva Convention or the Hague Convention on land warfare, both of which declared partisan warfare of armed civilians against unformed troops illegal. Thus the war by the red army was waged with great ferocity and monstrous brutality to which the German Wehrmacht soon responded. It soon became necessary to conduct extensive operations against partisans with army, SS, and to a great extent, the Einsatzgruppen in Russian and Yugoslavian territory. The partisan operations threatened to completely cut off the lines of communications and transport routes that were necessary to support the German forces. For instance, a monthly report of the OKW concerning attacks on railroad lines in Russia revealed that in the Russian area alone from 800 to 1,000 attacks occurred each month during the period causing among other things (like the heinous murder of railroad employees) the loss of 200 to 300 locomotives.
At first, SD units were attached to antipartisan operations for the apparent purpose of counterintelligence activity in front-line area, but as the activities of the red murderers got more horrendous these special units became more involved. If a German soldier was found murdered or was shot by ununiformed snipers in a village somewhere, the normal policy of the German forces was to shoot hostages. This, admittedly, was a grim policy, but one that had been carried out by almost all governments faced with any kind of guerrilla or partisan warfare. The United States carried out such a policy in Vietnam, as did the French in Algeria. In Russia and the Balkans, Germany was faced with an enemy that definitely did not operate by the normal rules of warfare and from early times guerilla warfare (which was terrorism) was always met by counterterrorism. History has now been revisited and it looms obvious that the Einsatzgruppen, although not exactly a humane society, did not have any plan to exterminate any particular racial group. Yes, people were shot as alleged spies, and for reprisals.
Into this terrible fiery conflagration enters SS-Sturmbannführer Kuno Callsen. We do not know enough at this point about his actual activities, but there is sufficient documentation to assume that he was indeed a Sonderkommando of the Einsatzgruppen. It fell to him to undertake these thankless tasks and to later be persecuted and prosecuted for doing his duty for the fatherland. We may find out more about this SS officer and we have many requests out there to various archival sources, but, so far, we know only the above about his early years up to November 1944. The record we have from archives go up to then, when he was stationed at Lüneberg. We know that he received the Iron Cross in December of 1941. So it is assumed that any front-line action had to be in this period and as mentioned before, he was promoted to full government assessor in 1943.
Now, the most interesting aspect of all this is that on November 25, 1944, he was promoted to Regierungsrat, an official government advisor. Along with the actual ring is the official document from the Führer Hauptquartier with facsimile Hitler signature and the actual hand-written signature of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. This was highly unusual for Himmler to sign any document that was not an integral SS-organization promotion or award. The fact that he personally signed this promotion certificate seems to show that he was proud of this officer, who had in so many ways personified what the Reichsführer perceived as the perfect SS man in loyalty, diligence, and service to the nation, Führer, and people.
The document is on heavy parchment stock and has the golden Hohietabzeichen or national eagle at its uppermost portion and the wording is loosely translated as “I hereby award you by the power invested in me the rank of Government Advisor. (From assessor to official government advisor). Kuno Callsen, I award this document and I expect the above-named to be true to his service and his duties to his office to the best of his fulfillment. And the trust we put in him is well earned and this award demonstrates our trust in him and at the same time I assure him of my special protection. Führer-Hauptquartier, den 25 November 1944.” Below this the facsimile signature of der Führer
The document measures 10 x 14 inches and is contained in a presentation folder with a golden, embossed NSDAP eagle on the cover. The ring is a size 11 1/2 and the runic symbols are all still nice and clear except for the dual sigrunes and tyrune that are in a circle located at the base of the ring. This is almost obliterated from heavy wear and the oak leaves to each side of this show considerable wear. This ring being issued in 1939 is essentially a 1940’s-style ring. Don Boyle in his book points out the basic differences in the style and makeup of the 1930’s and 1940’s rings. You can see the swastika rune is more diamond shaped than that the 1930’s rings. On the 1930’s rings the dual tyrune and sigrunes are oval shaped, while on this ring and subsequent 1940’s examples these runes are featured in a perfect circle. Don says that on the 1930’s rings the engraving is deeper and this is generally true, but Callsen’s ring shows very deep engraving; a holdover from the 1930’s style. Because of the deeper engraving, the legend is very fine and readable. The joiner line is quite visible and directly under the skull. The teeth are in perfect condition and are clearly defined. All the other runic insignia and oak-leaf branches are nice and clear with the exception of the bottom portion, which we already explained. If one were to look in Mr. Boyle’s book, it can be noticed that a good many of the rings pictured there have the same wear at the same point. The triangle, with sigrune, the Hagel rune, the swastika, are all in decent shape. For explanation of the meaning of these symbols, see Don’s book. It makes fascinating reading.
So this is the partial story of an SS officer and his honor ring. The document that was issued to the SS man and signed by the Reichsführer was an instruction to the recipient of what the meaning of all the symbols and what the ring and runes should mean. It ended with the words in German, “Tragen sie den Ring in Ehren.” (“Wear this ring with honor.”)
From our initial investigation it would seem that SS-Sturmbannführer Kuno Callsen did in fact wear this ring with honor. Consignment item #2-2400-900.
Letter from Oswald Pohl to SS-Obergruppenführer Hildebrandt (Item SS 22-2; WAF 4-6)
|DESCRIPTION: Here is a rare official letter from SS-Obergruppenführer (Lt. General) Oswald Pohl, the administrative chief of the SS to Richard Hildebrandt. SS-Obergruppenführer (General) Pohl, born in 1892 and officially murdered in 1951, was the head of the WVha economic office of the SS. He was born in Duisburg and was a naval officer in WWI. He joined the Nazi Party in 1929 and became an SA officer 10 years later, mostly because he was a close personal friend of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler. He was appointed Minister Director from 1942 to 1945. He was a general in the Waffen-SS and was in charge of all concentration camps and SS works projects. Richard Hildebrandt, was a general in the Waffen-SS and Chief of the Central Office of Race and Resettlement (RuSHA) before becoming a general officer. He was wrongfully executed after a mock trial in 1952. The letter is on Oswald Pohl’s stationery and dated 25. Januar 1938 and is hand signed with a “Heil Hitler!” in closing. It basically is a thank-you letter to Hildebrandt for his part in providing an Italian tour for Pohl and other comrades and it speaks of there being another return trip and he hopes that others may have the same enormous pleasurable time. He sends cordial and comradely greeting. Pohl signatures are rare and being on official stationary makes it even more desirable. This is on very thin linen paper and is in really good shape with 1-inch-long nick or tear at the bottom (does not detract at all). It measures 11 x 8 1/4 inches. The scribble at the top is most likely Hildebrandt’s “received” mark done in red or orange pencil. This is a very important historical document from the highest echelons of the Allgemeine-SS and is an important archival treasure.
SS Death’s Head Ring (Himmler Presentation) (Item SS 22-4)
|DESCRIPTION: Here is the most popular piece of jewelry in the military collectibles’ world and certainly the most-sought-after item of the Third Reich. Donald Boyle, the author of the book, The SS-Totenkopf H. Himmler Ring 1933-1945, says these rings were bestowed upon selected members of the SS according to specific criteria. The ring was considered by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler to be of, if not the most prestigious award of the SS. Construction techniques never varied and all of these rings were made of solid silver and followed the same design and pattern, although minor variations do occur, since they were handmade. The inside of the honor rings contain the recipient’s last name, the date of the award, a facsimile of Himmler’s signature (“H. Himmler”) and the letters ‘S.LB,’ which stand for “Seinem Lieben” (“with respect and honor”). The fascinating story of the history of these rings can be reviewed in Mr. Boyle’s intriguing book mentioned above. The book is a must-read for those interested in the SS organization, the Wewelsburg Castle connection, and the mysticism surrounding it. Also, reading about the criteria for the awarding of this coveted item; information on the Gahr Company, the sole maker of these rings; details on construction; etc., are highly recommended! The ring we offer is an excellent-plus condition. Most of the rings found are in very-worn shape. Often the runes are either partially gone or completely gone from extensive wear. This ring was one that was awarded to an SS man by the name of Richard Kühn, and his identity book (which is included) details this information about:
National-Socialist German Workers Party
Membership-Card No. 2762096
First and Second Name: Richard Kühn
Profession: agricultural labourer [Landwirtschaftsgehilfe]
Place of Residence: Neerstady-Wildeshausen
Date of Birth: May 12th, 1897
Place of Birth: Sharlatov
Joined the NSDAP: July 1st, 1930
Munich, January 3rd, 1938
For the Board
[signed by Hitler and Schwarz (treasurer)]
[signature of Kühn]
Stamp of local NSDAP chapter Brettorf
[signed by heads of local chapter]
This ring was taken from Kühn, whose picture shows him to be an SS-Untersturmführer by a lieutenant in the Special Investigative Unit of the British Army. This lieutenant’s name was Frank E. O. Hansford. Hansford was a police detective in England before being selected to go to Germany to help sort out political prisoners of the SS and other special units. We also have a copy of Hansford’s diary and there is what we would consider a very sad note dealing with the capture and interrogation of Untersturmführer Kühn. On the 21st of April. Lt. Hansford notes that Richard K Kühn hanged himself while incarcerated. Why? Many of these young men were so exuberant about the Third Reich and its past and future that they could not see living in the ‘brave new world’ of democracy, preferring honorable death to entering a world of ‘coca-cola culture.’ We will never know if this was Kühn’s motivation, but it seems he stayed true to his SS oath: “Meine Ehre Heisst True.” The ring is marked 7/3/36 and of course it has all the marks inside to include ‘Seinen Leben (S/L)’ and his last name, ‘Kühn’ and the facsimile signature of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler. The ring is a rare 1930’s style and is excellent plus condition all the way. It would be rated as one of the finest examples we have ever offered and to have the NSDAP Party book with it is practically unheard of. The ring is clearly a textbook example with nice joiner seam and typical engraving. The size of the ring is English size W, and this is equivalent, according to a jeweler, to American size 11. The internal diameter is just over 0.8 inches. Whether you collect daggers, badges, or uniforms none can really compare to the mystic and historical importance of the Totenkopf honor ring, which was the uncontested highest SS-officer award that was presented by the Reichsführer, himself. This is it! “The ultimate!”
Fabulous Replica of SS-Totenkopf Death's Head Ring
Please refer to item designator in parentheses in all correspondence.