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Not on these knives you haven't...
As I understand it,these 'DJ' knives are made of aluminium. That excludes them from being late-war items which means that if they aren't mentioned in the regulations as a piece of officially sanctioned and procured piece of equipment for issue to the youth then they cannot and should not be viewed as anything more interesting than pre-war souvenirs.
With that in mind the price-tag is pretty disgusting really. For me it beggars belief that anyone would be willing to shell out this kind of money for an unsubstantiated item with so many question marks over its head and so much evidence which speaks against it being what it is purported to be.
Well said Garry.
I have never seen any dealer advertise these knives as anything else but DJ, BDM, or DJ-BDM knives. And now, we get the rare variants with the HJ emblem on the scabbard. What a joke, but a sad one...
whats really sad are the people spending good money on them after buying in to the story sold them by dealers
I have been in email discussion with LTC (Ret) Thomas M. Johnson Re: this topic. He has asked me to post his comments verbatim which follows, exactly as I received it. I thank Mr Johnson for taking the time to correspond with me over this subject, which will continue when he returns from a business trip.
June 25, 2009
Thank you very much for your email reply of 24 June. I only have a few minutes, as I am departing for Pennsylvania to purchase some German daggers, but I did want to provide you “my take” on the DJ knives.
First, Russell, I would like to say that I am very impressed with the HJ Research Forum. In my opinion, this is the best organized and appealing militaria forum that I have personally observed on the internet.
As I mentioned in my last email to you, I am relatively certain that I had some source document to work with concerning this particular model knife when I authored my Volume I of Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich during the 1970’s. However, as you might well imagine, I have literally hundreds of 1933 – 1945 documents concerning the edged weapon industry in Solingen during the Third Reich period, but, even if the particular source document cannot be found, I think that your forum members may be jumping the gun in trying to sway the argument that these small DJ knives did not exist during the era of the Third Reich. You mentioned in your email to me that “assumptions are made that there cannot be any evidence, and respected people with the vast experience such as yourself, and others have made no comment”. Therefore, I would like to make the following comment:
I personally think it is a real cheap shot when forum members indicate that reference book authors are writing their books to promote merchandise sales. 20When I authored Volume I, I was strictly a serious German dagger collector, and not a known dealer in German edged weaponry. A member states on the forum that perhaps “the buying public have been led down a rocky road”. Hardly! My experience is that reference book authors pour their guts out into their writings attempting to not only educate collectors and share what they have learned over many years, but also to protect collectors from wasting their hard earned money on reproductions. You will find countless examples in my writings on how to identify reproduction Third Reich daggers. It may come as a surprise to some of the forum members, but some reference book authors don’t even sell militaria! I took a few minutes just to take a look through some of our own reference books here at JRB&M, and I can tell you that the following well-known authors, in addition to myself, feel that the small DJ knife did, in fact, exist in the version with (and in some cases without) the HJ diamond on the scabbard and is pictured in John R. Angolia’s well-received Daggers, Bayonets, and Fighting Knives of Hitler’s Germany, Dominique Veener’s Les Armes Blanches Du III Reich, Frederick J. Stephen’s Edged Weapons of the Third R eich, 1933 – 1945 (although Fred indicates that it may well be a commercial piece adapted for the HJ youth or a very early semi-official type), John Angolia’s HJ, Volume I, and David Littlejohn’s The Hitler Youth. These respected and competentauthors all feel this model Youth knife existed during the period. Additionally, the five experienced partners of the new Empire Auction also, obviously, feel that this small dagger existed during the period, as they presently have one being offered on their website.
One forum member points out that the DJ knife is not pictured in any of the known period manufacturing catalogs and that all other models are. I hasten to point out that there are several model daggers that are known to exist that are not pictured in the factory sales catalogs. An example that comes to mind is the 55cm DLV dagger, but it is known to exist. Also, I would challenge you to try to locate several of the known miniature dagger models, like the 2nd Model Navy, Hunting miniature, etc. in a Solingen factory catalog. Does this mean that these model sidearms did not exist? Obviously, not.
Another forum member points out that he will believe in these DJ knives when he sees an actual “in-wear” photograph. I would point out that there are numerous known and accepted Third Reich edged weapons that to date the collecting community has not located in-wear photographs of the pieces being worn. Examples here are many, but, while we are discussing the Hitler Youth, how about in-wear pictures of HJ honour knives, the HJ bayonet, etc. I have never seen. Have your Forum members?
Another one of your members made the point that perhaps these knives were put together by the factory and handed out to American GI’s after the war. One must realize that the city of Soli ngen took a real pounding from Allied bombing during the war, as pictured in my Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich series, and in the year 1945 many edged weapon factories were damaged or completely leveled.
The final point that I would like to make is that many of your forum members probably know, I followed Major Jim Atwood into Solingen two or three months after his trip during 1960, and located literally many hundreds of left-over original dagger and sword parts. Included in these parts were boxes of the DJ knife scabbards, and a couple of large boxes of left-over DJ grip plates. If one argues that this model dagger did not exist during the period, then why were all of these parts still in factory basements during early 1960?
I have personally made over 150 trips to Solingen and have studied the edged w eapon industry in some detail. While we may not be able to prove that these DJ knives were authorized for the DJ, I think that based upon the above facts, it is indisputable that this model sidearm did exist during the Third Reich period.
I hope, Russell, that these comments will add to your discussion on the subject of DJ knives.
LTC (Ret) Thomas M. Johnson
Johnson Reference Books & Militaria
Thank you Russ and my particular thanks to LTC (Ret) Johnson for taking the time to revisit this issue. With all due respect for Mr Johnson's experience and knowledge on edged weapons I'm afraid I still can't see a compelling argument for the DJ knives being an officially sanctioned item made for issue to the DJ. A photograph would be nice but as he points out, there are many items which we know to have existed but for which there is no photographic evidence.
I personally do believe, and have said so during this thread, that the knife may be a period item but not with that badge. I just don't believe that it was ever worn or used in the sense that the standard knife was. Therefore, 'DJ' knives should not have overblown price tags slapped onto them and should not be referred to in terms which lend them credibility where none yet exists (I'm referring to the dealers here).
Regulations are not always the 'be all and end all' but they are very useful in providing clues as well as concrete information. The source I'm using dates to late-1943 and even at that stage there is still no mention of any knife other than the one we know. Another 'nail in the coffin' for me is that these knives, as I understand it, are made of aluminium. I find it difficult to believe that this metal would have been diverted into the production of an unnecessary knife late-war. I say late-war because there is no mention of the 'DJ' knife in the book which means that if such knives were issued to the DJ it had to be post-1943.
So, what are we left with? In my opinion we are left with a souvenir - a period souvenir perhaps - but nothing more than that and I think that the price-tag should reflect that until more is known.
I've had some more communication with LTC (Ret) Thomas M. Johnson over the last couple of days. I had asked him if he had any pics of some of the 'DJ' parts he picked up on his visits to Solingen. He has kindly provided me with 3 pics which I will post here.
Here is TMJ's information on the first pic of the plates.
"The picture of the grip plates shows the small DJ plate compared to the larger Hitler Youth knife plates. As for any markings on the reverse sides of the small and larger plates, I have a large number of HJ plates which I purchased from WKC which bear the letters “WKC” on the reverse side. I also have a large number of plates from one of the other Solingen firms (I don’t remember which one, as I have visited nearly all of them) which have no markings on the back. A good number of the smaller DJ plates are stamped on the inside with the number “2”. The larger HJ hilt is a post-war part, and is only shown for comparative purposes. JRB&M acquired hundreds of the smaller DJ parts many years ago from WKC and one or two of the other Solingen manufacturing firms."
Russel, thank you for going out and getting this information to add to this interesting thread, I appreciate your effort.
One observation I have from the grip-plate pic is that the 'DJ' plate recess for the diamond is significantly smaller than the HJ diamond recesses. As far as I'm aware there are 2 or possibly three different diamond sizes for HJ's. But the 'DJ' recess looks too small for the smallest diamond. I will see if I can get some measurements of this recess. Perhaps it is the pic.
Thanks for the comment Gefolgschaft - research is one of my favourite hobbies.
In the absence of any period documentation to date, I'd like to float a possible explanation for the existence of these 'DJ' knives and I'd welcome any opinions or thoughts on what you think of it. The knife is the same or very similar to the type of item that bears the Nuremberg and Olympic etchings. These I believe are dated 1935 for the Reichsparteitag Rally and 1936 for the Olympic version. Could the stockpile of knives found in Solingen be leftover, un-etched examples waiting for the next commemorative event? This theory of course, pre-supposes that one believes in these etched items as genuine, which I think is relatively well accepted by some, but not others.
Last edited by RussellM; 7th July 2009 at 04:42 AM.