Printed Hitler Youth Armbands ... the Truth

Jo Rivett

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Apr 12, 2011
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See also the HJ-Wiki page here: printed armband which includes updated and expanded information.

Most of the Articles in this section have been clicked/viewed only by a few people, with sparse, if any comments. I guess this substantiates the claim that i have always made, that "collectors" today don't care about solid Information and don't place much importance on research, but would rather tag along with what their Forum-idols post, never forming an opinion of their own. Its for this reason that i believe this post/article, needs to be here, available to those few who are really interested in the facts, and who dont just forum hop stealing bits and bobs here and there.

Did printed armbands exist ?

On the many forum threads out there, the main point has been focused on the RZM rules pertaining to printed armbands, with people quoting from books like Angolia etc pointing towards various RZM mentions. Even on this thread here on the HJ forum, the RZM period seemed to be the main focus, with dates pointing towards 1936, then later 1934.. and the debate has always seemed to somehow not only include these dates, but also focus manly on them with regards the question... did they exist.

I have spent a while hunting around the net, and reading all the posts, and even shedding light on the thread here about the actual RZM rules, and when they actually date from. The photo that heads that thread, and a few others, as much as we would like to believe what we are seeing is a Printed armband, it is unfortunately not proof at all, and will be interpreted in different ways by people who view this subject differently others.

Certain peoples reactions to certain topics, will at times seem like Bullying (i refer to the Bob Coleman responses to members on WAF and GMIC threads, here, here and here.) maybe they just get sick and tired of repeating the same conversations over and over, or have other agendas, in any case nothing is to gain by such debates as they are usually one sided, or at best fueled by the opinions of a few others with no facts at all.

Sometimes, i guess, i could be accused of the same to a certain extent. The reason behind this though is different. I have always gone out of my way to help, and am known to spend ages helping someone out with info and answering their questions well knowing that they are possibly not interested in my website, or will buy any item. Thats just me and the passion i have for the hobby i guess. In any case, 8 months ago i already uploaded solid proof that printed armbands were made, and available for sale on this thread. Either noone really took the time to search for anything there, or did not use the information correctly, in any case, it has been in plain view for members for a long time.

Did printed armbands exist ... the Proof

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On page 16 of the Bernhard Richter catalog, you find a small picture of an Armband above right corner. Underneath you find the descriptions, materials and prices. № 146N - Describing the Leichte ausführung Indanthen Gedruckt, gesäumt, ungefuttert 13 pfennig p/stück. (Basic issue/light issue/issue of lesser quality etc.. Printed, edges folded over and stitched and without any padding/innards/guts etc..13 pfennig per piece) below that, you will read the Vorschriftsmäßige Ausführungen for every other one.. (The required/Standard ones - ie: multi-piece designs) that cost up to double the price, between 20-25 pfennig. That catalog is from around 1933, but shows mainly items from the 1928-1932 period, with only a few new 1933 items added, all prices are still in Mark, and it is more than clear the the catalog is just a brief updated version of old stock coupled with a few new bits issued around 1933.

So what does it prove?

It proves that at least one maker, Richter, offered Printed armbands around 1933 (latest b/w proof so far)
It also proves that they were tolerated, as the Standard/Regulatory armbands were also mentioned below, and cost more.

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What were they used for? that's anyone's guess. Where they allowed to worn by HJ / NSDAP members ? well the RZM rules state clearly no, dating back to 1932. The RZM rules were very lax in the beginning though, as the follow chart i have compiled from June 1934-June 1935 show. A clear increase in makers loosing their RZM license can be observed as the new RZM system was introduced.

The Problem.

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Is that even today, Printed armbands of every type are offered for sale by Repro makers, and always have been. Some have RZM tags, RZM stamps, NSDAP round stamps.. Wehrmacht unit stamps.... etc Lots also show no stamps whatsoever. Now, you have read the word Indanthen-Gedruckt, and Indanthren Gefärbt, that is, or was a early chemical way of treating/staining cloth to create colors and patters that would not fade, or run.... (ie: on curtains etc) that is still used today in the screen printing industry. Up until 2005, i was a screen-printer, so the following is not off the top of my head, but fact. How would you test a piece to be sure if it was printed in 1933 or printed in 2011 ? you cant, it is just not possible, unless some plonker has used the wrong base material or Marabu-colors etc.. otherwise, its not possible to say what is old, and what is new.

So as much as this article answers the question, it leaves the door wide open for Automatic-Authentication on the basis that its now factually been proved that Printed armbands were made, and available alongside Regulatory ones. Thank GOD i don't collect armbands or cloth.


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Too add a bit more confusion...... people were very poor back in those days, even up until 1933. In the first party meetings, it was agree to donate shoes and clothing before donating money as some of the people were really so poor that they did not have shoes! People were more inclined to make something themselves, before they go out and buy.. not like today's society, people cherished what they had, and made do with homemade stuff. (Lots of WHW items are handmade too)
So you have to add in the "possibility" that there are going to be homemade items out there as well, that don't conform to anything.

If you looked at the following pictures for sale, of the roundel of some flag, you would think the same as i am thinking, looked painted on, washed and faded... a piece of junk, or worth a lot? well i don't know about value, but as you can see from a photo in my collection, people did have airbrushes back then, and they were creative. :good:

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...., and that last picture is awesome!

The guy spray painting a few Swastika roundels? yes its a good one, a favorite of mine.

Not worried about the views mate, the less this thread is looked at, the longer people can sell these printed HJ armbands as "Late War" - the general consensus!
And the printed HJ armbands are available in SHEETS mate, not just one or two, but sheets! Its a genuine "accepted Late War variant" amongst most collectors today, so how could one stupid period
catalog try and change that... shame on us for even thinking that.. best to just bleat along to the tune of the old cronies who brought back these sheets and sheets of printed BS and claimed it was Late War due to rationing, or due to whatever else they can imagine up in order to convince.
Hope this is relevant . Just obtained a group of photos and this one appears to be very early hj bdm but may be more fad related. I do see vestiges of uniform with one in the top row wearing the early beret type head dress. The main point is the early home made wimpel, Also note the two wearing armbands

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Nice photo Paul. That Wimpel is great.

Just linking a thread relevant to Jo's information. Link points to a post where a period source is shown, stipulating that the official HJ armband was printed at that time (early)

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I just came across this article for the first time. I am blown away by the high level of research on this forum. Masterful work JO :first:
Just a note for the interested ones:
Looking for other information in the Mitteilungsblatt der RZM I just noted
in a manufacturing regulation for the HJ-armband from November 24, 1934,
it was mentioned especially that printed armbands for the HJ were forbidden
to be manufactured. So, printed ones did exist, as Jo mentions, but officially
not with the entry of 1935.
..... Masterful work JO :first:
Thanks, but again, it`s is not really "Me" at all, but simply opening up period books and reading what is said - and then sharing.

As Wim says above about the rules. These would also surely have been enforced, as the HJ and Party members were wearing these in uniform, and of course there would have been uniform checks ! I remember these from my days as a MP in South Africa. Even if we had one bootlace that was the wrong color, or a small part of the shirt not ironed correctly... so i am pretty sure that printed armbands for the HJ and Party did die out pretty quickly after they were "banned".
There is another discussion regarding printed armbands on the WAF currently. Some are stating that the size of the armband is a deciding factor. Angolia is also quoted there, but his information is sometimes wildly incorrect. Link:

Small armband opinion - Militaria Forums
Cheers, but no point in even clicking onto that forum. Bunch of minions and their tick-pickers. If you drop my name on that forum, its a thread killer. The book that i am working on - almost finished now, exposes more Littlejohn, Angolia, Ailsby etc books as ..."slightly incorrect" :)
Dont forget, WAF is not the place for F A C T S but rather for opinions by people who claim to be experts.
I found a number of price-lists from about 1934/1935
and not just for HJ, but also for SA as well.
In various of them the printed armbands were offered,
for example as "ganz gedruckt" from J.F. Rieleder KG
Posamentenfabrik, Heilbronn or Koblenzefahnenfabrik
Bangert u. Hertwig from Koblenz.

In my opinion the printed armbands are noted to be
early products!
More evidence surfaces to dispel the collector myth of printed armbands being "late war" or "last ditch". Thank you Wim.
A pleasure to read this article!
and yet we see the same old rubbish being trotted out on other forums by people who either don't know about this information or who simply refuse to accept facts...

The information has been available to anyone looking for many years now. Here's a link from 2013 proving unequivocally that printed HJ armbands were official items in the early period as an alternative to the more expensive stitched version:

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