Skip to main content

Not Listed In Niemann

Every collector hopes to find something that is not listed in the main reference of their collecting specialty. I had no such pipe dream when I bought this medal in a German antique shop years ago. I was just thrilled to find an impressive early Nazi era medal from Berchtesgaden. It looked like silver and had a good ring to it which was a test the antique dealer had not seen before. This medal does not have a silver fineness mark on the rim like most silver German medals do but I bought it any way since metal content was not an important factor. After I got it home I did a specific gravity test and found that this medal was only silver clad or plated and not silver which explained the lack of a fineness mark. The issuers of this medal may have been cheap but at least they were honest. How did I know it was from Berchtesgaden? The reverse inscription is “Watzmann - Abf. SA u. SS - Kl I Pr.”. Watzmann is a mountain synonymous with the village of Berchtesgaden. Abf. Stands for abfahrt which is a German word meaning to drive off from or leave which is often applied to down hill skiing events. I Pr means first prize and the SA u. SS - Kl is the class of competition in this event restricted to members of the SA (The Nazi Brown Shirts ) and the infamous SS. The fact that the SA was listed first and equally with the SS indicates that this event occurred and the medal was issued early in 1934 before the purge of the SA leadership and the relegation of the SA to second place in the party structure behind the SS. This was the Roehm Putsch of June 1934, often referred to “The Night of Long Knives.” All my assumptions were later confirmed when I ran across a badge depicting a faceless skier inscribed “Deutsche und Heeres Skimeisterschaften Berchtesgaden 7-12 Feb 1934 SA und SS Ski-Meisterschaften. If you collect long enough all your questions will eventually be answered.