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While skiing in Germany certainly played a role in sport and health, ultimately it had military implications, as well. This photo was taken by Kriegsberichter Finke, with the original caption: “Auf dem Wege zur Front” (On the way to the front).

While skiing in Germany certainly played a role in sport and health, ultimately it had military implications, as well. This photo was taken by Kriegsberichter Finke, with the original caption: “Auf dem Wege zur Front” (On the way to the front).

To say Germans “love skiing” is an understatement. Germany has more active skiers than any other country in Europe, with a current figure of over 14.6 million Germans partaking in the sport each year. Every weekend from fall to spring, German television stations broadcast live European ski competitions to millions of households so Germans can follow their favorite type of ski competition and athlete. Skiing is big in Deutschland!

SKIING WAS PART OF THE “MASTER PLAN”

German Ski Competition Badges presented during the Third Reich era (1933-1945) are as collectible as any other type of German WWII artifacts. I have enjoyed collecting them for years and have several in my current collection. For the purpose of this article, I will cover some basic history and background information related to German Third Reich Ski Competition Badges that I found helpful in understanding what types of German ski badges there are to collect.

A 1934 SA Gruppe Thuringen 1st Wintersport Meet Badge. This SA (Sturmabteilung) event event was held January 13-14, 1934, in Zella-Mehlis-Oberschon, Germany. The silvered tombac badge nicely displays an SA high jump skier, swastika, and SA emblem along with all the event information on the front. The badge size is approximately 52 X 37 mm in size and has a horizontal pin on the back for attachment to clothing. These badges are rare but can still be found for around $150-$200.

A 1934 SA Gruppe Thuringen 1st Wintersport Meet Badge. This SA (Sturmabteilung) event event was held January 13-14, 1934, in Zella-Mehlis-Oberschon, Germany. The silvered tombac badge nicely displays an SA high jump skier, swastika, and SA emblem along with all the event information on the front. The badge size is approximately 52 X 37 mm in size and has a horizontal pin on the back for attachment to clothing. These badges are rare but can still be found for around $150-$200.

In January 1933, after Adolf Hitler and his Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP or Nazi Party) came to power, the desire to nationalize all aspects of German society began in earnest.

To begin with, Hitler nationalized sports clubs and all German outdoor activities. Der Nationalsozialistische Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (the National Socialist League of the Reich for Physical Exercise / NSRL) was the overall German agency for physical education in Nazi Germany. Formed on July 27, 1934, the NSRL functioned until it was disbanded on May 31, 1945, after the war.

The NSRL assisted Hitler’s vision of the “master race” by the organizing and promoting of physical activities for all citizens to prepare themselves to become a “warrior” for the German nation. Winter sports were an important component of overall physical fitness. Therefore, the Third Reich — through the NSRL — placed great emphasis on establishing and hosting winter ski events.

Simultaneously, the Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (German Reich Association for Physical Exercise / DRL) was established on July 27, 1934, as the official sports governing body of the Third Reich. After its foundation, the DRL gradually subsumed all German sports associations under its authority and governance with the goal of “improving the morale and productivity of all German workers” and making German sporting activities a source of national pride for all citizens.

A 1934 SA-SS Ski Competition Badge for the event held on February 7-12, 1934, in Berchtesgaden, Germany. This beautiful silver-plated, bronze and enamel badge displays a downhill skier superimposed on the black, white and red national swastika flag, the black, white and red national tri-color flag and the red DSV (German Ski Association) flag. When translated it says “German Army Ski Championship, Berchtesgaden, 7-12 Feb. 1934 SA and SS Ski Championship.” Interestingly, this SA-SS ski competition was held approximately five months before the infamous “Night of the Long Knives/Röhm-Putsch” beginning on June 30,1934, when the SA ranks were decimated by the SS. The badge is approximately 58 X 43 mm and has a vertical pin on the back. These badges can be found for around $200-$250 depending upon condition

A 1934 SA-SS Ski Competition Badge for the event held on February 7-12, 1934, in Berchtesgaden, Germany. This beautiful silver-plated, bronze and enamel badge displays a downhill skier superimposed on the black, white and red national swastika flag, the black, white and red national tri-color flag and the red DSV (German Ski Association) flag. When translated it says “German Army Ski Championship, Berchtesgaden, 7-12 Feb. 1934 SA and SS Ski Championship.” Interestingly, this SA-SS ski competition was held approximately five months before the infamous “Night of the Long Knives/Röhm-Putsch” beginning on June 30,1934, when the SA ranks were decimated by the SS. The badge is approximately 58 X 43 mm and has a vertical pin on the back. These badges can be found for around $200-$250 depending upon condition

Various other Nazi organizations like the SA (Sturmabteilung), SS (Schutzstaffel), NSKK (Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps), BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel), and HJ (Hitlerjugend) were aggressively involved in the promotion of many types of winter sporting activities. They all strove to promote Hitler’s concept of “Aryan physical superiority” by developing healthy minds and bodies for all its members.

Winter sporting events — like ski competitions — were an important part of what the German DRL organized and promoted. The DRL organized and hosted the 1936 Winter Games (Olympics) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. From February 6-16, 1936, 28 different nations participated in the winter sports competitions.

It was at the 1936 Winter Olympic that alpine skiing made its first international appearance as a combined event that totaled an individual skier’s slalom and downhill results for an overall score. Though Norway came in first in the medal count, Germany ranked second overall, winning three gold and three silver medals — a major source of national pride for Nazi Germany! From that point, alpine ski competitions became extremely popular throughout Germany — a sport thousands enjoy to this day.

COLLECTING SKI BADGES

At the 1936 Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, alpine skiing was arranged for the first time in the Olympics, a combined event for men and women. Both downhills were run on Kreuzjoch on Friday, February 7, 1936, with the women at 11:00 and the men at noon. The two-run slalom races were run on the weekend at Gudiberg with the women’s event on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.

At the 1936 Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, alpine skiing was arranged for the first time in the Olympics, a combined event for men and women. Both downhills were run on Kreuzjoch on Friday, February 7, 1936, with the women at 11:00 and the men at noon. The two-run slalom races were run on the weekend at Gudiberg with the women’s event on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.

To begin collecting German Third Reich Ski Competition Badges, you need to understand the following basic information:

*Third Reich Ski Competition Badges were designed to reflect and represent each type of sporting event.

*They were presented to each participant at the end of the competition.

*The badges were usually constructed of a silver-plated, bronze metal and had vibrant enamel colors of either an alpine downhill skier or ski jumper on the front.

*Usually the ski competition dates, location, and organizations involved were also displayed on the front of the badge.

*On the back of each badge, there is either a vertical or horizontal pin soldered onto the badge.

*Early on, most badges were maker marked near the pin.

*Later badges were more cheaply made with much less color and detail and were not maker marked.

This variation of the 1934 SA-SS Ski Competition Badge is also constructed of silvered bronze with enamel features and displays the same picture and information as the previous badge. It is approximately 45 X 36 mm and has a horizontal pin on the reverse. These badges can be found for around $150.

This variation of the 1934 SA-SS Ski Competition Badge is also constructed of silvered bronze with enamel features and displays the same picture and information as the previous badge. It is approximately 45 X 36 mm and has a horizontal pin on the reverse. These badges can be found for around $150.

Today, German Third Reich Ski Competition Badges are not hard to obtain at militaria shows, through online militaria dealers, and online auction sites like eBay or HAB online. Depending on the overall condition, badge composition, back pin functionality, and whether maker marked or not, the pricing varies. However, collecting these types of badges remains very reasonable compared to other types of Third Reich insignia.

The average collector can spend years collecting all the different variations and types of Ski Competition Badges without breaking the budget. They are handsome badges that display nicely within any Third Reich collection. 

A 1938 German DRL (Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen/German Reich League for Physical Exercise) and Wehrmacht Ski Championship Badge for a combined event held February 5-13, 1938, in Neustadt-Feldberg, Schwarzwald, Germany. This badge is stamped alloy with enamel features. It displays a ski jumper with a Black Forrest ski jump hill in the background. The badge is approximately 37 X 25 mm with a vertical pin on the reverse. These badges sell for around $80.

A 1938 German DRL (Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen/German Reich League for Physical Exercise) and Wehrmacht Ski Championship Badge for a combined event held February 5-13, 1938, in Neustadt-Feldberg, Schwarzwald, Germany. This badge is stamped alloy with enamel features. It displays a ski jumper with a Black Forrest ski jump hill in the background. The badge is approximately 37 X 25 mm with a vertical pin on the reverse. These badges sell for around $80.

A 1936 DSV (Deutscher Ski Verein) German Ski Association Ski Championship Badge for an event held on January 14-19, 1936, in Oberstdorf, Germany. This enameled bronze badge displays the DSV flag, a regional flag, and the Oberstdorf village in the background. The badge is approximately 46 X 34 mm, made of bunt metal and has a horizontal pin on the reverse. Though scarce, these can still be found for around $150.

A 1936 DSV (Deutscher Ski Verein) German Ski Association Ski Championship Badge for an event held on January 14-19, 1936, in Oberstdorf, Germany. This enameled bronze badge displays the DSV flag, a regional flag, and the Oberstdorf village in the background. The badge is approximately 46 X 34 mm, made of bunt metal and has a horizontal pin on the reverse. Though scarce, these can still be found for around $150.

A 1937 German Ski Championship Badge for an event held February 18-22, 1937, in Rottach-Egern am Tegernsee, Germany. This badge is constructed of silvered bronze with enamel features and displays a downhill skier with the village of Rottach-Egern in the background. The badge is approximately 30 X 30 mm with a horizontal pin on the reverse. These badges are scarce costing about $100.

A 1937 German Ski Championship Badge for an event held February 18-22, 1937, in Rottach-Egern am Tegernsee, Germany. This badge is constructed of silvered bronze with enamel features and displays a downhill skier with the village of Rottach-Egern in the background. The badge is approximately 30 X 30 mm with a horizontal pin on the reverse. These badges are scarce costing about $100.

A 1940 German War Ski Championship Badge for an event held in February 1940 in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria. What is interesting about this badge is that it shows the Germans still held ski competitions a year into World War II. The badge is constructed of silvered bronze with enamel features displaying a downhill skier. The badge is approximately 40 X 25 cm with a vertical pin on the reverse. These badges retail for around $150.

A 1940 German War Ski Championship Badge for an event held in February 1940 in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria. What is interesting about this badge is that it shows the Germans still held ski competitions a year into World War II. The badge is constructed of silvered bronze with enamel features displaying a downhill skier. The badge is approximately 40 X 25 cm with a vertical pin on the reverse. These badges retail for around $150.

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