I am unable to believe you Collect that Nazi Trash! by Bob Treend.
"Those Who Forget the Past Are Condemned To Repeat It
Have to go... just learned about a vet who has a Waffen-SS helmet.
In the finalized analysis, the only good reason to collect anything is simply because it's fun!
In order to create, what he thought, was an ideal Nazi state, Hiler had to unify the German people as no socitey had ever been united before. To do this everone had to have the that they were part of something truly important, superior as well as unique. No one was to be left out. The Nazis organized Germany so that every single German above the age of nine was a member of some political, military or para-military institution. And to make everyone feel "special" each organization had it may be own distinct uniforms, insignia, badges and accoutrements. It is this proliferation of "naziana" that makes the hobby so fascinating. If you're not aquainted with Final Reich collecibles, you have no idea of the variety of items that were created during such a short time. It's simply mind boggeling!
Not only did the Nazis create a huge variety and quantity of items, but they made them as "artistically" appealing as possible. By artistic I mean that they had to appeal on your lowest common denominator. No place for a Picasso, Klee or other free spirit from the the Reich. The "official" Nazi idea of artistic was depending on Hitler's own personal taste, which inclined toward the classical nor neo-classical, with a heavy emphasis on the "heroic" Germanic background he imagined. Hence, the use of runes (ancient writing symbols like the imfamous SS lightning bolts) and simplified designs which made a bold statement and required little or no thought to grasp. And, because it was a male driven society, most of the art and symbols were designed to entice men. I'm sure that's why 99% of the Third Reich collectors I'm sure are male.
Most collectors are history buffs, whether they know it or not. And having some of the actual items from that history makes them feel as if they are closer to it. Ok, I know what occur thinking! Why would anyone want to be closer to a great horrible past? Let's face it, the Nazis did some terrible things and it's fortunate for the world that they lost the war. Even so, and this is the part that's difficult to explain, most collectors just don't think about those things when they 're collecting. (no nasty emails please). Not to belittle the horrors from the holocaust one bit, let me just say that that it happens to be another issue completely. The collectors I know don't have any holocaust or atroctiy items in their collection and don't want any. They are well aware from it, regret it, and condem it, but just don't let the site enter their collecting. That's not what the collection is facts about.
So, what is it about? For me it was necessarily the artistic side that apealed most. Although I appreciate the "fine arts", I must be one of those "lowest common denominators" as the primary goal... The stuff is really cool! If you've never seen, one example is, a high ranking officer's uniform or a statue of a spread wing eagle sitting on a swastika, you don't know what I mean. The stuff really looks neat. Another thing that appealed to me was how much I call "the treasure hunt syndrome". When I started collecting there was still many "war trophies" in the hands of veterans who "liberated" all back from Germany. Seeking out and finding these was always fun and scoreing an excellent find was a real thrill.
If you collect coins nor stamps, for example, you have to be wealthy to set up a really "unique" and meaningful collection. But when I started in such a hobby, it was possible to find one of a kind items for reasonable prices and get a collection, unlike any other, and without breaking the bank. This "wildcat" aspect of the hobby always made it more fun than stamps! Unfoutunately, those days are gone. The hobby has gotten organized and expensive.
Addititionally there is the history part that appeals to many. Some collectors only collect items from one organization or unit, like the Army, Luftwaffe or maybe the Afrika Korps, for example. I know a collector who specializes in only Kampfzeit items, which are Nazi items from before Hitler am elected chancellor. And another collector who's only interest is Panzer remedies. This fellow knows more about German tanks that the krauts which often rode them!
Also, there are the "completion freaks". These type fix using a certain category of collectibles and try to complete "sets" along with "series" of items. I've been guilty of this myself. Years ago I set the goal of getting the insignia of every rank in most of usually the major political and military organizations. From the private to the overall, I went after it all and went after it having a real dedication.
There are the obsessive-compulsive types who found the hobby and not looked back. No matter how much they have, they require more. Collecting anything seems to fill a void in a life... If they don't have something "on the line" right now, they feel desperate to find something. Sounds more like women in the mall shoe sale. When you get like this, it's time and energy to find another hobby!
Then there is the collector. He wants everything. These "general collectors", as we call them, will buy anything that has a swastika. Being a "general collector" is a never ending process and can really break a person financially, because there is literally less end. Show me a general collection of 100, 000 different Nazi items and I'll explain to you a piece that's missing...
Some collectors will say they're from the hobby for the "investment". Yeah, right! Althought Nazi items have proven to be a good investment over the years, if you want an investment buy real estate.
Like any type of collecting, accumulating Third Reich items can become an obsession. I can think of several collectors who spend almost all their disposable income on their collections. When it comes to buying something they "need" for ones collection no price is too high. Then they will change and pinch pennies on the basics of life. I know of one collector who lives in a rather shabby apartment complex in an integral part of town I would call disreputable. He has been in only one apartment for over 40 years and drives an old rust bucket your current car. Yet, in the extra bedroom of this two space dump, he has a collection of Nazi items worth in excess of one million dollars! This is, or course, an extreme case in point. And don't get the idea this type of behaviour is confined to hobby alone. Similar people exist in all areas of gathering up.
There are numerous theories about why people collect things. Regarding Thrid Reich items (mainly military and political relics) I believe it stems from a basic fascination with the Nazi era. Let's face the application, it's one of the most bizarre and interesting chapters ever sold. Just look at the History Channel or the Militray Channel, and you'll see programs about WWII just about every afternoon. People can't get enough. If the Nazis had never previously existed... no one would believe it.
If I've accomplished one thing with this informative article, I hope it was to make you aware that "Nazi collectors" are like everyone else. We all have our different reasons for collectings. If one meet one some day, try to give him the benifit belonging to the doubt when forming an opinion. I think you'll find that the majority of we're normal, nice people just like everyone else... even with our quirks. It's only our hobby, not our politics.
I'm sure that one thing that goes through people's minds is: "If they collects Third Reich items, he must 'be' a Nazi. " Unfortunate, and not true. By that logic, anyone who collects old west revolvers must want to shoot people down at high noon on Main Street. Or maybe, if they collect Samurai swords, they must go around lopping over heads of people they don't like. Ridiculous!
That, or something similar would be the reaction of most non-collectors when I tell them about these hobby. If they don't say it, they're thinking it. I will always tell. I don't mention my hobby to anyone until I have known them for some time and feel that they know me well enough to on the least try to understand.