BACKGROUND: In early 1941 under heavy pressure by the Germans, Yugoslavia joined the axis powers. Many Yugoslavian Serbian military personnel however disagreed with this arrangement and launched an unsuccessful overthrow which was crushed by the Germans, and resulted in the formation of the Independent State of Croatia, including the province of Bosnia-Herzegovina. As the tides of war changed for Germany it was decided to recruit a division of Bosnian Muslims in February 1943, which eventually evolved into the 13.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS "Handschar" (kroat. Nr.1), and was primarily manned from Muslims from the Bosnia-Herzegovina region of Croatia, with a cadre of German personnel from the 7. SS-Freiwillingen-Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen". The fez, a traditional piece of Muslim headgear, dating back to Bosnian regiments in the Hapsburg Empire, was authorized for wear by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler for all ethnic divisional personnel. Of Note: The short lived 23.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS "Kama" (kroatische Nr.2), was also authorized wear of the fez. The fez was issued in a field-grey version for wear with the service uniform and a maroon version for wear with the dress uniform. The insignia utilized on the fez consisted of the standard SS headgear skull as introduced on October 6TH 1934 and the SS pattern national eagle as introduced in February 1936. Of Note: Due to the racial makeup of the divisional personnel Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler forbade wear of the SS runes on the collar insignia and it was decided that another suitable symbol be utilized and the distinctive collar insignia for divisional personnel was introduced on April 30TH 1943. It is believed that SS-Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger came up with the design of the collar tab and the name "Handschar". The "Handschar" refers to the scimitar featured on the collar tab and is meant to represent the blade carried by Turkish police in the Balkan region for centuries and was also featured on the Bosnian coat-of-arms during the reign of the Hapsburg Empire.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nice quality, formed, field-grey, rabbit fur felt, construction service uniform fez. The fez features a two piece tassel to the top center of the crown. The tassel has a short piece of field-grey felt inserted and stitched into the center of the crown with the correct, dark green, multi-strand, silk type material tassel sewn to the top. The front center of the fez features a machine woven, second pattern, (Circa 1936-1945), SS eagle with out-stretched wings, clutching a wreathed, canted, swastika in it’s talons in silvery/grey, rayon threads mounted on a cut-out, woven, black, rayon base positioned above a separate, machine woven, 1934 pattern, skull and cross bones, (Totenkopf), in silvery/grey, rayon threads with black accent threads, also mounted on a cut-out, woven, black, rayon base. The skull features a bottom jaw, dual rows of teeth and nice eye, nose and cranium detailing. Both pieces of insignia are machine stitched to the cap. Sweatband is complete. The fez is roughly size, 55-56. Textbook original, untouched Fez.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $2,100.00

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