Quick question for anyone knows about historic WWII Nazi artefacts. These patches were found in my grandfather's basement after he died. He served in WWII in Germany. Are these actual Nazi patches or just some crazy biker's patches?

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    Crazy biker's patch seems likely. – KillingTime Jun 28 '17 at 19:47
  • I'll cheerfully admit I'm not an expert on Nazi regalia but that patch doesn't look 70 years old to me. – Steve Bird Jun 28 '17 at 20:47
  • that's what I thought... its old.. but doesn't seem that old! – Frank Jones Jun 28 '17 at 21:44
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    Right click on the image, do search google for image, it leads to Harley Davidson shops. – justCal Jun 28 '17 at 21:51

That seems to be a Harley Davidson biker's patch from a few decades ago, on sale as a collectable here. The Third Reich use of the Totenkopf symbol had a quite different design.


Addressing the "Nazi" part, that patch combines two symbols which predate the Nazis by decades. The Iron Cross and Totenkompf (death's head) were Prussian symbols. When Germany became unified, they adopted many Prussian symbols because the Prussians were dominant in the new country. When the Nazis took power, they adopted Prussian symbols such as the Iron Cross, the Totenkompf, Goose-Stepping, and so on for a boost in credibility.

Here is Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen showing off his Best Hat Evar. This photo was taken in 1914 just prior to WWI. He's in his full Hussar dress. Note the Death's Head and Iron Cross.

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So, no, having a patch with an Iron Cross and Death's Head on it doesn't make him a Nazi...

...in his time. One must also consider the time he probably bought it. While we've become much more sensitive to anything remotely associated with the Nazis in the last two decades or so, the Iron Cross or Death's Head wouldn't have gotten that kind of reaction then. It would be seen more as a symbol of strength associated with bikers.

Alternatively, it would have been considered captured war loot that the US was awash in post-WWII. Though that patch is probably just some biker patch.

Wear it today at your own risk.

Recall that in your grandpa's day we would have been watching a TV show about the wacky hijinks in a Nazi POW camp! Post-WWII attitude towards Nazis was more about a defeated enemy to be ridiculed than an association with white power to be feared (also it was the 60s so white power was the status quo).

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