This is a very interesting documentsgrouping of SS-Oberfunker Hans Benzler of 1./SS-Pz.Nachr.Abtlg. SS-TV (2./SS.Pz.Nachtr.Abt.3).
It consists of his Panzerkampfabzeichen in Silber and Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz citations, as well as many other documents, particularly about his family and personal past in Brazil.
The whole group deserves a good research. Finding SS-Totenkopf documentsgroups is quite rare.
A little background:
In February, 1943, the Division was transferred to the East as a part of Army Group South. It was then that the Division took part in the massive German counter offensives to stop the Russian Winter offensive that had already destroyed the German 6th Army at Stalingrad. The Division took part in the 2nd Battle for Kharkov, and helped stop the Soviet offensive in the south. It was during this time that the Divisions commander, Eicke, was killed in action. From Kharkov, the Division was sent into the massive battles for the Kursk Salient, fighting in some of the most bloody and fierce combat of the war and the largest tank battle in all of History. The operation soon came to a halt, and the Kursk offensive was called off. the 3rd SS Division was pulled out along with the other German units, but stayed on conducting defensive operations, helping to restore the German front once again after another Soviet offensive was launched after the battle for Kursk failed. The Division stayed on defensive operation in the south and central sector of the German front for nearly a year, and during this time, in October, 1943, the Division was reformed and renamed as a Panzer Division.
The group can be split in two parts that of course compliment eachother:
A – Military/WWII Documents:
-1 Panzerkampfabzeichen in Silber urkunde
-2 Verwundetenabzeichen in Schwarz Urkunde
-3 Grundschein Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gemeinschaft.EV. showing Benzler in Hitleryouth (HJ) uniform
-4 DRL citationbooklet + cloth emblem
-5 Facharbeiterbrief in blue linnen bound, proving Benzler was a “Werkzeugmacher” (Tool maker).
-6 A 1944 dated written postcard regarding his ancestry.
B – Civilian documents:
-1 Ahnenpass in mint condition (Ancestrypass), very full filled in.
-2 “Unsere Familie” (Our Family), a book on the Benzler family and history.
-3 + 4 + 5 Brazilian Candelara schoolreports from 1938 + card + schoolbooklet/report
-6 A 1939 dated letter about Benzler about his development in Brazil as a German boy and about how he was expected to fit in German society.
-7 A postwar 1948 dated English letter of recommendation that states that Benzler is a first class mechanic.
-8 A postwar vaccination document.
The group contains a number of documents related to genealogy research. Common knowledge tells that it was important for SS men to prove their ancenstry, and it seems like Benzler was very active with proving his past. The group contains his Ahnenpass (ancestrypass), that goes all the way back into the 1700’s, as wel as a written letter from 1944 that clearly shows he was doing research into his past. There is also a family booklet with the family history. Benzler appears to have been in the late 1930’s in Brazil, as can be seen from the reports, especially a typed report about his development in Brazil. His father was a doctor (“Arzt in die Kolonialzone”) in the colonies, which explains why he stayed there. However, the family historybook shows that he probably came from “old money”, as such luxuary family booklets are not common found.
Benzler survived the war, and there are two postwar documents included as well.