Identification of German military engraving on Leica III

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by l._david_tomei|1, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Although I do not collect Nazi stuff, a Leica III arrived with engravings indicating that it had been owned by someone in the NSDAP. The serial number dates to 1937, whereas the Elmar lens dates from 1939. It is an authentic Leica III (although I'm not beyond being fooled, I have other Leicas of the era). My question is not whether the camera is genuine, but rather do the engravings date from WWII and how can I perhaps find out the meaning of the engraving on the bottom plate. Thanks for any help.
  2. The inscription hints at the Sturmabteilung (SA) of Hitler's Nazi party (NSDAP). Has nothing directly to do with WWII. I don't know about the meaning of the second row though. I would throw the bottom plate away and replace it with an unmarked one.

  3. Thanks. I know that the Sturm is the military unit, analogous to a Division. Unfortunate4ly, I can't just replace it because it has the engraving on the top housing. However, the engraving on the top is very high quality.
    Also, the NSDAP was a political organization but incorporated into the military by 1939. But Leica would certainly never acknowledge that the top engraving may have been original. However, the bottom engraving may be personal and could be traced in some way.
  4. SA, transalted as "Storm Division", stormtroops or stormtroopers
  5. You might try Jim Lager c/o the Leica Historical Society of America. If you email him pictures of the whole camera, including top and bottom plates, SN, front and back, he might be able to tell you whether the engraving is genuine and to whom the camera was originally delivered (he has those records from Leitz available). Lager has made a study of WWII era military Leica cameras. Good luck
  6. Eliot,
    Thank you for the suggestion. I will do so.
  7. The SA was a party organization, can't find a good translation at the moment. Basicaly it was a gang of people organized to beat up the opposition like in opposing streetgangs today.

    The SS another party organization which was orginialy formed to provide security guards at the NSDAP meetings.

    find more at Wikipedia here.
  8. The SA was a paramilitary organization with a history of horrendous acts. The Night of the Long Knives took place in 1937 when the head was murdered. The NSDAP, or Nazi for short, incorporated the SA into the military to provide more control over its members. If this camera was engraved during that period, it has historical value. If it was engraved later by others, then it has no value whatsoever. I would like to answer this question if at all possible.
  9. One wonders if the chaps in the Ukraine at a pub are pondering making America military engravings on Kodak 35's, marked as being owned by McHale's Navy?; ie PT-73
  10. Great... I suppose now I should skip my question about my new Kodak 35 with the PT-73 engraving.... ;)
  11. not so much PT-73 but maybe PT-109 might make some double take
  12. A Google search for 'NSDAP' & 'Leica' finds an old cached Ebay Sweden auction with a (suspiciously?) similar engraving (unfortunately the photos weren't cached, just the text):

    "The camera offered for sale: Leica III Nr.199524 D.R.P. Ernst Leitz Wetzlar with lens Summar f=5cm 1:2 No.268697 Ernst Leitz Wetzlar it has been seized as a trophy in 1942 during military actions on Caucasus in the Second World war.
    Under the certificate of the former mistress of this camera of Elena Pavlovny Syominoj, her grandfather has found this camera in undermined on an anti-tank mine and a burning German armored troop-carrier (look last photo: traces of burning on a case of a camera).
    Offered Leica III Nr.194254 has additional engravings: in a corner covers SA atop of known nazi symbolics and � SA der NSDAP Sturm 6/GJ11 � on the bottom . This camera has been showed for examination in a polytechnical museum of Moscow.
    100 % authenticity of the camera is certified by the authoritative expert in opinion of whom the camera belonged to one of fighters of 6-th brigade Alpine mountain Shot mans division Edelweiss ."
  13. Yes, I saw that ebay auction record but without the images. I had forgotten. It would appear to be similar by description. It would be nice if it is worth that much as well, but who knows. I'll try to email the seller and buyer to see if anyone has more info. Certainly, the story behind the ebay camera sounds a bit too detailed but, again, who knows? ...I would prefer to find some tangible evidence that the engraving was not done post WWII by some Nazi fan.
  14. The original literature by Ernst Leitz which accompanied my father's 1936 Leica IIIa had a glowing testimonial to how effective the close-up lenses were for reproducing fingerprints! There is a ring which tightens onto the Elmar lens, and into which little extendable legs screw, for closeup/macro photography. However there are no nazi era markings on the camera itself.

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