Not many posts recently, because I've been in Japan for the holidays, admiring Shinto shrines, being harangued by right-wing soundtrucks, ogling Harajuku cuties, and all the rest.
Browsing the bookstalls in Jimbocho, the used-book district of Tokyo, I came across a book which brought back fond memories. Good old Col. Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) John R. Angolia was a friend of the family, and used to take me to World War II war movies. Problem was, he knew so much about Nazi insignia that every couple of minutes, he would bust out and say something like 'What kind of moron directed this piece of crap? That cadet's sleeveband reads SS Schule Braunschweig in Sütterlin script. This movie is supposed to take place in 1941! Any fool knows that from 1936 onwards, Sütterlin script was reserved exclusively for the insignia of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler!' Sometimes he began clawing at the screen, and they had to drag him out of the theater.
Fortunately Old Leatherballs, as they used to call him in the army, found a productive outlet for his disturbingly profound knowledge of Nazi insignia:
From now on, I'll never be embarrassed at dinner parties by insisting that all the sleevebands for the Heinwehr Danzig bore SS runes, when every rube knows that some of them did not. Imagine my humiliation when my host's 11-year-old son Hartmut had to correct me on that point, and then asked rhetorically: 'Daddy, why is the fat American lying?'
Below are are just a few of the 475 magical pages of this book:
As for Old Leatherballs, he went on to write Leather Insignia of the SS, Metal Insignia of the SS, and his famous memoirs, My Golden Hours Among the SS Insignia. How I miss him and his delightful stories of SS insignia. Rest in peace, Leatherballs.