GERMAN REICH -PICKELHAUBE – NCO’S – BEAMTE – ELAß LOTHRINGEN (ALSACE LORAINE).
This is a consignment item. It is a very unusual pickelhaube for a Beamte (Civilian Administration Official) from the province of Elass (Elaß) Lothringen (Alsace Loraine). The area was traded back and forth between France and Germany for MANY years. Its population spoke both French and German. The first exchange was in 1871 at the Franco-Prussian War’s end. It was returned to France when WW I ended. Nazi Germany seized it again at the beginning of WW II, until its final return to France after the ward ended in 1945.
The thing that one must remember at the outset is that the helmet represented the Deutsches Reich, NOT the Kingdom of Prussia where Elass Lothringen was located. This is the key to several of the differences between it and a military spiked helmet. [PLEASE NOTE: Pickelhauben were not exclusively limited to the Imperial German Army. They were also worn by many different government representatives, such as train officials, mining officials, department heads, and etc. The term “Beamte” was used for both military AND civilian administration officials].
This helmet was privately-purchased for an NCO. He was a civil official serving in the province of Elass Lothringen/Alsace Lorraine. Again, he was serving the Deutsches Reich, NOT the state of Prussia wherein Elass Lothringen/Alsace Lorraine was located. We know this due to several key helmet parts as outlined below.
1. The wappen features a Deutsches Reich Eagle instead of Prussia’s.
2. The spike (which is NOT detachable) is fluted and onion-shaped, unlike a traditional military spike.
3. The use of a single Deutsches Reich’s kokarde on the helmet’s RIGHT side, even though this helmet dates AFTER 1897 when dual State and Reich’s kokarden were implemented.
It is important to note the Deutsches Reich connection since headdresses for the Imperial German Army’s overseas units employed similar wappens as well as a single kokarde. The logic for this being a Deutsches Reich pickelhaube follows the reasoning listed next. After Germany acquired Alsace Loraine in 1871, it was considered a colony. Therefore, its headdress was patterned after the type employed in a colony rather than that of any Imperial German State. Citizens of Alsace Lorraine were treated differently from the rest of the regular German population. [Indeed, THEY were often confused as to whether they were German or French]. In effect, then, the province’s officials reported directly to their “home office” in Berlin.
As the helmet was privately-purchased, the leather body’s superior quality is quite evident. All of the helmet’s furniture is brass. Its wappen is very impressive. It sports an NCO’s Deutsches Reich’s kokarde. The exterior’s only NON-officers-level features are the four lugs on the spike’s base instead of officers’ stars, which is how this helmet meets an NCO’s requirements.
The interior reveals a standard enlisted men/NCO’s liner. It does NOT feature silk, as would an Offizier’s style liner. The liner is made of fifteen leather tongues that feature a sizing thong for adjusting it to fit the wearer’s head. All of the original hardware is present. Most important, no double holes appear where the wappen attaches to the helmet’s leather body.
The helmet’s overall condition is excellent. It provides an impressive presentation. We have never before offered a similar pickelhaube. It will make a fine addition to any collection.