SS Logo

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SS Logo
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SS is an abbreviation of the German word Schutzstaffeln, which translates to “guard squads.” It designated the main military structure of Nazi Germany during World War II under the reign of Adolf Hitler. It was created with his support, as well as with the assistance of the Nazi Party. Now this organization does not exist. The time of its existence fell on 1933-1946, and after the defeat, it was eliminated, like the corresponding symbolism.

Meaning and History

Schutzstaffel Logo

The beginning of this military structure was laid by a security and assault unit called Saal-Schutz, which monitored the security of party meetings held in Munich. It was a small formation made up of party volunteers from the NSDAP. In 1925, the detachment was led by Heinrich Himmler. He turned it into a paramilitary organization during the Weimar Republic. From the moment it came to the leadership of the Nazi Party until its collapse, the SS was considered key surveillance and terrorist group in all occupied corners of Europe.

The two base agencies of this structure were the Waffen-SS (Armed SS) and Allgemeine SS (General SS). The former included Nazi Germany’s fighting squads, while the latter controlled its racial politics. The scheme also included SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV or Death’s Head Units), which oversaw the concentration camps. There were also additional divisions – Sicherheitsdienst and Gestapo. They were engaged in identifying real and potential enemies of the Nazis, suppressed the opposition, watched over their people, provided support for Nazi ideology, conducted external and internal intelligence, as well as punitive operations. The entire enemy structure was personally subordinate to Adolf Hitler.

SS Symbol

The organization developed gradually, starting at the end of 1934 when its strengthening intensified. By the spring of 1945, the number of the composition had reached 830,000 people. In general, the SS was the main organizer of the terror and killing of people for political and racial reasons. She carried out criminal activities not only in Germany but also in the conquered territories. The service representatives were instantly recognizable by the chevron on the sleeve, which was shaped like a double zig rune. After World War II, all criminals associated with bloody crimes were brought before the tribunal, and the organization itself was liquidated and banned. Any of its attributes are also prohibited.

The group chose a special typographic ligature for their designation. It consisted of the letters of the runic alphabet – both historical and modern, published under the guidance of the occultist Guido von List in 1908. For this structure, the Sowulo rune was mainly used – the sixteenth in the older futhark, which in pronunciation coincided with the sound “s” and resembled this letter in outline.

The Nazis called this symbol “zig” because “von List” associated it with the Siegel sign, the Anglo-Saxon rune. The reason for this statement is that in German, the word Sieg means “victory.” Therefore, there is an opinion that this is its original name, but this fact is unreliable. The rune, which became the sign of SS, is rooted in the Etruscan-Old Italian alphabet. It is from him that the Latin “S” comes from. And the ancient Italian analog of Sowulo refers to the Greek Σ or the Phoenician “shin.”

Font and Colors of the Emblem

SS Emblem

The double Sowulo is not an inscription and therefore does not resemble any typeface. Rather, it is a graphic image in the form of two zigzags. Usually, the ligature is white and is placed on a black background. It was in this color version that it was used on the uniform of the Nazis.