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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Gordon Craig

West Berlin Polizei

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Gentlemen,

I've been going to do this for some time but building a sewing room for my wife has kept me occupied!

West Berlin was not considered part of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Historically, because of its population, it often had the powers equal to that of the individual Lander (state). Since it was not part of the BRD and was as big as some Lander it had similar police forces to a Lander. My first posts will be that of a Schako as worn by the Schutzpolizei. The schako badge features the well know Berlin bear in the Berlin city crest in the centre of a German polizei star. It is virtually identical to the Schako's worn during the TR period but without the felt covering.

Regards,

Gordon

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Well done, Gordon - I shall look forward to your further posts. I used to have a similar Berlin Shako and assumed it was 1920's/30's. Would that be your dating for this piece ?

Now, how do we encourage other members to show some of their Police items ?

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Very nice shako, Gordon! :jumping:

I lived in West Berlin with my brother, who was stationed there by the US Army, from August 1964 to August 1965. I went to the annual Berlin Police Show, held in the Olympic Stadium. After it got dark a certain point was reached in the ceremonies where the crowd would light candles, large fires were burning at each end of the stadium, and as the police band played appropriate march music hundreds of Schutzpolizei would march into the stadium carrying torches. It was very, very electrifying. You'd almost have thought you were there around 1939! :whistle:

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Well done, Gordon - I shall look forward to your further posts. I used to have a similar Berlin Shako and assumed it was 1920's/30's. Would that be your dating for this piece ?

Now, how do we encourage other members to show some of their Police items ?

Mervyn,

The cap badge on this schako came into used in 1955. There was a similar cap badge used before that date but the crown of the City of Berlin crest was a different shape. I don't have my notes in front of me but I think this kind of head gear was discontinued in the late 80s early 90s. I'll try to confirm that from my reference material at some point. I would suspect the schako was made around this time (late 50s) but since they are not dated it is not possible to be really specific.

Regards,

Gordon

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The next cap up is for a Berlin Traffic police officer. The white tops are plastic and on these early hats the tops do not deteriorate as badly on some other plastic toped caps. The cap insignia was approved for issue on 1.5.1963. The cap was manufactured by Carl Halfar, one of the smaller cap makers of the Third Reich. Many Third Reich cap makers continued to make caps into the Bundesrepublik years. The most famous of these is Erel. This has had the effect of making authentic early BRD caps rarer than Third Reich era caps as many were converted into Third Reich caps by changing the insignia. Something else to note is the very large screened air vents in the underside of the caps. Caps that have been converted to Third Reich era cps can ofte be identified because they have ait vent holes on the sides of the caps.

Regards,

Gordon

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A closer view of the arm badge. This is the enlisted man's badge embroidered in silver coloured thread.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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At midnight on October 2nd, 1990, the DDR ceased to exist and a united Germany cmae into existance once again. The end of the DDR did not mean the end of the requirement for policing in East Germany or East Berlin. There was obviously not enough West German police officers to take over police duties in East Germany so the Volkespolizei (VOPO)remained in this role. There was also no where near enough West German police uniforms to allow for the issuing of uniforms to the VOPO. To solve this problem, at least in some instances, National Volkesarmee camouflage uniforms were issued to VOPO members. Specific things were done to indicate that those who wore these uniforms were police officers. The first picture shows the uniform tunic from the front. The rank shoown is for that of the Berlin Schutzpolizei for this period.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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The back of the tunic. POLIZEI in large white letters was printed across the back of the tunic. I am not sure what process was used to add POLIZEI to the tunic. It looks like paint from a distance but is actually imprinted right into the fabric of the tunic and does not crack etc. when folded.

I should also add that the jacket pictured is the last style NVA camouflage type produced. Only limited distribution of these uniforms took place and there were many in storage and available for issue to the ex VOPO officers. I do not know how long these uniforms remained in service. There was a lengthy period following October of 1990 when ex VOPO officers were trained in West German policing methods and new uniforms issued. In many instances West German policemen were put in charge of the ex VOPO detachments. No doubt things were tense in the police services located in the former former East German areas for some time.

Edited by Gordon Craig

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Gentlemen,

Time to add some uniforms. The first one is for the Schutzploizei (the cop on the beat)Berlin.

Gordon,

You probably know a lot more abou this than I do, but are you sure about the "cop on the beat" label? I lived in Berlin from August 1964 to August 1965 and the cop on the beat did not wear a shako, they wore a regular visored cap in the same grey color as their uniform, or in white for the traffic cops. The only polizei I ever saw wearning the shako were the Bereitschaftspolizei, who also still wore the breeches and riding boots. They looked like something out of the 1940's. As it was explained to me by my brother, who was stationed there at the time with the US Army, West Germany was forbidden to maintain any Bundeswehr troops or Federal Border Guards in Berlin, so the Bereitschaftspolizei performed these functions and were actually more of a military unit and had military type weapons and light armored vehicles. My brother was in a US Army infantry company and they had a "sister" Bereitschaftspolizei company that they partnered up with and often trained together.

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Gordon - very interesting. I take it that the uniform with the helmet, was West German. The uniform is not dis-similar to the new Met. - they dropped a built-in belt. However, I think they still have 4 pockets - Leigh will be able to put us right. Without the lovely Shako, the uniform looks quite ordinary - and you say it is now dis-continued - what a pity. The UK is doing the same with our helmets - it seems to me they want to destroy all tradition and reduce everyone to the lowest level. The tragedy is that no-one ever seems to complain or, make a fuss.

I may be a little paranoid, but I feel that it is a 'communist plot' - read left wing universitys - to reduce and take away our traditions - what is left, is the same drab, grey uniformity.

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Gordon,

You probably know a lot more abou this than I do, but are you sure about the "cop on the beat" label? I lived in Berlin from August 1964 to August 1965 and the cop on the beat did not wear a shako, they wore a regular visored cap in the same grey color as their uniform, or in white for the traffic cops. The only polizei I ever saw wearning the shako were the Bereitschaftspolizei, who also still wore the breeches and riding boots. They looked like something out of the 1940's. As it was explained to me by my brother, who was stationed there at the time with the US Army, West Germany was forbidden to maintain any Bundeswehr troops or Federal Border Guards in Berlin, so the Bereitschaftspolizei performed these functions and were actually more of a military unit and had military type weapons and light armored vehicles. My brother was in a US Army infantry company and they had a "sister" Bereitschaftspolizei company that they partnered up with and often trained together.

Mike,

Thanks for your comments. Since you lived in Berlin and saw these tunics in wear you could be correct. I will have to check on this for sure. Available information on Bepo and Schupo in Berlin is virtually non existant. Pictures I have seen of uniformed officers wearing these schakos indicate that they have the same arm badge as I posted pictures of. Pictures can be misleading though. I'll certainly change this info if I have made a mistake. I wouldn't want to mislead anyone. Especially myself!

Regards,

Gordon

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Mike,

Thanks for your comments. Since you lived in Berlin and saw these tunics in wear you could be correct. I will have to check on this for sure. Available information on Bepo and Schupo in Berlin is virtually non existant. Pictures I have seen of uniformed officers wearing these schakos indicate that they have the same arm badge as I posted pictures of. Pictures can be misleading though. I'll certainly change this info if I have made a mistake. I wouldn't want to mislead anyone. Especially myself!

Regards,

Gordon

Gordon,

I want to stress I could be mistaken, I was only 14 at the time, but I was fascinated (and still am) by military and police uniforms and I always paid attention to Berlin Polizei whenever I saw them. As I said, all of the regular Polizei I ever saw standing around or riding in patrol cars wore either a gray cap the same color as their uniform or the white traffic cap.

I believe I mentioned elsewhere on the forum some time ago, I attended the Berlin police show, which was a huge event. It was held in the old Olympic Stadium. The climax was when the lights were turned out, a huge fire burned in the Olympic flame bowl and at the other end of the stadium. Everyone lit up candles that vendors sold before the show began. The police band played great German march music, and a few thousand Bepos marched in wearing shakos and boots, carrying torches. It was extremely electrifying, and very 1930's like.

I did have one personal encounter with the Berlin Polizei. A friend of mine and I went walking in the Grunewald and got lost. We found our way to the Autobahn and decided if we walked down the Autobahn we'd find our way home. We didn't get far when two motorcycle Polizei pulled up to us. They were sharply dressed in light gray leather jackets and riding breeches. I distincly remember they were riding BMW motorcycles. Needless to say, at 14, I was very nervous. The Polizei closest to us said, "Americans?" (The other fellow never spoke.) I said, "Yes," and my friend, in what I thought was a smart-assed thing to do, said, "Ja." The officer then explained, in very good English, it was forbidden to walk on the Autobahn and gave us general directions on how to get home through the woods. We, obviously, made it back safely.

I don't mean to hijack your thread, but if I could share one more story. My brother was an infantry lieutenant then, and as I mentioned they had a Bepo sister company they trained with. I remember a story he told me concerning a social event he attended. The officers were invited to a formal dinner with the Bepo officers of their sister company. Afterwards they were in the Bepo company commander's office and my brother was admiring two photographs hanging on the commander's wall. Both showed shako-wearing Polizei marching in the Olympic Stadium. One had Third Reich flags flying, the other had Bundesrepublik flags flying. The commander noticed my brother looking at the photos and came over to him. He said to my brother, "You like my photos?" and when my brother replied, "Yes," the commander pointed to an individual in both photos and said, "That's me!"

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Mike,

You aren't hijacking my thread. Any comments from someone who lived in Berlin at any time and was interested in what uniform was worn by whom while they were there are very welcome. I know that schakos were worn in many states after the end of WWII. At first just modified Third Reich schakos and then newly manufactured ones in the style of the Prussian ones. It is generally agreed among collectors of German polizei items that these post war schakos were worn by the Schupo but there is no reason to think that only Schupo wore them. Since your earlier comment, which by the way has proved very useful, I've done some more research and I think that you may be correct about the Bepo wearing the schako in West Berlin. A collector friend has sent me a url to a picture which reportedly shows Berlin Bepo wearing schakos and carrying garand rifles! The picture is on a site devoted to a U.S. army M.P. company during the time it was stationed in Germany hence it didn't show up in my earlier research for Berlin Bepo. The picture is protected by copy right so I can not post it here. Another polizei collector friend has sent me a picture of a Berlin Bepo arm badge which I have posted below. It is interesting to note the different colours used in the Berlin city crest on each badge. As more information rolls in I'll amend this thread as required.

Regards,

Gordon

Edited by Gordon Craig

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Gentlemen,

Time to add some uniforms. The first one is for the Schutzploizei (the cop on the beat)Berlin.

Hello!

Very nice Uniform,thanks for sharing. :cheers:

All the best

Nesredep.

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Hi Gordon.

I had nothing to do this afternoon and was checking through the various posts regarding police, I came across this one and would like to add a few comments which I hope you will find useful.

Your uniform with schako was used until 1978. The Schako was ONLY used for ceremonial purposes in the 1970's, however it was previously used as a working hat when first issued in 1952 to SCHUPO and was used by the BEPO as a piece of Riot equipment in the 1960's before the issue of a proper Riot Helmet. Two schako plates have been used between 1952 and 1978, as you indicate in your post, your schako has the second issue which was worn up to the end.

Your VOPO camo uniform is as you say converted for use after the fall of the Berlin Wall , but not in the way you mention, it has had West German rank eppaulets and the Berlin shoulder patch added to replace the original VolksPolizei Bereitschaft ranks and patch. The VOPO were already using these camo uniforms with the word POLIZEI on the back prior to 1990. Also the VOPO were issued with West German rank eppaulets equivilant to there previous ranks very shortly after the fall of the wall, they were added to the VOPO uniforms as there were not enough west german uniforms to go around, additionally the centre of cap badges were converted by replacing the state arms of East Germany with roundels in German colours from West German caps.

Now a few words about arm patches, the SchutzPolizei Berlin had patches in four background colours as follows;

1. Dark Grey for Normal Duty Uniforms

2. Khaki (olive Green) for Utility Uniforms ( search and rescue, civil disturbance, etc)

3. White for Traffic Duty Uniforms ( fixed traffic points, motorcyclists and traffic patrol )

4. Dark Blue for Marine Duty Uniforms ( River and Lake patrols)

Colours for 1 and 2 can be found with lettering for SchutzPolizei and BereitschaftPolizei, 3 with Schutzpolizei and 4 WasserSchutzPolizei.

The Bereitschaft Polizei patch you show is the pattern issued in 1952 with the earlier form of star centre.

Well that should keep you going for awhile, I'll see what else I can add which may be helpful.

Best Regards,

Les

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