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    Help With Name Tag on KM Reefer Jacket

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    Hello All,

    I would most appreciate it someone would look at this tag and advise what they think the name is. It is on a KM Reefer Jacket with stripes for a Kapitan Zur See (line officer). Thanks!

    Best Regards,


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    The 1944 rank list has three Stllers,

    Fregattenkapit?n Alfred Stiller

    Leutnant (Ing) G?nther Stiller

    Oberleutnant Kurt Stiller (Marinenachrichtenoffizier)

    If this was a case of a junior officer keeping the same tunic and upgrading the sleeve rank rings as he progressed through the ranks, then Alfred Stiller as Freg Kap in 1944 might just have ended the war in 1945 as a Kap zur S.

    Of course there may have been another Stiller who was KIA before this 1944 Rank List was publlished.

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    Guest Rick Research

    This was indeed Alfred Stiller.

    Born 1 November 1894, died 8 September 1981.

    Imperial German Navy 1.4.13-22.11.19.

    Recalled as an Erg?nzungs (E) officer circa 1933/34

    F?hnrich zur See 3.4.14 P8p

    Leutnant zur See ernannt 12.10.16 and confirmed without war seniority 14.10.17

    charakterisiert Oberleutnant zS aD 7.1.20

    recalled as Oberlt zS (E) and LATER (quite common) given retroactive age seniority as

    Kapit?nleutnant zS (E) 1.7.33 #14

    Korvettenkapit?n zS (E) 1.4.37 #(17 I think, I only have a xerox of 1937 and it is blurred in the fold)

    Fregattenkapt?n zS 1.4.41 #17 (the (E) designation was dropped in 1941)

    Kapit?n zur See 1.10.44 (the reprint 1944 I have shows later promotions but not seniorities inked in)

    WWI served on SMS Derfflingfer to December 1914, then as a watch officer in the VIth Torpedoboat Flotilla to November 1916, then radio officer on SMS Bayern to August 1917, and from then to end of the war, radio officer on SMS Kronprinz.

    Only award shown in the February 1918 Navy Rank List was an EK2.

    Member of the MOV/MOHeV 4555.

    In 1928 dentist in private practice in Giessen an der Lahn

    In 1931 dentist in private practice in Lyk, East Prussia

    1935-39 Adjutant at naval Kommandantur, Bremerhaven

    As Kapit?n zS aD, in 1960 living with wife Erne (n?e Braminski, born 18.2.1910) in Heidelberg, where he was a sales rep for Rhenish Brown Coal Bricquets of Mannheim. Retired by 1963. She was still alive in 1991.

    German Navy Rank Lists: 1914, 1918, 1936, 1937, 1944

    German Navy Honor Rank List 1914-18

    German Navy Birthday Book 1939

    Marine Offizier Verband/Marine Offizier Hilfe e.V. directories 1928, 1931, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1960, 1963, 1983, 1985, 1991.

    There is a WW2 equivalent of the WW1 Navy Honor Rank List, which I do not have, that will reveal all about Stiller's WW2 service...

    just be patient and somebody who has the 3 volume set will be able to provide The Rest Of The Story here.

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    Hello Rick,

    That is simply fantastic research. I am truly blown away. The tunic had no award loops, which I found curious, until I see his only listed award an EK2. I truly appreciate your hard work and everyone's assistance. It's way more than I had hoped for. Thanks again!

    All the Best,


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    Guest Rick Research

    :beer: It only looks like magic without the right library to hand.

    They often pinned ribbon bars straight in without the loops normal on army tunics. Don't know why.

    He would have had the Hindenburg Cross X and at least Wehrmacht 4 if not 12 (he might have scooted in under the wire when awards ceased in 1939 if he'd come back in '33 instead of '34), and assuming that he kept to headquarters/signals type jobs in the Second World War, certainly a KVK2X and I'd have expected an officer of his seniority riding a desk to have the KVK1X.

    If there aren't nasty holes on the lower left side, I'd suspect somebody clipped the loops OFF, though gawdknowswhy.

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    Well there are no holes, other than a few light moth nips. I would suspect you are right about the loops being clipped. Perhaps the WW2 Rank List will give further information on his awards. I also hope to locate a photo of him somehwere, if I'm lucky. Thanks again for your help.

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    Guest Rick Research

    All that the WW2 will show are his assignments. After 1932, no rank List included awards. :(

    His unit's officers in 1936 from that year's Navy Rank List:


    The seniority section with actual rank dates followed, but no longer included awards.

    His 1963 MOHeV entry:


    These came out every few years as an address directory, including an occupational section to encourage business among members, and usually included the wife with her birthdate for sending flowers etc.

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    Guest Rick Research

    The MOHeV directories after the war confirm his final rank, as does this--

    in this case, this is a commercially available reprint of the 1944 Navy Rank List in which somebody at the time added promotions into January 1945 by hand:


    Not only no awards listed, but no assignments! Still, at least the navy DID produce wartime Lists for regular officers, at least.

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    • 2 weeks later...
    Guest Rick Research

    ????Ay CARAMBA!!!! :jumping::jumping::jumping::jumping:

    Miraculous! Amazing!!! :cheers:

    I think that is a pre-WW2 photo, since he still has the circle around his "zur See" sleeve emblems of an (E) officer, though taken after his 1 April 1937 promotion to Korvettenkapit?n. EK2 1914, Hindenburg CrossX, and Wehrmacht 4 Years Service Medal at that point--

    award loops must definitely have been snipped off the tunic, with his WW2 service wahat it was. Probably wore an EK2 Spange from the top buttonhole.

    To think that I have lived (so far) from the days of sending colored pencil drawings of unknown ribbons to a WW1 Australian naval officer to identify... by letter

    to THIS. :D

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    Well guys I am blown away. I never imagined that there was this much information available on Kapitan Zur See Stiller, and even a photo of him. I have allot to learn with my research endeavors. Everyone's help is truly most appreciated. Now comes my translation efforts as my German is very limited. You guys are the best! :beer:

    Thanks again,


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    Hello Rick, I have a doubt about this, why the Marineofficerkleiderkasse tag is dated in 1934/8 as a Oberlt.z.See, if this man had the rank of kapit?nleutnant since 1933/7. This is not the tipical upgrading tunic with a tag of a lower rank.



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    Guest Rick Research

    Ah, but you see that is quite normal "equalization" of German seniority. Seniority had nothing to do with actual TIME of service:

    an officer cadet in Imperial days was very often commissioned as a Leutnant with seniority BEFORE the date he actually enlisted, as a privilege of holding an Abitur. That gave him an "edge" forever afterwards on promotions.

    And the same situation applied with the "elderly" Erg?nzungsoffiziere in the 1930s. Many had only been Leutnants in the First World War, but after the very briefest of service were made Hauptmann or Kapit?nleutnant because of their age and "life experience" as personnel managers would say these days.

    I have seen examples where an (E) officer who returned to the military as late as 1937 was given a retroactive seniority of 1933 in his rank.

    This would have been precisely such a case. I'd be surprised if Stiller was an Oberleutnant for more than 3 months or so from when this was tailored in August 1934. When he was recalled to the navy and had his uniform made, that is the rank he held. But he would NEXT have been promoted with a seniority PRIOR to when he actually returned to Wehrmacht service.

    It sounds weird, but that is the only way they could advance officers in their 40s to have ANY hope of "averaging out" with younger officers.

    Exactly the same playing around with seniority occurred during the Second World War, when recipients of German Crosses and Knight's Crosses received retroactive seniorities as part of their reward for such high decorations. Here is just one recent example of Generals with "floating" seniority dates:


    Being "vorpatentiert" was a quite normal part of German officer promotion policy.

    :beer: Rick

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    Guest Rick Research

    Yes indeed. :beer:

    As an extreme example, Detlev Niemann recently sold a promotion Patent to a Reichsheer ordnance Hauptmann

    from 1929

    giving the old ex-noncomissioned officer seniority in that brand new rank

    back to 1917.

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