This is a very special tunic that comes with plenty of documentation, to include a portfolio compiled by Ross J. Kelbaugh of Historic Graphics and Research Service. Other provenance is its inclusion in the highly regarded series of books written by the late Michael D. Beaver, specifically Volume Two of Uniforms of the Waffen-SS (on pages 602 and 603). It belonged to SS Hauptsturmführer Heinz Thorner, a family friend of Joachim von Ribbentrop. His personal attachment to Ribbentrop started when he was a “Fahlenlein-Führer” in the Hitler Youth, being the “lucky” superior to Rudolph Joachim, von Ribbentrop’s son. It is said that Thorner was invited to the von Ribbentrop home where Rudi’s mother explained that her boy’s health was somewhat precarious and suggested that he (Thorner) take special consideration of his condition. Of course, Thorner gladly promised to do everything in his power, and kept his word. This special attention did not go unnoticed by Rudi’s father, who was very much pleased. When Thorner inquired about the possibilities of a good job, he was immediately placed in the “Buero Ribbentrop” which at that time had approximately 200 assistants. During this time his ties only grew stronger to the family, so much so that von Ribbentrop ordered that Thorner always be at his personal disposal. When von Ribbentrop was appointed as an Ambassador to London in 1936, Thorner was appointed an Attaché to the German Embassy at Carlton House Terrace. He would have returned with the family to Berlin once Ribbentrop was appointed Foreign Minister, but unfortunately (for Thorner) a search into his family tree uncovered that he was not sufficiently Aryan, as his grandmother was “damaged”. Even after this discovery, Thorner was still given special treatment by Ribbentrop, who saw to it that he was sent as an Attaché to the Consulate General in New York City. Here he attended to passport matters and similar clerical work. Without passing any examinations, he was then (in 1940) appointed Vice Consul, much to the great dissatisfaction of other Officials, many of whom had been ignored, despite regular studies and examinations. Thorner frequently bragged about his association with von Ribbentrop and often hinted that his future was safeguarded due to this. He was told by the family that they believed that he was the only one that could keep young Rudi on the right path. What is well known (but not why) is that he was on Himmler’s bad side. One possibility is that he once left behind an attaché case at an airport that contained an important document meant to be delivered to Hitler (whoops!). This grouping includes many photocopies of photos of Thorner with von Ribbentrop, as well as excerpts from the book entitled This Man Ribbentrop, by Dr. Paul Schwarz speaking in detail of their association. Asserting his influence yet again, he was able to secure a prime posting to Stockholm, Sweden. His daughter Gloria was born there in 1944. During this tenure, he was involved in several negotiations to secure releases and safe passage for a number of Jewish families. After the war, he made his permanent home in Stockholm and lived until 1983. In 1967, his daughter married a famous Norwegian gymnast named Age Storhaug (thank you to Aaran S. for this information!). With all of this being said, let’s move along to the item! Believe it or not, he actually had two exquisitely tailored uniforms of the same cut, this one and another that was white with black lapels. It truly is a custom-made evening dress uniform, with a few alterations to the standard design made to suit the personal tastes of the owner, which will be covered here in detail. First of all, the uniform is produced in an extremely high-quality black wool that remains very clean and virtually wear-free. There are no pockets on the exterior. The first of the custom touches is that the front of the tunic has four buttons, two on each side. The standard design included six buttons, three on each side. Next, there are “civilian-like” split cuffs with three buttons each, whereas a standard design more often than not had a turn-back cuff. Also seen are lapels finished with a silvery-grey silk. These have moderate discoloration and have been (rather hastily) repaired where they have separated from the lapels in a few spots. These repairs were necessary to prevent any further damage. The collar is produced in a top-quality black velvet and is piped on the front and lower edges with a silver bullion twist cord. This is in excellent condition and has a set of hand applied (but original to the piece) rhomboid shaped tabs. Each tab is produced in a black badge cloth and piped with the same silver bullion twist cord as the collar. The left side (as worn) tab indicates the rank, in this case for the Company Grade Officer Rank of “Hauptsturmführer” (roughly a Captain). There are three silver finished metal pips and two silver aluminum flatwire stripes that are split down the middle with a black cloth (making four smaller stripes). The right side tab is blank, an indication that the wearer was a member of the “Sicherheitsdienst”, or “SD”. The SD was the Security Service, or Intelligence Agency of the SS. There is a single sew-in type shoulder board, in the early tradition, located on the wearer’s right side. This is narrow and produced with four rows of silver bullion in a rope twist configuration. The backing is a black badge cloth. The lower left sleeve has an incredible first pattern Officer’s style “SS-Hauptamt” cufftitle. This is produced in a silver flatwire with the same material used for an upper and lower edge trim. It is flawlessly applied and truly mint! The inclusion of this cufftitle on the tunic indicates that the owner was also personnel of the SS Head Office. The right side sleeve has an “Old Fighters” Honor Chevron. This has a single “V” tressing over a black badge cloth backing. The interior is fully lined in a black rayon, with white rayon lining the sleeves. There is a large tailor’s tag seen at the top, this indicates the tunic was produced by the firm of “Stechbarth”, located in Berlin (W. 50) on Tauentzienstrasse 6. There is a pair of pockets, one on each side. Inside the right pocket there is a smaller tag where the tailor’s name and information is repeated, along with the owner’s name (Thorner), a date (1936) and the tailor’s customer number (8226). This truly one-of-a-kind uniform is complete with rock-solid provenance to go along with our lifetime certificate of authenticity. An incredible piece of memorabilia!
Please note that any "accessories" (i.e. medals, badges, belts etc.) are NOT included unless stated in description!
- Item #: U-066