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I recently acquired a WWII era PPK holster for $225. This object is made from dyed brown leather. The flap is secured with two metal studs, one brass and one aluminum, and features a single pocket for a spare magazine on the front and a single belt loop on the back. The stitching is intact and the pull tab points down. It has no makers mark, Waffenamt, or date stamp.

Overall it's in excellent condition with some cracking and dry spots around the edges and what looks like a scar from an old price tag sticker on the flap. I've applied some Weiman Leather Cleaner & Conditioner to the exterior.

I don't usually collect dead cow skin but I've got a few books on the subject. After consulting Still, Whittington, and Bender I came up empty handed. Finally, I was able to locate a photograph of this style holster in Per Mathisen's fantastic book "A Pictorial Collectors Guide to the Walther PP-PPK Pistols". He describes it as being a private purchase holster for officers but gives no other details.

However, what really has me intrigued is the inscription under the flap, of which I was aware when I made my purchase. Written in pencil, I can clearly read "LT. KAHLE". I'm going to make an assumption that he was a US GI who possessed this holster sometime during or shortly after WWII. Underneath that is an addition three lines that I can't entirely make out but appear to be written by a German hand.

I'm hoping that some of our German speakers can make out what was written. This is what it looks like to me:

LT. KAHLE
Jusel (this word or name is underscored)
'posT Greys鈥盲ringen
(Kr. steudaL
 

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I can read the following lines:
Insel
Post Gro脽-M枚ringen
(Krs. Stendal)

Insel is the name of a small village, obviously without any own post office. Therefore the name of the next post office is mentioned which is in M枚ringen. At that time, both villages Insel and M枚ringen were municipalities of the district (Landkreis) of Stendal. Since 2010 they are part of the town Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
 

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PS. Because Stendal was part of the Soviet occupation zone, I'd rather assume that Lt. Kahle was a German.
 

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Did anyone else notice that there was something written above Leutnant Kahle鈥檚 name? I can only say with certainty that the term or name contained a double-s.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did anyone else notice that there was something written above Leutnant Kahle鈥檚 name?
I did but even with the holster under a bright light I can't make anything out other than what looks like "oss".
 

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I did but even with the holster under a bright light I can't make anything out other than what looks like "oss".
You might try to change the color of the image using your photo editing program, as it sometimes brings out markings difficult to see.

Regarding the inscription, as I wrote on another forum, in the 1941 Ordnungspolizei rank list, there is a Hauptmann Heinrich Kahle (dob 2.11.96) listed as having been promoted 30.1.41 and noted as an officer of the Gendarmerie. Of course the Gendarmerie wore brown leather equipment. I have no other information about this officer.

I cannot figure out the word under the rank and name. But the next line appears to be Post Gro脽-M枚ringen, then (Kr. Stendal). The German script handwriting of double S shows the first S as looking like a P. I don't have a font for that double SS handwritten letter. Perhaps Post Gro脽-M枚ringen was his first Gendarmerie assignment as Post was a term used in the administrative structure.
 

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It's just the full address as listed in post #2. Gro脽-M枚ringen is certainly mentioned because the village name Insel isn't unique.
Ah so, I see. So Insel was no doubt the location of his place of residence. And his duty station was Gendarmerie Post Gro脽-M枚ringen, not the post office.
 

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And his duty station was Gendarmerie Post Gro脽-M枚ringen, not the post office.
I don鈥檛 think so. 鈥淧ost鈥 is not used in German like that at all; it would have to be 鈥淧osten鈥. And since there is plenty of space to the left, Post wouldn鈥檛 make much sense as an abbreviation for Posten either.
I think as Balogh said, it鈥檚 simply part of the mailing address, a bit non-standard because it鈥檚 rural.

PS: The sign below is Austrian, but the same applied in Germany.

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This is Austrian ;)

I think Balogh is right.
Insel is a really small village near Gro脽-M枚hringen.
 

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Regarding the inscription, as I wrote on another forum, in the 1941 Ordnungspolizei rank list, there is a Hauptmann Heinrich Kahle (dob 2.11.96) listed as having been promoted 30.1.41 and noted as an officer of the Gendarmerie. Of course the Gendarmerie wore brown leather equipment.
Leutnant Kahle would be a notable exception if 鈥 as a member of a police formation 鈥 he had written his private address on his holster. Usually, policemen avoid revealing their address. And we really have to rule out an address of a Feldgendarmerie station, because if there had been one in Insel, it would hardly have been manned with an officer. What would he have done in such a small locality?

I would doubt anyway that Leutnant Kahle had a birth year of 1896 and could therefore be identical with the later Hauptmann Heinrich Kahle. When the Feldgendarmerie was reconstituted at the beginning of the Second World War, he probably should have had already the rank of an Oberleutnant. Moreover, I would have assumed that there was a certain uniformity in the Feldgendarmerie in terms of uniform items and weapons. Wouldn't an issued P.38 and holster be much more likely?

Is it therefore not easier to assume that Lieutenant Kahle was a "normal" officer of the Wehrmacht and used a privately procured holster?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You might try to change the color of the image using your photo editing program, as it sometimes brings out markings difficult to see.
I tried that as well as a black light. No luck.
 

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I don鈥檛 think so. 鈥淧ost鈥 is not used in German like that at all; it would have to be 鈥淧osten鈥. And since there is plenty of space to the left, Post wouldn鈥檛 make much sense as an abbreviation for Posten either.I think as Balogh said, it鈥檚 simply part of the mailing address, a bit non-standard because it鈥檚 rural.
Thank you for the correction. I should have known better. And your suggestion that it was his mailing address is very sound, as I now realize that a Gendarmerie Posten would have been manned by a few NCOs commanded by a senior NCO. As a Leutnant, Kahle would have commanded the Gendarmerie forces within a Kreis. In this case, Kreis Stendal as written, which was part of the Gendarmerie Distrikte located in the city of Stendal, in the Regierungsbezirk Magdeburg, Provinz Sachsen (Land Preussen).
Leutnant Kahle would be a notable exception if 鈥 as a member of a police formation 鈥 he had written his private address on his holster. Usually, policemen avoid revealing their address. And we really have to rule out an address of a Feldgendarmerie station, because if there had been one in Insel, it would hardly have been manned with an officer. What would he have done in such a small locality?

When the Feldgendarmerie was reconstituted at the beginning of the Second World War, he probably should have had already the rank of an Oberleutnant. Moreover, I would have assumed that there was a certain uniformity in the Feldgendarmerie in terms of uniform items and weapons. Wouldn't an issued P.38 and holster be much more likely?

Is it therefore not easier to assume that Lieutenant Kahle was a "normal" officer of the Wehrmacht and used a privately procured holster?
Well, though not common, police officers writing their name and town is not unknown. Unless you have found a directive from the RFSS u. ChdDtPol forbidding the practice? I have a nice early 1935 PPK marked to the police of the town of Goslar along with its numbered holster with the name of the commanding captain who lived in the town, as was confirmed for me by the Goslar city archive. Rural police were part of the community and responsible not only for police functions but also other administrative duties. They were known to the inhabitants.

But let's make sure we are discussing the same police formation. I was not referring to the Feldgendarmerie, which you have apparently confused with the Gendarmerie,the rural police of Germany, which was created under Imperial authority, renamed Landj盲gerie under presure from the WWI allied occupying powers, but restored with the Nazis assumption of power. So your comments regarding Kahle, his age and supposed rank, the Feldgendarmerie and equipment are irrelevant to the discussion.

Attached is the listing of Kahle in the 1941 rank list of Hauptleute der Schutzpolizei und Gendarmerie. You can see for yourself that he was indeed born in 1896. If you are familiar with the German police of the 1920s and 1930s, you would understand that rank promotion did not automatically follow with age. So a 45 year old Hauptmann would not be unusual. But I believe Kahle acquired his holster a few years earlier at the lower rank, when stationed with the Gendarmerie in Kreis Stendal. As an officer, he could choose his pistol and holster.

99098


99099
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You guys are awesome! I never would have been able to learn this much on my own.
 

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I was not referring to the Feldgendarmerie, which you have apparently confused with the Gendarmerie...
You're right. I was under the impression we were talking about the Feldgendarmerie. When it was formed, most of the transferred officers were at the rank of captain or major. At the beginning, there were only a few first lieutenants and possibly no lieutenants at all. This further confused me.

You can see for yourself that he was indeed born in 1896. If you are familiar with the German police of the 1920s and 1930s, you would understand that rank promotion did not automatically follow with age. So a 45 year old Hauptmann would not be unusual.
I can imagine that. I know that during the Weimar Republic, even the education to become a Leutnant of the Reichswehr as well as the further promotions to Oberleutnant and Hauptmann were a lengthy affair. All in all, fifteen to twenty years to the rank of a Hauptmann was not exceptional, but quite common. Nevertheless, I would have expected that Heinrich Kahle had already carried the rank of an Oberleutnant when the PPK was launched the 1930s.

The other question that concerned me was the weapon itself. I had assumed that Heinrich Kahle must have had a different service weapon originally. If he was indeed the owner of the PPK holster and the corresponding pistol, then he must have already been at least 35 years old when he made the switch. I myself went through the army career from Leutnant to Hauptmann and had to think about which pieces of equipment I had replaced during that time. In my case, it was just the different uniforms, which were getting tighter probably because of the acid rain and the global warming.

In any case, it is interesting and exciting to see what kind of considerations such a holster find can trigger. Thank you very much for the detailed explanations and the insight into the German police almost a century ago.
 

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Of course we are presuming the holster contined a PPK. Redcat94, have you verified the holster carried only a PPK by obvious rub marks?
 
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