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Q: translate German to English ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: translate German to English
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: rkmrkm-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 27 Jan 2003 21:37 PST
Expires: 26 Feb 2003 21:37 PST
Question ID: 149391
I found this award attached to an old. German 22 rifle I would like to
know what it means.         "Dem Sturmbannsieger    Reichswettkamph
d.S.A. 1935    Gruppe Franken     u.Obernitz Gruppenfuhrer
Subject: Re: translate German to English
Answered By: angy-ga on 28 Jan 2003 02:06 PST
Hi, rkmrkm-ga !

This has proved an absolutely fascinating bit of research, since the
interest is not so much in what your label says, but in history and
people involved.. I've spent quite a bit of time unravelling some of
the story for you.

German is famous (infamous?) for its portmanteau words - several words
rolled into one - and this is what you are looking at here in places.

To take the inscription in order:

"Dem" = "To the"

"Sturmbannsieger": this is made up of "Sturmbann" (itself a compound
word) and "Sieger".

A "Sturmbann" (Storm Command) was an organisational unit of the SS
(Schutz Staffeinel, security staff).as well as the SA ("Sturm
Abteilung" - described below.)

A word like "Sturmbann" was often tagged onto another word such as
"Fuhrer" - "leader" to make a new word indicating rank.  Ranks and
their equivalents, as well as some background on the word structure,
are at:

Here Mike Williams , writing Feb 2000, says:

"Note 3) It is sometimes difficult to render words and phrases from
one language into another. An example is, Sturmbannführer. In modern
German, Sturm means, Storm, or in the military sense, Assault. The
word, Bann means a (magic) Spell and Führer, means a Leader or Guide.
Clearly Sturmbannführer cannot be rendered as, Storm Spell (magic)
Leader, so some further clarification is needed.

German in the Middle Ages used the word Bann both on its own and in
conjunction with others, to form words to denote authority and power.
Examples are words such as, Banner, meaning a Banner or Flag and
Heerbann meaning, Army Command (the power of a King to raise and
command an Army). Modern English uses Bann, as in The Banns of
Marriage, meaning the command from the church to the listening
congregation to, 'raise any cause or just impediment' to the match.

In Germany during the 1920's, the Sturm Abteilung, or SA (Storm
Detachment) came into being as the street muscle of the Nazi Party.
The SA formed themselves into, Companie, three to a Sturm and three,
Stürme, into a Sturmbann. Thus a Sturmbannführer was a, Storm Command
Leader, using Command in its noun sense, in the same way that a
Colonel could refer to his Regiment as being his Command. Using the
normal military grading structure equates a Sturmbann to a Battalion
and thus a Sturmbannführer to a Major."

However in this case "Sieger" means victor, conqueror  (Collins
German/English Dictionary 1953) and is used to mean "competition
winner" often in combination with other words, eg "Siegerpaare" -
"Winning couples" (in a dance contest).

So "Sturmbannsieger" = "Storm Battalion Winner".

"Reich" is the state, the country, or Germany itself. 

"Wettkamph" is a prizefight, or a contest. (Dictionary).

So "Reichwettkamph" = "National competition".

"d S A" = "Die Sturm Abteilung" - the Brown Shirts, led by Ernst
Roehm.  A good simple history of  the SA, with links,  is at:

(Scroll down to find the text beneath the pictures.)

"In 1921 Adolf Hitler formed his own private army called Sturm
Abteilung (Storm Section). The SA (also known as stormtroopers or
brownshirts) were instructed to disrupt the meetings of political
opponents and to protect Hitler from revenge attacks. Captain Ernst
Roehm of the Bavarian Army played an important role in recruiting
these men, and became the SA's first leader. "

By 1934 the SA had grown to 4,500,000 men, and in June of that year
Hitler personally arrested Roehm and had him executed. Victor Lutze
took over the SA, and the they gradually lost power as the SS gained
more power under Himmler's leadership.

1935 is obviously the year of the competition.

"Gruppe" = "group"

"Franken" is Franken (Franconia - not to be confused with Franconia,
New Hampshire !)  is a district in wine growing country. A short
history by Rick Heli, Michael Glueckert and Gary Molan 13-Jan-98 can
be found at:

"The duchy of Franconia (Herzogtum Franken) consisted in early
medieval times of the river Main region, the central Rhine river area
(roughly Worms - Cologne) and Hesse ...
Franconia, one of the five tribal duchies of Germany, was founded in
the ninth century. Its name was derived from the Franks who settled
there early in the Middle Ages. It later split into West-Franken or
Rhein-Franken (around the city of Mainz) and East- or Main-Franken
(around the city of Würzburg). Since about 1200 AD the name "Franken"
was only applied to the Main-Franken-part.
Most of this area passed to Bavaria on the dissolution of the Holy
Roman Empire in 1803-1806. Franconia was then divided into three
administrative districts: Upper Franconia (Ober Franken), Lower
Franconia (Unter Franken), and Middle Franconia (Mittel Franken). They
now form the northern segment of the state of Bavaria. "

There is also a substantial bibliography on this page and links to
other sites of historical interest.

There are road maps at:

Scroll down to find the ones covering Nuremburg etc.

So: "Gruppe Franken" = "Franken District Group."

"Gruppenfuhrer" = "Group Leader" and is the rank of the man whose name
comes just before the title. His name is Von Obernitz  (the "u" is
probably a "v" and stands for "von".

This gives us:

"To the winner of the Sturmbann (Storm Command Battalion ) National
the Sturm Abteilung (Storm  Section) Franken District Group, 1935, 
Group Leader von Obernitz ."

Now here's the interesting bit.

Hans-Günther von Obernitz, Führer der SA-Gruppe Franken, is listed at:

a biographical archive. He seems to have come from an aristocratic
Prussian family with a long military tradition. There's a portrait of
Hugo von Obernitz at:

By 1938 he had been promoted to "obergruppenfuhrer" ("ober" = "over"
or "above")
and was involved in the "Krystalnacht" attacks on the Jewish community
in Nuremburg. A German article on the events of  9 - 10 November in
Nuremburg 1938 by Wolfgang Most in the local paper "Raumzeit"
(distribution Nuremburg, Furth and Saalfeld ) 12 Dec 2001 is at:

This tells us that the comrades were partly celebrating the march on
the Feldherrnhalle on 9.11.1923.
The plundering, looting and attacks by the SA went on until noon next

Krystal Nacht - the night when Jewish homes were attacked all over
Germany - is described at:

and a Jewish family's personal story is at:

Evidence for Von Obernitz's personal involvement is in the Nuremberg
trial transcript of the trial of Herr Lothar Streicher as follows
(Fritz Herrwerth seems to have been Streicher's chauffeur):

Nuremburg trials transcripts for 
16th April to 1st May, 1946

Tuesday, 5 March 1946

Morning Session
".....Herrwerth was present on the night of 9 November 1938, when SA
Group Leader Von Obernitz reported to the then Gauleiter Streicher
that demonstrations against the Jewish population were being planned.
He therefore knows from personal experience what passed between these
two men, and that Streicher was opposed to this demonstration, because
he considered such a demonstration to be entirely wrong.
Thus, in opposition to the Fuehrer's will and order, Streicher kept
himself aloof from this demonstration against the Jewish population.
There can be no doubt that this incident is of particular importance.
It is clear that the behavior of Streicher, who at the time was
already in bed and received Obernitz in his bedroom, corroborated the
stand taken by his defense. I therefore submit that Fritz Herrwerth be
called as witness before the Tribunal, so that he can be examined by
me and, if necessary, also by the Prosecution. "

One-Hundred-and-Sixteenth Day: Monday, 29th April, 1946
(Part 11 of 12) 

THE WITNESS: (Herrwerth) Yes, yes, I will try my best. 
A. (Continuing) The then S.A. Obergruppenfuehrer von Obernitz came
into the Gau headquarters and told me he had to speak to Herr
Streicher very urgently, and I answered him that Herr Streicher had
already gone to bed. Then he said: "Then I must wake him," and he told
me he would assume the responsibility; it was an important affair.
Herr von Obernitz went to Streicher's apartment in my car. Herr
Streicher's bedroom is above my apartment. I had the keys and, of
course, I could get in at any time.
On the way to the apartment that night I noticed that many S.A. men
were in the streets. I asked Herr von Obernitz the reason for that. He
told me that that night something was going to happen; the Jewish
homes were to be destroyed. He did not say anything further to me.
I accompanied Herr von Obernitz all the way to the bed of Herr
Streicher. Herr von Obernitz then reported to Streicher about what was
happening that night. I cannot recall the details very well any more,
but I believe that he said that that night the Jewish homes were to be
destroyed. Herr Streicher was, if I may say so, surprised. He had not
known anything about it. He said to Herr von Obernitz, and I remember
that very clearly: "That is wrong. One does not solve the Jewish
question that way. Do what you have been ordered. I shall have no part
in it. If anything should occur so that you need me, then you can come
for me." I can also mention that thereupon Herr von Obernitz
[Page 349]
said that Hitler had declared the S.A. should be allowed to have a
fling as retribution for what had occurred in Paris in connection with
Herr von Rath. Streicher stayed in bed and did not go out during that
Q. Did von Obernitz mention anything about the fact that the
synagogues were to be set on fire?
A. I believe so, yes. But, as far as I remember, Streicher refused to
do that, too, because the synagogue, as far as I know, was burned down
by the regular fire department, and upon orders from Herr von
Q. How do you know that? 
A. I was there. 
Q. Did you watch it? 
A. Yes, I was at the synagogue during that night. 
Q. And how could one assume that the regular fire department started
the fire?
A. How that could be assumed I do not know, but I saw it. The regular
fire department started the fire.
Q. Were you there in time to see how the fire was started or did you
arrive when the building was already on fire?
A. The building was not yet on fire, but the fire department was there
Q. Is that right? 
A. I can say nothing else. 
Q. Did Herr Streicher at that time mention anything about the fact
that he was afraid of a new wave of excitement on the part of the
world Press if the synagogues were burned. Did he say that that is why
he refused to do it?
A. I believe so, yes, but I could not say definitely; but, if I
remember correctly, they spoke about that.
Q. Did Obernitz say from whom he had received the order? 
A. He only repeated what Hitler had said - the S.A. should be allowed
to have a fling.

Von Obernitz did not survive the war. Those involved who stood trial
mostly recieved sentences of between 7 and 10 months, suspended for
two years.

Photos of Saalfeld-Obernitz, the place, including Castle Obernitz, are

( Go to Edit / Find (on this page) and type in Obernitz, or just keep
scrolling down.)

So your rifle may well have some historical interest.  

I've spent a very enjoyable afternoon - thank you for the question.

Search terms : "Obernitz"
"Krystal Nacht"
"Sturm Abteilung"
"Franken map"
"Franconia map"
and the Collins 1953 German dictionary (1977 reprint)..
Subject: Re: translate German to English
From: justaskscott-ga on 28 Jan 2003 15:15 PST
An awesome answer, angy-ga!  I hope that rkmrkm-ga sees fit to give
you a very nice tip for your work.

I have one minor quibble.  The Messengers of Messiah seems to be a
dubious source of information; it is "a Hebraic Roots ministry", which
I interpret to mean a group that proselytizes Jews.

The traditional spelling of "Krystal Nacht" is Kristallnacht.  A
search for "Kristallnacht" on Google will reveal some more reliable

But I do not intend this comment to detract from what is otherwise a
remarkable answer.
Subject: Re: translate German to English
From: scriptor-ga on 29 Jan 2003 06:46 PST
Let me express it in German ...

Was für eine großartige Antwort! Meine Hochachtung, Frau Kollegin!


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