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ZEHNA, UNTERSEEBOOTSCHULE, KIEL 1934
Zehna, 6.35 Caliber, inscribed to:
Leutnant zur See Willi Bergman
Unterseebootschule, Kiel 1934
(Purchased from the German Navy collection of Tom Knox, many years ago.)


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Figure 1. Zehna, serial number 18271. Left side factory inscription: ZENNA CAL. 6.35 D.R.Pa.E. ZEHNER, SUHL


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Figure 2. Right side, Zehna, serial number 18271.


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Figure 3. Zehna, serial number 18271. Details of right side inscription:
“Leutnant zur See Willi Bergman Unterseebootschule, Kiel 1934"
Translates into:
Lieutenant zur See Willi Bergman, Submarine School, Kiel, 1934

Conservative collectors view such engravings with suspicion and this is no exception. However:
1. There is rust/corrosion in the inscription.
2. There was a submarine school at Kiel. (see German Small Arms Markings, page 53)

Some other questions:
1. Was this Zehna produced prior to 1934?
2. Is there any possibility that a sailor in the Unterseebootschule, Kiel in 1934 would have been able to possess such a pistol without breaking stringent German pistol laws? Were such laws in effect during early1934 or were they enacted later? (Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor January 30, 1933)
3. Are there any Unterseebootschule, Kiel records indicating that a Lieutenant Willi Bergman was associated with it, took classes at it, or graduated from it?

In any case, it is an interesting inscription in spite of the unanswered questions.
 

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Jan,

a beautiful pistol with an unusual personalized inscription! Just speculation, but maybe it was a shooting price for Leutnant Bergman or a present from his comrades . But now some solid facts:

Question 1: according to

http://www.vestpockets.bauli.at/

production of the Zehna stopped in 1928.

Question 2: the "stringent German pistol laws" is what we have today – but in the twenties/thirties/fourties the Gun Laws were as liberal as in the USA ! Every person was allowed to buy and own guns, including pistols. A first federal (Reichs-) Gun Law (or Act) came into force in 1928. Banned from buying weapons were according to Article 5 (?? Could have been an other one; will check, if somebody likes to have this info) were "the usual suspects", i.e. persons younger than 21y, the mental ill, criminals, and.... gypsies. Everybody else was allowed to buy/own guns. This Law was amended slightly with the new Gun Law of 1938. No big changes in the text of the Law, but with a special decree of 1938, Jews were excluded from buying, possessing and carrying any guns.

Consequently, it was not unusual, that weapons were presented to officers and other persons. And the lucky winner of the presented pistol was of course allowed to keep the pistol. Contrary, during the Third Reich period some social group were "forced" to buy pistols. For example, since introduction of the New Hunting Law in 1935, hunters needed to proof their shooting abilities before renewal of the hunting license. They had to shoot eagerly with rifle, shot gun and... pistol. There was a "Pflichtschießen der Deutschen Jägerschaft" (Compulsory shooting of the German Hunting Association). Hunters mainly were private persons. And they had to buy a pistol. The hunting magazines of that time are full with ads of Mauser, Walther and Sauer – all reminding the hunters of their duty to shoot with pistols.

So, it was not uncommon for a Leutnant or any other person to have a private pistol.

Martin
 

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Hello,
the only question was whether any German army officer was allowed to carry a 6.35 mm pistol as his service pistol. As far as I know this was strictly forbidden - although some saff officers seemed to know their way around that rule and carried 6.35 mm pistols proudly on their belt as a sort of status symbol ("I am a staff officer and far away from the front. I can prove that by the caliber of my sidearm"). Funnily enough officers in the ex-East-German army (NVA) did exactly the same.
Dieter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Martin and Marshall
Thank you both for your educational and informative posts. I will look on this little pistol with its interesting inscription in a little more favorable light.
Jan
 

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Hallo Dieter (Marschall)! The same manner was in Czechoslovak People Army too! Altough the "government modell" was CZ vzor 52 the high staff officers carried DUO or CZ vzor 45. The plebs like me says: Like pistol size, like brain size! (in Czech: Jaka pistole takovy rozum!)
 
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