Yesterday, I photographed a Nazi dagger from WWII. Just holding it brought up all kinds of emotions. Besides the obvious historic aspects to it, there is an interesting personal story about how it made its way into my family all the way from Germany.
It begins with my Grandfather, Anthony. He served in the Army during the war, and spent a significant amount of that time in Germany. From what I've been told, he worked on the railroads. During those days, the Army gave every soldier rations which also included cigarettes. My Grandfather was never a smoker, but he wisely found a way to put his rations to good use. He saved countless packs of these cigarettes, and traded them to another U.S. soldier for this dagger. How the other soldier originally got the dagger is uncertain.
After the war ended, he returned home to marry my Grandmother. Yet, he still had the dagger tucked away safely. He greased the blade so it wouldn't corrode or rust. He left it in the sheath which helped to preserve its condition for over 60 years.
It is VERY sharp, and the blade says "Wes fur Deutchland" which means "Everything for Germany". If that isn't enough to give you the chills, notice the swastika on the handle.
No matter what this is worth, I would never allow it to be sold, as it has way too much sentimental value. Not only does it offer a glimpse into our country's history, but also into my Grandfathers past, before he was called Grandpa, or even Dad. He may be gone now, but he will never be forgotten.