The National Political Educational Institute (Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt) was an SS-run organization established for the purpose of training future leaders for the Reich. A number of NPEA schools were set-up throughout Germany and many of its occupied countries, with most leaders and instructors coming from the SS.
There were three forms of Political daggers associated with the NPEA. The Student version, the Staff Leader and the Chained Leader. The Student version (produced by Karl Burgsmüller and WMW) had no insignia in the SA style wood grip. The crossguards were solid nickel on early versions and aluminum on later types. The scabbards were an all steel version painted olive drab. There were no mounts on the scabbard.
The blades were etched with the motto of the NPEA, Mehr Sein als Scheinen or "Be more than You Appear". The Staff Leader versions were produced by Eickhorn, and were identical to the Student, except there was a National eagle design in the grip. The Chained Leader (produced by Burgsmüller, Eickhorn and WMW) was worn by instructors and leaders of the NPEA. The dagger itself had the National eagle in the grip but was otherwise the same as the Student version. The scabbard was olive drab, having three nickel plated mounts. The upper and center scabbard mounts carry a chain hanger.
NPEA #37712C NPEA Student Leader Dagger – Carl Eickhorn
The crossguards are constructed of nickel-plated zinc. The nickel finish is lifting on the straight areas where the crossguard meets the grip. This lifting is not bad, and the finish on the guards is still about 95% intact. The tang nut has lost all of the original plating and has a nearly black tone.
The grip is a fine Eickhorn example, constructed of dark wood with good subsurface grains that run vertically on both sides. The grip is a pleasing coffee brown color. It is in perfect condition throughout and nicely fits the crossguards. The grip eagle is the nickel type, indicative of a mid-period dagger. This eagle is the style with a beak which points slightly upward. All of the detailing throughout the bird's head, breast and wing feathering, talons and wreathed mobile swastika is intact and crisp.
The scabbard is an interesting example as it is an Eickhorn type that we do not see too often. It is straight throughout with only a couple of mild signs of wear. Nearly all of the original olive-drab paint is present, rating at about 99% intact. There are a traces of old attic crazing but not much. The throat of this dagger is the thicker type used by Eickhorn. It is interesting to note that the lug on this example is not the usual unadorned, stubby type used by Eickhorn. This lug has twin enhancement lines at the top and bottom, in addition to being longer and thinner than the usual Eickhorn lug. This lug and scabbard are identical to the piece shown on page 97 of the Weinand NPEA book. The throat is retained by two dome head side screws, also atypical of an Eickhorn design. Usually there will be a screw in the reverse. The Weinand piece also has screws identical to this example.
The blade shows normal “in-and-out” marks and hints of old sharpening here and there, but nothing bad. Overall the blade still has most of the original brightness although I do not see much graining left. The NPEA motto, “Mehr sein als scheinen”, is nicely etched and retains about 90% of the original background darkening. The motto uses the Fraktur style font with a medial “s”, which looks very much like an “f” without a bar. This differs from pieces distributed by firms such as Burgsmüller, who employed what looks to be the more conventional Saschenwald font.
The reverse ricasso of the blade is etched with the 1935 through 1941 Eickhorn Squirrel trademark. I would think that this piece was probably made about '37 or '38. The blade shoulders perfectly meet the lower guard and is the norm with Eickhorn dagger no blade washer was used.
We in the hobby call this dagger a “Student Leader” because it has an eagle in the grip. Since all Eickhorn NPEA daggers have the grip eagle, it is the conclusion of the collecting community that this form was used for students as well as student leaders. This same dagger also would be found as a Chained Student Leader piece.
This is a opportunity to acquire a very rare original NPEA Student Leader Dagger; these do not come up very often and this piece is priced to sell.