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 #39930C NPEA Student Leader’s Dagger – Carl Eickhorn (“Over the Shoulder” Trademark)
This late production Eickhorn NPEA Dagger is a fine original. The crossguards have good nickel-plated surfaces, almost entirely intact and showing little age. The tang nut is also in good condition, showing no signs of being taken down.
The grip of the dagger is a late production type, having the high, RZM style ridge in the center. It is a pleasing brown color with a nice looking vertical grain. This grip is in perfect condition, nicely fitting the plated guards. The grip eagle is constructed from zinc, something we see on these late Eickhorn pieces. Eickhorn even used zinc eagles on the Chained SA High Leader pieces they made at this time. The zinc bird doesn’t show much detail and the surfaces have greyed, but it is what it is and completely original.
When I received this dagger it did not have a scabbard. I was fortunate enough to have an appropriate Eickhorn scabbard in my parts bin, which I have included with this dagger. The scabbard is of slightly early vintage than the dagger, but there is no reason why it can’t be used. The scabbard has two side screws which act to retain the throat. The lug is also fairly long and slim, with two sets of dual ridges. This Eickhorn scabbard is identical to the example shown in the excellent Weinand NPEA book on page 24. Unfortunately this scabbard has no paint on it, so we opted to do the job as best we could. It does not look too bad and hopefully will be acceptable by the next owner.
The blade of this dagger shows some surface age and looks as if it has been cleaned in the past. This cleaning was not done as well as it could have been, but nevertheless the blade looks reasonably presentable, if a little over-buffed. It is what it is, however. The blade has the Eickhorn-style motto with the special “S” letters used by this firm. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the post-1941 “Over the Shoulder” style Eickhorn Squirrel trademark.
The blade shoulders perfectly meet the lower crossguard contour.
This is an opportunity to acquire a very rarely offered NPEA Student Leader Dagger at a substantially reduced price.
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.