Honor daggers of the German Kriegsmarine, by H. Hampe.


In an interesting article from the German author Dr. Klietmann, published in 1961, he made a few statements about these extremely rare daggers.


Following Dr.Klietmann, the Ehrendolch was introduced by Generaladmiral Dr.h.c. Raeder in 1938, not because of bravery but to honour special merits. He quoted for this statement a letter from Konteradmiral  W. Erhardt from April 21st, 1961.


Dr. Klietmann wrote in his article back in1961 that the recipients of these Ehrendolche were


- Admiral Albrecht

- Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien, October 20th, 1940

- Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp, August 17th, 1942

- Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Suhren, Sept. 1st, 1942

- Generaladmiral Carl Witzell, September 30th, 1942

- Generaladmiral Alfred Saalwächter, December 1942


In addition he published a photo of the Witzell dagger, showing a hand forged Damascus blade and the Raeder dedication.


Dr. Klietmann quoted a letter from Reinhard Suhren from Jan. 1st, 1956 that when Dönitz became the head of the Kriegsmarine none of these daggers were issued furthermore. No coincidence and only logical if one considers that Dönitz was appointed commander-in-chief of the Kriegsmarine shortly before the dagger production ban in May 1943. An implementation of this decree is only logical.


These are the only available sources from the time relatively short after the war.


To the complete opposite one can read in various collector reference books, mostly by American authors, that at least sixteen of these presentation daggers, named to several persons, were awarded. In another publication was speculated that more than twenty of them were issued.  It must said clearly that no period regulation about this dagger pattern has ever been found.  The author worked hours in the German federal archive to find a period document mentioning these daggers, without any success. They did exist, as we know from the Topp family, but just in very limited numbers.


Unfortunately it was also not possible for the writer of this text to find a single dagger which can be consequently labelled of being genuine. Erich Topps dagger was stolen in August 1999 and has not found back yet, his son Michael is still searching for hints to his fathers dagger. Some other original daggers may still be in the hands of the families of the former officers to whom they were awarded to.


The author is aware of a huge number of Honour daggers more or less from a certain poor quality having some of the appearance of this very special type of dagger. A few of them with different variations are made of higher quality with folded steel blades.


A potential buyer should be aware, that skilled Damascus smiths like Carl Wester or Paul Müller, who worked during the Nazi time, were still in business after the war.


High quality scabbards are still produced today in the city of Solingen and mated with new old stock genuine Ivory grips and folded Damascus blades of newer production, some blades coming most likely from India and/or Pakistan, some were made in Germany .  It is possible to found all patterns of Kriegsmarine daggers made recently and in higher quality. They are usually in mint condition, some are artificially aged.

A honour dagger of the Kriegsmarine

Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp is looking at his new Ehrendolch of the Kriegsmarine.
Erich Topp with his honour dagger in the 1980‘s.