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Water Customs


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Dagger Gallery

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Full Glory

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Organisation Information - Customs Service [Zolldienst]

The Customs Service was formed in 1936 as a separate branch of the government under the jurisdiction of the Reichs Minister of Finance, and charged with securing all borders, ports and waterways from illicit traffic. Its primary function was to ensure that all taxes due to the 3rd Reich were collected.

In many ways this formation was an extension of the long arm of the Gestapo, eventually all customs departments came under full control by the Gestapo in October 1944.

In order to accomplish its diversified missions, the German Customs Service was organized into two separate groups:

1)… Landzoll - Land Service. Guarded land borders, import control, tax gathering, border security.

2)… Wasserzoll – Water Customs, sea fronts, harbours, ports, imports by sea, security.

Custom detachments ranged in size from small guard posts of five men to large 450-man groups in Hamburg and Markdorf.

At the outbreak of WWII, the customs officials became more like border police, greater emphasis being placed upon border security. The responsibility of the Zolldienst was expanded to include border control of escaped prisoners of war, saboteurs, defectors, refugees, spies, etc.

The uniform of the Customs officials was similar to the Heer uniform hence the similarity of the dress dagger.

Dagger Information – Water Customs

At the same time as the introduction of the Land Customs dagger, a similar dagger was introduced for selected Sea Custom Officials of the rank of Mashinenbetriebslieter and above.

The dagger was identical in design to the Land Customs dagger with variations as below:

1)… All metal fittings were gold plated and made from bronze.

2)… The dual hanger straps are solid dark blue in colour with water marked patterns.

3)… The Portapee was gold.

Production ceased in 1942