During the Third Reich, Anwärter was used as a paramilitary rank by both the NSDAP and the SS. Within the Nazi Party, an Anwärter was someone who had been accepted into a government service position and the rank was issued in two degrees: one for party members and the other for non-party members. Anwärter was the lowest Nazi Party rank in a complex and extensive system of Nazi Party political ranks leading up to such positions as Gauleiter and Reichsleiter.
As an SS rank, an Anwärter was someone who had applied for membership in the SS and was undergoing a probationary period after which time an appointment would be issued to the rank of SS-Mann. The earliest recorded use of Anwärter, as an SS rank, was 1932 however the rank was used as title dating back to 1925.
Within the Allgemeine-SS, the transition from Anwärter to Mann was an extensive process typically taking over one year. During that year, a potential SS member would be drilled and indoctrinated and also a racial, political, and background check would be conducted. At the end of this time, typically in an elaborate ceremony, an Anwärter would be promoted to the rank of SS-Mann.
After 1941, Anwärter was also used as a rank of the Waffen-SS but to a much lesser degree than in the General-SS. A Waffen-SS Anwärter was usually a recruit who had been in-processed into the SS (typically at a recruiting station) but had yet to report for basic training. Once basic training began, the Anwärter was unceremonisouly promoted to the rank of SS-Schütze.
Between 1942 and 1945, an even lower rank existed within the SS known as Bewerber. The SS was the only Nazi paramilitary group to have a rank lower than that of Anwärter. The SS rank of Anwärter used no insignia, however the Nazi Party rank displayed a bare collar tab with eagle and swastika pin issued for those Anwärters who were already Nazi party members.