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The SS (Schutzstaffel): Obermann

Obermann was a rank of the German Schutzstaffel, which was used between the years 1942 and 1945. Translated as “Senior Member,” the rank of Obermann was exclusive to the Allgemeine-SS and was created as an equivalent to the Waffen-SS rank of Oberschütze.

The rank of Obermann was seldom bestowed and records evidence from World War II indicates most Allgemeine-SS members were promoted directly from SS-Mann to the rank of SS-Sturmmann. In cases were Obermann would have been awarded, it was typically to maintain an SS-member’s Waffen-SS and Allgemeine-SS ranks at equal levels, since the two branches of the SS were considered separate services.

The insignia for Obermann was a silver pip centered on the upper left sleeve of the grey SS field uniform. Some photographic evidence indicates this insignia was also worn on the black parade uniform, were it would be centered on the sleeve above the swastika armband. However, more often than not, an Obermann wearing the black SS uniform would not display additional insignia other then the blank collar patch of an SS-Mann.

Promotion to Obermann was typically granted after six months to one year of service in the Allgemeine-SS. The rank ceased to exist in 1945, but has seen resurgence in the modern German language to indicate a senior member of an organization, such as a union foreman.

Sources: Wikipedia; Picture courtesy of: U.S. National Archives