Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP (SS Seniority Lists)
Use and Limitations
The Dienstalterslisten are information sources used by collectors in their attempt to identify SS officers. The lists, also known as "SS officer rank lists" or by the acronym "DAL", hold information about the officers, their duty assignments and specific awards like the Totenkopfring. Dienstalterslisten were published from 1934 through 1944. From 1934 through 1938 an annual publication included all officer ranks. These lists and the 1939 corrections to the 1938 list were printed in the Fraktur type face with numerous characters unlike those of the Roman alphabet. After 1938, officers with the rank of SS-Untersturmführer (SS Second Lieutenant) and SS-Obersturmführer (SS First Lieutenant) were excluded from the lists. Likewise, officers with the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (SS Captain) were excluded from the lists, with the exception of a special Waffen-SS list published in 1944. These three ranks account for the largest portion of the officer corps, but are not present in the Dienstalterslisten published after 1938. During the war years the Dienstalterslisten were only published for certain rank groups, i.e., SS-Obersturmbannführer and SS-Sturmbannführer or SS-Oberstgruppenführer through SS-Standartenführer. Failure to comprehend the inherent limitations of the Dienstalterslisten may result in the misidentification of an SS officer. Therefore, I use additional sources making it possible for me to identify most of the men who served as officers from 1932 through 1945, depending upon the known facts.
Be cautious when the Dienstalterslisten are used to identify an SS officer. A good example is the Totenkopfring , featuring a date and the recipient’s last name without first name or rank. A known date dictates the Dienstalterslisten that must be examined by the researcher. How many officers shared the same last name or identical first and last name? In the absence of additional facts, you must assume the existence of more than one officer until the identification process discounts your assumption. Sometimes deductive logic must be applied to the process. Do your findings withstand critical questioning? Have you verified claims made by others? Do not accept a verbal account of an identification process, acquire copies of relevant pages to support statements.