Monday, March 7, 2011

The Italian Black Brigades

More skulls and crossbones: the Italian Black Brigades:
This is a Repubblica Sociale Italiana (Italian Social Republic), or RSI, beret worn by a member of the Black Brigades (1943-1945). 

The beret is made from black wool and features a large metal “smiling” skull with crossbones. On the top of the beret is a small black knot.

This is an Italian beret of the RSI Black Brigades during the latter years of World War II (picture below). 
The RSI encompassed the remnant of Northern Italy still under fascist control and occupied by the German army in 1943.  The Black Brigades were formed as a paramilitary force to support the RSI and the fascists. On the front of this black beret is the skull and crossbones metal insignia of the Black Brigades surrounded by a gold embroidered bullion wreath. A bullion star is also sewn on the beret.  
Photographs ©WHRC

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