Stadler is not wearing his Knights Cross in this view which suggests a date of between 1st September 1942 when he was promoted to Sturmbannführer and 6th April 1943 when he received the award. As he was born on 30th December 1910, he would have been about 32 years old at this time. It is probably relevant, that in German "Sylvester" means, "New Year's Eve". Given the warm clothing, the location is probably somewhere on the Eastern Front. The rank of an individual in the SS was denoted by the left collar tab, in this case 4 metal squares, one in each corner, which showed that Stadler was a Sturmbannführer. The Totenkopf badge (skull and crossbones) on the cap was a symbol common to all the SS, not just the Totenkopf Division.
© Michael Williams: February 2004