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The VM37 (Volksgasmaske 37) was the first standardised mask for the civilians in Nazi Germany, before this mask a great variety of masks were available for the public which resulted caused many problems. Turkey licensed the mask and manufactured it as HM37.

The mask itself uses a primitive version of the hood design to provide a tight seal on the wearer's face. Earlier models utilized a strap around the back of the neck with a button to fold up excess rubber, however, it wasn't as effective as anticipated, so most newer units of the mask are missing this feature. It uses a metal and plastic inhale valve with a simple flapper exhale valve common for masks around that period. The thread for the filters was called 40mm DIN, an abbreviation for 'Deutsche Industrie-Norm', or German industrial standard.

The VM37 was issued painted green with several stamps marking the inside and outside of the mask close to the back of the hood. The front of the mask protrudes slightly past the user's face assumingly for comfort and better vision though it does not seem to do so very well. The eye lenses of the VM37 in the modern day tend to be decayed into a yellow or red tinted color due to the age like most WWll masks.

Like all Volksgasmaskes, inside of the mask around the inhale valve there is a ring of foam-like material to absorb the moisture of the exhale air.

Made for the civilian population. It started manufacturing in 1937, hence the name VM37. All rubber parts of the mask are made from Buna-S (styrene-butiene rubber), a synthetic rubber that started mass production in Germany around the same year to become independent from natural rubber imports. While the production of SBR was sufficient for a decent amount of time, bad logistics and handling of resources quickly caused a shortage of rubber, which required a cheaper model of a VM with less rubber on it to be made. That plan was realized in 1940 with the VM40, ceasing the production of the VM37.

Translation of the card added in later model masks[]

German original:

'Da sich das Kopfband in nur sehr seltenen Fällen als notwendig für den guten Sitz der VM37 erwiesen hat, wird es künftig nicht mehr an jeder VM angebracht werden. Damit fallen auch die beiden Knöpfe und die Schlaufe am Kopfteil (vergl. Abbildung 2 der Gebrauchsanweisung) fort. Für Fälle besonders schwieriger Verpassung stehen auch weiterhin Volksgasmasken in der bisherigen Ausführung zur Verfügung.'


'Since there have been only very few cases where the backstrap has proven to be effective for a good seal of the VM37, it will not be implemented on every mask in the future. That means that the two buttons and the rubber band at the headpiece (compare to illustration 2 in the manual) will be removed. However, in cases of exceptionally difficult fits of the mask, there will still be Volksgasmasks produced in the previous variant.'