Posted 3 years ago
I’ve posted a couple of these medals before, but not as this medal grouping. This ends my series on WWI commemorative medals of the Central Powers.
The Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs (Honor Cross of the World War), nicknamed the Hindenburg Cross, was instituted by Paul von Hindenburg, then the President of the German Weimar Republic, in July 1934 -less than a month before his death. It was awarded to those who had served the Imperial German forces in WWI, and was later expanded by Hitler to include allied veterans. All prospective recipients had to submit applications for the medal, but there were huge numbers made. Numerous companies manufactured them, and they continued to be issued as late as 1944.
The bronze medals were designed by Eugene Godet of Berlin, and based on the German War Commemorative Medal of 1870-71, which I have posted here:
The medal for combatants (Frontkämpferkreuz) shows a wreath around the war dates 1914 and 1918, with crossed swords between the arms of the cross. The back of these medals are blank, except that there is usually a maker’s mark. Mine shows it was made by Paul Schulze & Co, Lubek.
The cross for non-combatants is the same, but without the swords. The mark on the back of mine indicates it was made by the Arbeitgemmeinschaft of Heinrich Vogt in Pforzeim. An arbeitgemmeinschaft is a group of independent contractors working together, and in this case the medal came from contractor number 84.
The cross for next-of-kin, nicknamed the “Widows Cross”, is the same as the non-combatants, but enameled black, and the black and white colors in the ribbon are reversed. I had to enhance the photo of the tiny makers mark at the bottom of the medal in order for you to see it. It’s a swan followed by the letters WS for Wagner & Son, Berlin.
By 1937, the following numbers had been authorized:
Next of Kin to widows: 345,112
Next of kin for parents: 373,950