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Pretty spectacular stuff guys. My question would be...

Exactly what was the "official" award criteria for, for each grade of this medal?

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Here's General Dietl wearing his 1st Class award, along with a couple of mine.

PK

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Hi Prosper, nice pieces and an excellent photo of the General. Do you know what these were awarded for? I have always thought the 2 & 1 kl. to be amongst the more attractive of the WW2 era pieces. I recently sold a ribbon bar with the Ehren=Medaille on it and when asked what the medal was awarded for; I was caught not having a clue what to say!

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Oh yeah.......... any chance you can tell what is in third place on the General's Medal Bar?

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Dietl's third medal bar award was the Hessian Bravery Medal. I wasn't aware he HAD the 1st Class Olympics--- never saw him wearing that before:

MOST German recipients seem to have put these away and NOT worn them much

a) they were honking great heavy things with all sorts of awkward projections to snag and chip and

b) while the Under Charg? d'Affairs of Lower Slubenia was no doubt thrilled to receive such a thing, once the Games were over they were OVER, and there seems to have been a bit of reluctance to keep on flaunting something that ephemerally ostentacious.

I know the Japanese military attach? recieved one... it would be interesting to see how MANY 1st Classesnin wear photos can be found of GERMAN recipients.

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They were supposed to have been granted in recognition of "actual degree of merit." Thus, I have seen civil servants of grades equivalent to full Colonel with only the medal, and a Marine-SA Sturmf?hrer with the 2nd Class. So there was some degree of "finesse" between those two.

The 1st Classes were presumably handed out as V.I.P. gongs. I doubt very much "little people" got one of those... and the Big People probably did little more personally than show up on reviewing stands.

Amtsrat (= "senior major") Drews' bar:

[attachmentid=14193]

(and he labored decades two blocks from the Brandenburg Gate, at the Prussian State Ministry)

This 40-something civil servant got the Medal:

[attachmentid=14194]

As did his slightly older frontline comrade/Freikorps veteran in my friend Bernd's collection (with a mini device for a WW2 Croatian Bravery Medal second from last)

[attachmentid=14196]

And this former NCO/junior WW2 Wehrmacht retread officer got the Medal too

[attachmentid=14198]

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I am sure a lot of the 1st Class attributions were grace and favour awards but some of the recipients, like the filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, certainly earned theirs. She still had her various certificates as well as a lot of the workboards pertaining to her Olympia films when I visited her. Eduard Dietl probably earned his as well. I imagine he got it for involvement in the Winter Olympics in Garmisch and Partenkirchen in February 1936.

I believe, although I could be wrong, that another Heer recipient was Hermann Ernst Wilhelm H?lter, who ended the war as a Generalleutnant in Norway. He was a captain in 1936 but served as the primary consultant for army sports training at the Reich War Ministry, and also as a member of the German Olympics Committee for the winter games as well as taking part in the Berlin games in the Military Ski Patrol and Pentathlon events. There again, he could just have received the 2nd Class cross. Perhaps Rick has a list of this officer's decorations?

Below is Luftwaffe recipient Generalmajor Wolfgang von Gronau. I do not know why he received the Olympics award but the photo was certainly taken during the war as von Gronau appears to be wearing the Japanese 2600th National Anniversary Commemorative Medal, which dates the photo to sometime after November 1940. He is also wearing the Order of the Rising Sun, awarded by the Japanese in recognition of his status as Luftwaffe Attach? at the German Embassy in Tokyo from 15.4.1939 to 21.1.1945. So here we have a photo of a recipient wearing the cross long after everyone else appears to have put theirs away.

In the 1930s, Wolfgang von Gronau was one of the pioneers of trans-Atlantic flight, winning the Clifford B. Harmon Trophy in 1932. Currently in the care of the Smithsonian Institute, the trophy was instituted in 1926 as an annual award for the most amazing aeronautical feat of the year. Lindbergh got it in 1927, Balbo in 1928. In 1930, he flew the Atlantic in a seaplane, taking the northern route via Labrador and landing in New York. The 1932 flight for which he won the Harmon Trophy began in Schleswig-Holstein and finished in the Canadian town of Longueuil when he and his crew docked their twin-engined Dornier seaplane, the Wal-Gr?nland or "Greenland Whale", at the Fairchild Aircraft jetty. He then set about trying to establish the quickest route by air between the Europe and the Pacific, effectively circumnavigating the globe and completing 60,000 kilometres by the time he touched down in Rome.

During WW1, von Gronau flew seaplanes off battleships and we can just see the top of his Marine Pilot Badge in this photo. Interestingly, his Knight?s Cross of the Prussian Royal Hohenzollern House Order is the non-military version without swords beneath the crown, which is why it is behind his EK2 and Combattants' Cross of Honour. Unsurprisingly, he was President of the German Aeroclub from 1934 to 1938 and also Vice-President of the International Aeronautical Federation. After Japan's capitulation, von Gronau spent a couple of years in American captivity. He died in 1977.

Ah...an epoque of men against the elements, the harsh rasp of 700 hp aero engines, the smell of hot castor oil and avgas and the distinct prospect of a lonely death in the middle of nowhere. Men like von Gronau tempted the whim of the Gods and lived but many disappeared trying to fly the oceans and the deserts. I often think of them as I peer though an airliner window on moonlit nights 26,000 feet above the Atlantic, surrounded by business executives who take it all for granted...

PK

Edited by PKeating

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Here is the Greenland Whale in which von Gronau and his crew flew the Atlantic and then the planet. Note the configuration of the engines. Anyway, this is a digression from the topic of Olympic awards but I thought some of you might like to see his plane.

PK

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Back to Olympics awards and whathaveyou. Here, on the right, is a non-portable award for members of international youth clubs, like the Boy Scouts, who helped at the games. It's quite a rare piece in itself. On the left is a studio prototype of the award, cast in bronze by H Noack of Berlin but designed and produced by Otto Plascek, whose name will be familiar to anyone who has one of the combat badges designed by Herr Plascek during WW2, like the Kriegsmarine Minesweeper and Submarine Hunter Badge.

Interestingly, the prototype bears no swastika, in line with the initial directive from Hitler's office that the games should be completely free of political overtones because of sensitivity about the protests abroad against the hosting of the games by Nazi Germany yet the final version does bear a swastika, Goebbels, presumably, having prevailed on this point.

As a sidenote, the infamous incident when Hitler is supposed to have refused to shake hands with the African-American athlete Jesse Owens was not quite as reported by many sources. Up to that point in the games, Hitler would mount the podium to congratulate winners and runners-up and the event won by Owens was no exception. However, the IOC representatives made it known to Hitler precisely at this point that it was not really form for the national leader to do this because of the non-political, international nature of the games. So Hitler left the podium quite quickly but Owens reportedly said later that the F?hrer had come to him and the others just afterwards, behind the podium, and congratulated them on their performance.

However, Owens' account did not quite fit in with the approved view of Hitler as the sort of raving, boneheaded racist who would publicly snub an American guest of Germany, black or otherwise. Whatever he may have thought of blacks and of Owens' victory, Hitler was too canny an operator to get caught out like that. On the occasions when Hitler met Max Schmeling, for instance, he was always unfailingly courteous to Schmeling's American-Jewish manager, Joe Jacobs, even though Schmeling's refusal to change his agent in the face of Nazi pressure would partly fuel the vicious whispering campaign mounted against the boxer by the various hobgoblins working for the indefatigably nasty Goebbels.

PK

Edited by PKeating

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I don't know whose photos these are. Someone sent them to me years ago. But it's interesting to see the 2nd Class cross on an Austrian riband. I have seen several like this over the years.

PK

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Some of you are doubtless familiar with the 1937 book by Leni Riefenstahl featuring stills from her film. The images are actual prints from the film, with the exception of the photographs in the back of Riefenstahl and her team at work.

I took a couple of copies to be signed by Riefenstahl. She signed one of them with a nice dedication but when she saw this copy, she became quite angry, explaining to me that "that bastard Goebbels" had done all in his power to sabotage her film yet had had the brassnecked cheek to acquire a couple of palettes of the book and send them out as Christmas gifts with a page inserted bearing his signature and a Christmas greeting, as if he had actually had been involved in the production of the film.

She was so furious at the memory of this episode that she refused to sign it, sixty-five years later, unless the offending page was ripped out. Well, I had one signed copy and another with a great story epitomising Goebbels' general modus operandi and amorality attached to it so it remained intact.

PK

Edited by PKeating

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I would just like to say what an excellent & informative thread this is turning out to be. Thank you Gentlemen & especially to Prosper for the extra background info. :beer:

Cheers

Don

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I wish there WAS a list of recipients. The award figures are certainly always definitively stated, and must have been centrally located.

So often ever since we have heard the old "you blew everything up in 1945" story and yet since Reunification lo and behold in many cases that was merely bureaucratese for "buzz off I'm not going to bother looking for YOU" so who knows in what ministerial sub-basement the original rolls may still lie waiting for a future Erhard Roth to get in there and TRANSCRIBE.

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Here is my contribution to this thread...

I have two medals... one cased and one single as well as one unique ribbon bar to share.

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This bar is unique as it is on a bakelite bar. This one is a Stogieman special! I bought it for the Lifesaving medal ribbon

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This bar is unique as it is on a bakelite bar. This one is a Stogieman special! I bought it for the Lifesaving medal ribbon

back

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I would love to find a bar with a first class ribbon! I have not seen one of those in person before!

I have just made a discovery on the bakelite bar. It seems too heavy to be made of that material. Using a magnet, I have determined that the underlying material is of steel or iron. Someone cut a solid piece of a metal bar and wrapped the ribbons around it to make the bar. Has anyone ever seen such a construction method?

The face of the ribbon bar is flat, unlike the slightly convex ribbon bars normally seen.

Paul

Edited by Paul Reck

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Here's the little lapel ribbons I mentioned in post #17

cheers Jason

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Jason,

I nice TR era lapel ribbons!

Chris,

Nice bar!! These are not too common mounted!

Is the number of Olympic medals awarded docuemented?

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Thanks Paul, I got this bar from Manions several years ago before they went down the tubes. The Olympic medal was awarded 54,915 times.

Chris

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