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Easty

Resistance medals?

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Good day all. New to the forum so please be gentle with me, ;)

I recently acquired a Kings Medal For Courage given to those overseas who helped the allied cause in WW2. Resistance fighters and partisans have always interested me and I'd like to put together a small representative group of medals given by the respective governments specifically for their efforts in fighting the German occupiers.

There are a lot of copies and late issues around so I know I've got to be wary. So far I just have the médaille de la résistance (Gaunt issue) and am now looking at the médaille des services militaires volontaires de la France Libre. Such is the minefield that there appears to be the bubble finish type and the smooth finish cross, but which is 'right' and which is a later issue? Not so concerned about 'gallantry' issues rather than the standard general issue type.

If there is a reference book on these I could be directed to or a collection online to study I would be very grateful for a heads up. Got an idea on the Greek and Belgian issues out there but the Polish resistance award seems a bit vague (late issues) and Norway, Holland etc. seem ultra scarce for the real thing.

Any help would be gratefully recieved.

Regards.

Easty.

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I guess I'll just get my coat then....... :lol:

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Don't be upset by the lack of answer to your mail. The question, as you put it, would call for quite some comment....

If you read French, I would suggest SOUYRIS-ROLLAND's book "Guide des ordres et décorations de la résistance et de la liberation. 2e guerre mondiale".. Published in 1985, it shows up occasionally on the 'net.

Best regards

Veteran

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For the Dutch Resistance Medals I would advice you to visit this excellent website: http://www.onderscheidingen.nl/nl/

In particular search for the next official (Governmental) resistance medals:

- Verzetsherdenkingskruis (inst. 1980) [Resistance Commemorative Cross]; a book was published with the completer roll of resistance fighters who were decorated with this medal

- Verzetskruis 1940-1945 (inst. 1947) [Resistance Cross 1940-1945]

- Verzetsster Oost-Azië 1942-1945 (inst. 1948) [Resistance Star East Asia 1942-1945]

Edited by Odulf

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Thanks guys. I was just trying to put a humorous spin on things as I realise it's a bit of a fringe subject. :)

My French is sadly pretty non existant but I've managed to work my way through a few sites and a couple of dealers lists have proved interesting and informative. No comments found re the 'types' but if it's a genuine item then that's all that matters really.

The Netherlands medals had proved hard to make out when it came to the Resistance. Just the Cross (replicas abound) which is very rare and out of reach price wise and from what I can understand it was deliberate policy by the Dutch Government not to issue a medal as it may cause 'division' in the post war population. Thanks for the tips Odulf and I will make a search for those mentioned.

It's an amazing subject to study and covers numerous countries so plenty to go on!

Thanks again.

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My grandfather's Dutch Resistance Commemorative Cross 1940-1945

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Ahhhhhhhhh..... :unsure:

Thanks for that Odulf and you must be very proud of your Grandfather. It's a beautiful medal and the ribbon is especially striking. I found the following via Google which sort of answers my confusion re the award of a Resistance Medal in Holland...........

It should not to be confused with the rarer and more prestigious Dutch Cross of Resistance (Dutch: Verzetskruis), the second highest decoration for valour in the Netherlands, which was instituted in 1946 and awarded to only 95 people. There was a belief after the War that awarding medals would make distinctions between different acts of resistance, all of which would have been punishable by death. After a first round of awards were made of the Dutch Cross of Resistance in 1946, it became politically difficult to agree a list of further recipients.

It seems that the Government quite rightly decided to reward the Resisters with a medal, but took their time doing so! Do you know what other medals he was given at the time of the war (or just after)? I know what I am looking for now and am glad that I can have a represtative medal for the Netherlands in my Resiters/Partisans group. They were a remarkable band of men and women and really suffered at the hands of the German occupiers.

Thanks for taking the trouble to post the image. Much appreciated.

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fascinating and relatively untouched subject in the English speaking world.

have you seen Stogiemans' Hungarian Partisan badges?

Also, have a look at the Bulgarian and Albanian partisan badges.

There are some excellent threads here on these.

Didn't the Danes also produce a Resistance medal?

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Hi Ulsterman.

Thanks for your reply. It really is an engrossing subject and it all started when I came across a King's Medal for Courage In The Cause Of Freedom and it's led me on from there. Previously I'd been solely a WW1 bore covering a small area regarding the RNR (T) Trawler section and the North Sea fishing industry in general at war. Brilliant subject especially as both of my Grandfathers owned boats back then and were involved in the submarine chasing and minesweeping operations.

As you say, it is not a widely covered subject in the UK but I have made contact with some amazing people since starting especially relating to the Polish Resistance. Got a list of books which should help me understand more and reckon it's going to be a seriously emotional journey! What they went through doesn't bear thinking about. Not too many medals to collect (which is a good thing) but some are very scarce and should keep me going for a while! Understanding for me first though.... then collecting!

I've looked at the Czech/Hungarian etc items online but don't really understand them yet. Language is an issue of course but I'm getting there. Will try to locate Stogieman's badges and thanks for the advice. It gets more complicated when you move to the countries which were swallowed up by the Russians post-war as the communist influence masks their war time anti fascist involvement. It's a steep learning curve but I've have found the whole subject amazing.

I note the Ulster username.... spent three wonderful years in Bangor when I was a kid back in the 1960s. Somewhat different when I went back a few years ago!!!!

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Ahhhhhhhhh..... :unsure:

Thanks for that Odulf and you must be very proud of your Grandfather. It's a beautiful medal and the ribbon is especially striking. I found the following via Google which sort of answers my confusion re the award of a Resistance Medal in Holland...........

It should not to be confused with the rarer and more prestigious Dutch Cross of Resistance (Dutch: Verzetskruis), the second highest decoration for valour in the Netherlands, which was instituted in 1946 and awarded to only 95 people. There was a belief after the War that awarding medals would make distinctions between different acts of resistance, all of which would have been punishable by death. After a first round of awards were made of the Dutch Cross of Resistance in 1946, it became politically difficult to agree a list of further recipients.

It seems that the Government quite rightly decided to reward the Resisters with a medal, but took their time doing so! Do you know what other medals he was given at the time of the war (or just after)? I know what I am looking for now and am glad that I can have a represtative medal for the Netherlands in my Resiters/Partisans group. They were a remarkable band of men and women and really suffered at the hands of the German occupiers.

Thanks for taking the trouble to post the image. Much appreciated.

My grandfather was conscripted in 1924, to become a reserve officer in the Infantry. In 1939 he was mobilized and in May 1940 he served as an Infantry platoon commander, but he saw no real action. Shortly after the occupation, all Dutch officers were pressed by the Germans to sign a document promising not to resist the Germans. By doing so they were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, because not signing this document would make them subject to become POW (and who should take care of their families, with the lawful Dutch Government in exile in England?), and so the vast majority of military personnel signed the document. If these demobilized soldiers would act against the occupier, they were liable to imprisonment of to be shot for breaking their oath. Never the less a number of officers started to organize a resistance, mainly lacally or regional, but as the war and the German occupation prolonged the resistance was organized on a more professional scale. The resistance was not a general organisation, it was very fragmented and the activities were manyfold.

He set up a local resistance mainly together with other military officers, policemen and council workers; the big trouble was How to keep it secret! He managed to get his resistance group unharmed through the war, the acts of resistance were: support to people on the run for the Germans; support to Allied airmen; gathering German military information to pass on to England; collecting and forgeing identity cards, money and funds for other resistance grou

ps, etc.

In 1944 all resistance activities were combined and the resistance workers were "militarized" to get them a military status so that they were subordinate to command structures, but also in (vain) hope that they would be regarded as soldiers and not as franc-tireurs by the Germans. This militarized organisation was named "Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten" (B.S.) with Prince Bernhard (the son in law of H.M. Queen Wilhelmina) as commander.

On 06-06-1946 a copper pin broach (20 x 25 mm) was instituted for ex-members of the B.S., this official badge was to be worn on the left breast pocket of the uniform (or lapel of civilian jackets), it became obsolete in 1983 (due to the institution of the Resistance Commemorative Cross 1980).

After the war, he was promoted to Captain and later to Major (with the Dutch Grenadier Guards), to be promoted to Lt.Colonel on pension in 1956.

His official decorations and medals were:

- Order of Orange Nassau, Knight, Civil Division (in 1974)

- Mobilisation Cross 1939

- Officers Long Service Cross, for 30 years

- Resistance Commemorative Cross (posthumous in 1980)

- Badge of the B.S.

He never bothered to wear his medals on his uniform, only his ribbon bar and the brass B.S. badge.

He died in 1975.

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On 06-06-1946 a copper pin broach (20 x 25 mm) was instituted for ex-members of the B.S., this official badge was to be worn on the left breast pocket of the uniform (or lapel of civilian jackets), it became obsolete in 1983 (due to the institution of the Resistance Commemorative Cross 1980).

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That's great information and a good read thanks Odulf and all the more valuable coming from someone with your personal insight. Nice also to see the photgraph of your Grandfather set in with the medals and he certainly had an impressive career.

Being English it's very hard for us to imagine being 'occupied' as it's not happened here since the Normans in 1066. For all of the hardships of war Britain experienced at home there can't be anything worse than having the enemy within and knowing that neighbours were being encouraged to report neighbours. The indignity of having to comply with the German demands 'or else' pretty much sums up those dark days of the Fascists as they spared no-one and the leaders of the countries who caved in to the Nazis have much to answer for... but happily most paid for their treachery in the end.

I will endeavor to try to collect these medals as a group when the opportunity arises. I've a feeling that the Resistance Cross will be a tough one though. Now having seen the badge for the first time it's also a 'must have', perhaps more important being so immediate after the war ended?

If you see any................... ;)

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Gentlemen,

A great string here and I hope that I can resurrect it for some further discussion...

The collection of Resistance Medals from World War II is my primary interest and I have acquired a humble collection of what I think (hope) are authentic pieces representing a great effort that differed from place to place all over the world with regard to nationality, politics, terrain, and environment.

If there are any further thoughts or references by any members out there I would be greatly appreciative, as well as any discussion on the veracity and contacts for collecting examples and the more rare pieces.

Thanks again,

M.

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Earlier posts in this topic have referred to the several  medals the Dutch government instituted to reward resistance against the Germans in WW II.

A little known medallion of the Netherlans, is the remembrance medal for the members of  "Medical Contact", a group of Dutch doctors that resisted the German occupation authorities. End 1941 the German Obermedizinalrat in the Netherlands instituted the so-called Artsenkamer of which all registred doctors had to become member with the exception of Jewish doctors. Of the more than 6000 registred physicians in the Netherlands, 4300 refused to become member and of the medical professors at the universities, only one became member. Doctors refused to execute the sterilisation and euthanasie laws of the Germans and to report wounded resistance fighters who came to them for medical assistance. They also refused to cooperate with medical exams for young Dutchmen who were recruited for the Arbeids einsatz in Germany, or would give statements that the person was medically unfit.

At one point in 1943, when the Obermedizinalrat tried to force physicians to become member of the Artsenkamer by arresting doctors who were active in the resistance, withdrawing their doctor's licence and confiscating their clinics (about 300 were sent to a concentration camp), at the iniative of the Medical Contact group, thousands of doctors decided to "renounce" their medical licence by covering their MD title on the nameplate at the frontdoor of their clinic, with a plaster. This "Klebe Aktion" infuriated the Germans, but these few centimeters of plaster were a clearly visible manifestation of mass resistance against the violation of Hippoctratic ethics by the occupier. Seys-Inquart, the Reichscommissar for the Netherlands finally gave in and the physicians were no longer forced to become member of the Artsenkamer, and those who were in concentration camps, released.

The coordination of this unique resistance of the Dutch medical sector against the occupation was in hands of the management of Medical Contact. After the war a remembrance non wearable medal was instituted for the members. The front shows a swastica being broken by a snake (the esculapius) with the surrounding words Alleen een vrij man kan een goed geneesheer zijn (Only a free man can be a good physician), and on the reverse Medische Contact MCMXLI-MCMXLV, with the name of the recepient. The medal I have in my collection was given to Dr. W.P. Plate, a gynaecologist who was active in Medical Contact. By the way, he was the gynaecologist who assisted the then princess Beatrix of the Netherlands with the birth of Prince Willem-Alexander in 1967, the present king.

I realise the story became somewhat long, but I hope you found it an intersting episode from a little known aspect of Dutch resistance during WW II.

Pieter

P1020796.JPG

P1020797.JPG

Edited by pieter1012

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pieter1012,

Intriguing history of medical resistance, may I find any other information or resources on these recognitions, the recipients, or the history?

 

Thank you Sir,

M.

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Hi Michael,

thank you for your interest in my contribution to the thread.

On the organization Medisch Contact (the original Dutch name) several articles have been published, but unfortunately all in the Dutch language. However, one of the members  published a book in English in 1982, describing not only his personal experiences as a member of Medisch Contact, but also the resistance activities of the organization as a whole. The author is Dr. Peter Voute and the title is "Only a Free man" (War memories of two Dutch doctors), published by The Lightening Tree, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In 1949, the Nederlandse Maatschappij tot bevordering der Geneeskunst (Royal Netherlands Medical Society, comparable to the AMA), asked a historian Dr. PH de Vries, to write, in cooperation with the Institute for War documentation (NIOD), a book about the history of Medisch Contact during the war. It is published under the title 1941-MC-1945, Geschiedenis van het Verzet der Artsen in Nederland (history of the resistance of doctors in the Netherlands). It gives a detailed account of the resistance activities of the doctors, but unfortunately all in Dutch, except for the German documents that are used.

The Medisch Contact group was established in 1941 when the German occupier dissolved the Royal Netherlands Medical Society, of which almost every licenced MD was a member. The deposed leaders of the Society organized an underground network of secret communication between physicians throughout the country, called simply Medisch Contact. It grew into a resistance organization. As far as I know, there is no published list of the members, and after the war in 1945, the board of the organization re-established  the Royal Netherlands Medical Society and abolished Medisch Contact. However, the Society still publishes a magazine, called Medisch Contact.

Regards, Pieter

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Great thanks for the insight and the reference to the history pieter - best to you in 2018 Sir.

 

Respectfully, M

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