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Foreign Volunteers

Rick Research

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Just to begin posting some of the medals of the foreign (non-fascist) volunteers (another of my multitude of collecting sub-themes), . . . .


Established by the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), formerly East Germany, 17 May 1956. The Hans Beimler medal was awarded for services in the "International Revolution and Liberation Struggle of the Spanish Peoples 1936-1939." The medal was awarded to individuals and there were no multiple awards allowed. The medal was presented in the name of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. The medal is silver in appearance and has a diameter of 32 mm. On the obverse is a Portrait of Hans Beimler, Leader of the German Communist contingent in Spain. On the upper outer portion of the obverse is the inscription of the years of Hans Beiler's lifespan "1895-1936." The reverse displays the emblem of the International Brigades, a three-pointed star, whose points are superimpose over the inner circle of letters spelling out the words "INTERNATIONALE BRIGADEN" (INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES), and surrounded by an outer ring of letters "KAMPFER SPANIENS FREIHEIT 1936-1939" (FIGHTERS FOR SPANISH LIBERTY 1936-1939) with the years of the Spanish Civil War placed at the bottom. The medal is suspended from rectangular ribbon bar of red, yellow, and violet horizontal strips in equal proportion, these were the colors of the Spanish Republican Flag. On the outer edges of both sides are narrow vertical strips of black, red, and gold, the colors of the German Flag.

Bartel 144a.

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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BULGARIA: International Brigades in Spain Medal 1936-1939

Instituted: 28 May 1974.

Awarded: To Bulgarian and foreign citizens who participated in the struggle with the International Brigades with Spain?s Republican Army against Franco?s Nationalists.

Instituted on 28 May 1974 and awarded to Bulgarian and foreign citizens who participated in the struggle with the International Brigades with Spain?s Republican Army against Franco?s Nationalist. The obverse of the medal is 33 mm in diameter, circular in shape, and made from yellow metal. Pictured on the obverse is a map of Spain with the three-sided star of the internationalist fighter?s and an image of a clenched fist, which was the international communist salute. Written in Bulgarian are the wards for ?Fighters Against Fascism and Capitalism.? On the reverse is the five-pointed communist star, the bust of the Bulgarian Prime Minister, George Dimitrov, with the words ?Bulgarian International Brigades ? Spain ? 1936-1939? positioned around the outer edge. The medal is suspended from a five-sided ribbon holder with a multi-colored ribbon in equal widths of red, yellow, violet, white, green and again red strips that symbolizing the national colors of Bulgaria and Spain.

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POLAND: Medal Za Wasza Wolnosc i Nasza / Medal for Your Liberty and Ours

Instituted by decree of the State Council of 18 October 1956. Awarded to Polish volunteers who participated in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 on side of the Republic.

Badge: silver medal, 35 mm of diameter. Obverse: head of one of Republican army commanders, Gen. Swierczewski, ciricumscribed ZA WASZA WOLNOSC I NASZA (for your liberty and ours). Reverse: a three pointed star as worn by the Republican troops, surrounded by a laurel wreath, and with the inscription: XII / B I / 1936-1939 on it (13th International Battalion, named after Polish general Dabrowski, in which Polish volunteeers fought), and with the year of institution1956 below; around runs the circumscription DABROWSZCZAKOM (to members of the Dabrowski battalion).

Instituted by the Polish State Council on October 18th, 1956 and awarded to Polish volunteers who participated in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 on side of the Spanish Republic. The medal is silver and 35 mm in diameter. On the obverse is a bust portrait of General Swierczewski in profile. Gen. Swierczewski served as one of International Brigade commanders. On the outer portion of the obverse is the inscription "ZA WASZA WOLNOSC I NASZA" (FOR YOUR LIBERTY AND OURS). The reverse has the three-pointed star of the Republican troops. This three-pointed star was red in color and worn as a device on uniform headgear and sleeve cuffs to differentiate them as serving on the Republican side. On the medal the three pointed star is resting on a complete circled laurel wreath, and within the star is the inscription "XIII / BI / 1936-1939" in three lines. This represented the 13th International Battalion and the years of the Spanish Civil War. The 13th International Battalion was named after Polish General Dabrowski and held most of the Polish volunteers. At the center bottom of the Reverse is the year of institution "1956." Around the outer edge runs the inscription "DABROWSZCZAKOM" (TO MEMBERS OF THE DABROWSKI BATTALION). The ribbon is in red with a white central stripe, the colors of the Spanish Military Order of Merit and displayed in typical Polish fashion. In order of precedence it is worn between the "Auschwitz Cross" and the "Participation in the War of Defense Medal" in Poland.

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POLAND: Odznaka Pamiatkowa Dabrowszczakow / Jaroslaw Dabrowski Brigade Commemorative Decoration

Instituted in 1945 to honor the soldiers of the Jaroslaw Dabrowski XIII International Brigade, which fought on the Republican side during the Spanish civil war of 1936-1939. The brigade composed mostly of Polish volunteers was named in honor of Gen. Jaroslaw Dabrowski (1836-1871) who fell in defense of Paris during the Paris Commune of 1871.

Badge: 35 mm in diameter, made in white metal. The central part has the form of the three-pointed republican star depicting the bust of Gen. Dabrowski. The points of the star there are inscribed XIII / BI : 1936 : 1939. The star is surrounded by a laurel wreath with a scroll containing an inscription in Spanish POR VUESTRA LIBERTAD Y LA NUESTRA (for your liberty and ours). On the reverse there is a mounting screw.

Note 1: most surviving soldiers of the XIII International Brigade were later on awarded with the For Your Liberty and Ours Medal.

Note 2: in 1980 a replica of the decoration in gilt metal was conferred to a few bodies, not necessarily connected with the Spanish civil war, like the General Staff, the Political Academy or the Military History Institute.

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USSR: Warrior Internationalist Badge

A pretty familiar award, more associated in the common mind with Afghanistan than anything else, but it was awarded far more widely.

It was designed by A. Zhuk, and established 28 December 1988, initially for ?performance of internationalist duty? in Korea, Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Angola, Etiopia, and Afghanistan. Later to this list were added China (1924-1927), Spain (1936-39), Mongolia (1939), Egypt (1962-63, 1969-72, and 1973-74), and finally Cuba (1962-1964).

A total of 505,083 pieces were made by the Leningrad mint.

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And Rick had started out asking for numbers? These are the closest ones I can find: French (10,000), German (5,000), Polish (5,000), Italian (3,350), American (2,800), British (2,000), Yugoslavian (1,500), Czech (1,500), Canadian (1,000), Hungarian (1,000), and various Scandinavian (1,000). Obviously incomplete.

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