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Stalingrad Pendant


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Paul, I swapped it for something a few years ago on the off-chance. I had seen another one in a photograph but had never seen anything like this in the flesh, so that suggested that it was not something produced by fakers or fantasists.

It's actually a legitimate WW2 design, Peter. The so-called Stalingrad Shield was a 1970s fantasy piece whose central motif was based on the Tradition Badge worn on the shoulder straps of officers and NCOs of Grenadier-Regiment 134. It was the one heraldic nod the Hitler administration made to Stalingrad. This seems to be a "sweetheart" badge. It is certainly quite scarce. I have only seen a couple, one of which was just a photograph, in over thirty years.

The device was based on the Hoch-und-Deutschmeister cross and was worn as a tradition badge on the shoulder-straps by members of 44.Reichs-Grenadier-Division, formed in 1943 after the original 44. Infanterie-Division was all but wiped out at Stalingrad. Hitler bestowed the honour title "Hoch und Deutschmeister" on the new division which was formed in Austria and saw action in Italy in 1944 and then Hungary and Austria in 1945.

It is often stated that the emblem was worn by officers and NCOs of Infanterie-Regiment 134 in memory of their fallen comrades at Stalingrad. However, some sources state that the emblem was worn by officers, NCOs and enlisted men of the new 44. Reichs-Grenadier-Division "Hoch-und-Deutschmeister". Infanterie-Rgt 134 was destroyed at Stalingrad along with its parent division, 44 Infanterie-Division, and reformed as a Reichs-Grenadier-Regiment on the new division's ORBAT. It appears as Reichsgrenadier-Regiment "Hoch und Deutschmeister".

So, which story is correct? Was the emblem only worn by members of Reichsgrenadier-Regiment "Hoch und Deutschmeister", erroneously described as IR 134, the regiment it replaced, or were all members of the Hoch-und-Deutschmeister division eligible to wear it? Another source suggested that it was also worn on fieldcaps. I have never seen evidence of this but then, I have never seen a wartime photo of the emblem in wear on a shoulder strap although I am told they do exist. And what about enlisted men? Would they have worn this emblem on the side of fieldcaps like other tradition badges, given that it might look a bit odd on a plain EM shoulder strap?

This pendant could be a wartime piece intended for wives, mothers and sweethearts - and even sisters - of soldiers serving in the unit. If so, it would have been sold through the regimental tailor or shop and perhaps also by the jeweller who made it, if he had a retail premises.

PK

Edited by PKeating
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It did indeed. It came out around the same time as the "Arnheim" Shield and some other items. Here's a Hoch-und-Deutschmeister Tradition Badge widely accepted as being a genuine wartime piece.

PK

[Can't attach images so I will have to host it somewhere]

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I would agree that the fantasy piece was probably originally based on an authentic piece.... My guess is the cross shown by Prosper is most likely a memorial piece. Especially given the silver content/quality and most likely post-1945. Purely conjecture, but there it is.

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I tend to agree that it may not be a 1943-1945 piece because precious metals were a restricted resource by that stage. Someone asked privately how a commemorative pendant from the postwar period could have a swastika in its design. Infanterie-Regiment 134 was raised in Vienna and, as Rudolf Souval's output proves, the Austrians did not impose the same restrictions on Nazi symbols as the West Germans in the 1950s and 1960s. So, would this be an Austrian commemorative or "widow" pendant from the 1950s or 1960s, commissioned by a regimental association?

PK

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My piece and the HuDMK pendant from the www.stephan.de website, advertised for ?10.00 as a copy or newly-made item. It's a pity that the ?10.00 item isn't clearer for comparison purposes. But thanks for posting the links, Hardy. I'll check out the militaria-fund site later as it seems to be off-line at the moment.

PK

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