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Bermont Avalov Verdienstkreuz mit Totenkopf

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I would be grateful for any details of the Bermont Avalov Verdienstkreuz mit Totenkopf or any of the myriad awards to the West Russian Volunteer Army /Iron Division circa 1919, German ebay seem to have them but I am guessing they are all fakes, thanks, Paul

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From P. Pashkov's "The White Armies' Orders & Badges in the Civil War 1917-1922" (Russian language, Paris 1961, English translation Akron, 1983) the sole "recognized" *** awards were

a black enamel screwback version of the Johanniter Cross and

the campaign medal you've got on your wonderful new medal bar.

As far as I have ever been aware NEITHER West Army award was ever ISSUED to anyone-- they got a cheap set of papers that let them go out and buy their own actual award.

***"In exile" (so presumably well into the 1920s) our musical "royal" invented the versions with piratical embellishment and swords for "military" persons (so... camp followers got the types without Xs? :rolleyes: ) as two classes-- around the neck, or on a medal bar. The black ribbon had (one?) white-blue-red edge for Russians and ONE red-white edge for Germans-- not, coincidentally, the exact same ribbon in the latter case as was used for the Austro-Hungarian wartime decorations of their branch of the Order of Malta.

I've got a loose length of THIS "pirates" version Bermont-Avalov 2nd class medal bar ribbon around someplace (the Austrian version was 40mm wide while the German is 25mm) and...

this ribbon bar:

This is peculiar for two reasons:

1) ANY of these fantasy/vanity exile awards are quite hard to find in German groups after the Nazis took over, and

2) the "pirate" versions were, I suspect, SOLD outright to folks with no Baltic 1919 action at all-- as fundraisers to keep His Royal Highness in the style to which he had grown accustomed.

These versions, unlike those actually granted for real shoulder-to-shoulder combat action, disappeared from view generally in the 1930s when all the equally unofficial GERMAN 1919-21 awards were no longer tolerated, either. The skull-and-bones crosses came in a number of versions, based on what their purchasers felt like paying. I suppose they are the sort of kitsch that once appealed to 1960s motorcycle gang members, so these days there probably are zillions of fakes out there.

I wouldn't buy any loose, unattributed pieces.

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Well, the link seems to have died. Here's a bit of what it was on about.....................


Only scant information survives about the origins of the Den Danske Malteserorden. The founder was Colonel Paul Mikhailovitch Bermondt, a White Russian adventurer who sought under the German/Polish General R?diger von der Goltz to create a German controlled Latvia and to restore a Russia Czar in the Baltic Provinces, in 1919. Defeated he fled to Denmark. He adopted his maternal uncle?s name and rank, to become Prince, or Count, Colonel Paul Mikhailovitch Avaloff #1.

In Denmark circa 1920, Bermondt set up the "Sovereign Imperial Russian Chivalric Order of Malta" (Souveraner kaiserliche-russischer Malteser-ritter-orden).

It is alleged that Bermondt acquired the patronage of King Alexander of Yugoslavia #2. By name, Bermondt's Order lay claim in part to the Russian tradition. However, neither Bermondt, nor his maternal uncle (Avaloff), were Hereditary Commanders of, or had been previously connected to, the Russian Grand Priory #3. Bermondt?s creation was simply of analogous nature. Also there is no evidence of contact between Bermondt?s group in 1928 or afterwards, with the Russian Grand Priory following the resumption of its activities in exile in Paris. Sometime in the mid 1930s, Bermondt had sought to gain the support of Grand Duke Cyril, but this was refused #4. There is no evidence that thereafter any support or patronage was given by members of the Romanov family to Bermondt?s Order. At some stage in the inter-war period, Bermondt and his Order, moved to Germany, where it was suppressed by the Nazis #5.

In 1950 a refutation to the claims of Bermondt's Order was given jointly by the successor to the Russian Throne, and by a legal expert in Russian Law. Grand Duke Andrew and Baron Michel de Tauble repudiated any claim of the Bermondt Order via the patronage of King Alexander of Yugoslavia to be a "so-called" restoration of the Russian Grand Priory as being "null and void in the legal context" #6.

On the 31 August 1934, in Copenhagen a private non-political Christian organisation was created called the "Sovereign Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem of Denmark". For a brief period the "Grand Chancellor" of this group was H.R.H. Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark. From this venture, on the 24th June 1946, one of the members - Mr. Grundall Sjallung founded the Grand Priory of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem in Denmark. In 1976, the membership of this group was eventually reconciled with the original group founded in 1934.

In 1948 a Danish Architect - Charles P Christensen formed his own Order of St. John. In 1951 Christensen obtained a decree issued in Leipzig, Germany from "The Sovereign Russian Imperial Order of Knights of Malta", which was signed by Max Schiffel von Frauenstein who had been a member of the Schismatic Order created in 1946. In that year the Grand Master of the Sovereign Russian Imperial Order of Knights of Malta was given as Prince Paul Avalov-Bermondt #7. Thus Christensen?s group inherited the mantle of the original group founded by Bermondt.

Den Danske Malteserorden ? The Danish Order of Malta, the name by which the group is now known, in 1967 joined forces with Cassagnac?s French group (The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem). After Christensen?s death in 1963 Carl Wilhelm Lehman became Prior until 1969, followed by Poul Hall Jensen to 1990, then Ove Petersen until 1994, Johan A. Johansen until 1996. The present Prior is David K Svarre. Claimed by the group, as the first Prior in 1934 was Poul von Reitzel, followed by Charles P Christensen in 1939.

In the early 1950s a break-away group was formed by Jens Ole Rostock, alias ?Count of Hermosa?, known as the "Sovereign Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Denmark". The group today is known as Den Danske Johanniterorden. A further schism occurred in Den Danske Maltesorden in 1984, when about half the membership seceded and reconciled with the 1934 ?Order?#8.

With such a complex and interwoven history, both a Russian foundation of post 1917 (via the Bermondt foundation of 1920), and the 1934 foundation are taken as the origins of Den Danske Maltesorden. The Bulletin of the Russian Grand Priory of Malta (claiming the 1964 King Peter Constitution and independent since 1990), in such manner confuses the two foundations. It states that the group "is a descendant of the old Souverain Kaiserlischer Russicher Malteseorden, under Pavel Michallaiwitsch Awaloff, which was forbidden by the Nazis in Germany but was recreated in Denmark in 1934, where it has continued ever since as an autonomous Priory." #9. The Order?s own Web Site, argues for the twin foundation #10.

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Had this long folded never used length (? length placed in an award presentation case) since I was a nipper-- don't even remember where it came from. Actual width 28mm:

But this is the "German" ribbon of the Piratical Version, from the long off days before eSkullduggery.

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  • 3 weeks later...

:Cat-Scratch:One LONE example, indeed!!!!

I don't remember you ever showing that before-- what's the back look like?

That's Ribbon Bar Article material, there! :cheers:

I had it back up on the other forum in 2004.

Off the top of my head, I don't remember what the back looks like. I'll snap a picture when I get home from work this evening.

Also, I found this one on my hard drive:


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