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After many years collecting third reich items I have started to look seriously at Imperial German Items. This is all very new to me but I have a liking for Award Documents and while I know a few things about your basic TR document for various combat badges and medals, I am a bit confused with these Imperial documents. I am toying with the idea of collecting a few EK documents from the Imperial era but I noticed there seems to be two types of documents. One is your usual Besitzeugnis which I understand as that is the norm with TR documents but what are the Vorlaufiger documents. I apologise if these names are not spelt correctly.

I have also noticed that the Vorlaufiger documents seem to be rather plain and much more common than the other type. I have started my collection with a pair of documents awarded to Karl Lauernheimer (I think that is what is says) from Infanterie Reg 213 of the 207 Inf Division. I very much would appreciate a translation of both documents if any one can help. I know the second document is for the Hamburg Cross.

If possible would anyone know the history of this unit and where it was posted particularly around the time of the awards being given. I take it the dates are in fact when the medals were awarded and not the actual date the recipient won the medals.

Finally can anyone tell me how they store these documents. TR documents are primarily A5 size and fit in a nice leather folder I have but these two Imperial documents are much bigger and seem to be akin to the old "foolscape"size. Any hints would be helpful.





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there is no hard and fast rule as to what kind of Doc a man would get. There was a plan to award "official" docs at a later date, but this was canned in 1918... so....

Depending on the unit you can have a Besitzzeugnis, an Ausweis or half a dozen other formulations.

Some units just entered them in the pass book for the first year or so, then started issuing docs, some units started with big impressive docs from day one. Sometimes the division gave out the doc, sometimes the regiment, sometimes the battalion....

This has people believing that anyone could award an EK. In reality proposals were sent up to the Division, The Commanding General would approve and send the list back.... and depending on the division would either send the docs with the approval list, or more commonly delegate it down to Regimental level as far as issuing docs went.

There was no official guidline as to what doc should be issued. They can range from hand written, to fancy multi coulered, depending on where the unit was and how much the commander wanted to spend.



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"I take it the dates are in fact when the medals were awarded and not the actual date the recipient won the medals."

In your case it is the date the general signed the doc, which probably means it is the award date, unless he was catching up on a backlog.

Some units first started issuing docs in late 1915, in a few cases the doc is signed in 1916, but the passbook shows the award was made in 1914.

Hetre for example is a 1916 dated doc, but the IX Res Korps docs seem to have come out in 1916, and were issued retroactively, the date being the date where the doc was signed..


If the doc is signed at a lower level it may have an award date AND the date the Regimental commander signed it...

like here...


In some caes the date of the regt commander signature is shown, without mention of when the General had made the award...

like here..


and in some cases the award date is entered, but not the date when the doc was signed... like here...




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I would disagree with your assessment regarding the collecting of imperial era award documents. It is a quagmire of repros and forgeries and I would not suggest that anyone switch to collecting these. :whistle:

OK,OK maybe that is a little strong. :D

But seriously Phil, it is a fun field to collect in. There has been a growing interest and competition for the past decade and I cannot see it letting up as more and more collectors come to see the great variety and interesting history of these documents.

I think your documents are to Karl Sauernheimer. Notice how a basic private got such nice fancy documents. It's also pretty cool that so many of these documents have the original signatures of some very interesting general officers, not to mention such commanders as Willy Rohr, Ralf von Rango and many others.


Edited by Chip
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Thanks Chris appreciate your help and some interesting links which I enjoyed. It would seem I am about to embark upon a journey that could well see me addicted to Imperial Iron Cross documents. :D

Hi Phil,

From my own experience, there are three ways you can determine how your man earned his EKII, each quite daunting and likely to end in heartache (or at least heartburn!):

(1) get a copy of this man's Soldbuch. In there, in theory, there should be a notation of when & where he was wounded/went to the feldlazarette, etc. with some basic details.

(2) locate a copy of the relevant Unit History and, if it is one of the better ones with a roll of dead and wounded in it, look up you man therein

(3) wait until Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales (LAGeSo) reopens to research inquiries (don't hold your breath). Your man's medical records, at least in part, should be in their archives.

Happy hunting!


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Guys thanks so much for the help and kind words. Chip you are so right about the history. When I received these documents I just knew this was the field for me. They reek of history which is something I have never before experienced when collecting third reich items and thank you so much for the correct spelling of the guys name. I am indeed having trouble reading the script. Doesnt help that I dont speak or read a word of German but I can work out the odd word here and there. And Daniel, what you said about researching the document is something I intend to do. At the moment I have no reference works on anything earlier than 1939 so I have ordered a book on the Imperial German OOB which will help a bit I hope and give me a start.

A friend of mine in the states told me there are available good document holders these days to store said documents in. I have a small folder that holds my WW2 documents as they are all smaller size but here in Australia I cannot find anything suitable to safely hold these large documents. Any suggestions or links to where I could purchase from would be great.

Oh yeah I have already ordered my next document and am looking seriously at another.......oh well so much for paying off the credit card.


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