I originally wanted to feature this award in my thread on GDR badges [see: Some DDR badges ] but felt it would warrant a separate thread on its own.
We will have a look at the Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Roten Kreuzes der DDR [Decoration of the German Red Cross of the GDR].
This was the highest decoration of the German Red Cross of the GDR. It was awarded in recognition of particularly meritorious achievements and long-term exemplary fulfillment of duty in the German Red Cross.
The decoration came in the customary three classes bronze, silver and gold. With a change of the award statutes in 1969, one higher grade was added: The Ehrenzeichen in Gold mit der Ehrenspange [Decoration in Gold with the Honor Clasp]. As the name implies, this was the gold grade decoration suspended from a separate, rectangular clasp. The clasp had a white obverse with a Red Cross symbol flanked by one golden oak leaf on each side.
The decoration was a round pin-back award. It circular center field bore the Red Cross Symbol on a white background. With earlier examples, the center field was enamelled; after 1973, it was painted. This was surrounded by dual borders. The inner border was decorated with oak leaves and had the words "FÜR VERDIENSTE" ["FOR MERIT"] in its lower part. The outer one bore the words "DEUTSCHES ROTES KREUZ" ["GERMAN RED CROSS"] in the upper half and "DEUTSCHE DEMOKRATISCHE REPUBLIK" ["GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC"] in the lower one. Recipients received a two-part set with the full-size version of the badge and a miniature version for civilian wear. The basic badge was hollow-backed, whereas the special honor clasp grade was solid-backed.
Let us start with cased examples of the bronze, silver and gold grades in the earlier enamelled version:
Obverse and reverse view of the bronze grade:
Obverse and reverse view of the silver grade:
Obverse and reverse view of the gold grade. Note the metal tag with the award number 10234:
Another example of the gold grade. This one has the award number 347: