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Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia

Article about: Since I've commented a lot on other people's Freikorps items, I thought I would start a thread around the central theme of Freikorps and Weimar era and show some of my collection from time t

  1. #21

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    Since we're on the topics of skulls and now the Baltic campaign, here's some information and an example of the Iron Division Medal.

    Medaille der Eiserne Division

    Instituted in April 1920 by the Association of former members of the Iron Division (Das Vereins ehemaliger Angehöriger der Eiserne Division), the initiative for the institution of this award came from the commander of the West Russian Volunteer Army (russische Westarmee) Count Major-General Pavel Bermondt-Avalov.

    The Iron Division was raised on January 18, 1919 in Wainoden (Vaiņode, Latvia) by Major Josef Bischoff from remnants of the Imperial German 8th Army, the Freikorps Iron Brigade (Eiserne Brigade) and various other volunteers. On October 6, 1919 it was absorbed by the West Russian Volunteer Army and disbanded on December 31, 1919. The Association of former members of the Iron Division was formed on March 1, 1920.

    Iron Division former military personnel, non-combatants who assisted the unit in fighting Bolsheviks and those who supported post-war activities of the Association were eligible for this commemorative medal.
    Award documents were issued to those persons, and the medal itself had to be bought by veterans upon presentation of these certificates. Cost of medal ranged from RM6,50 to 8,00.

    The medal was 33 mm in diameter and was made of various alloys with silver finishing. Some medals are marked “A” on the jump-ring denoting the medal is made of alpacca, a type of imitation silver alloy.

    The obverse had an image of a “death’s head” “And yet” (“Und doch”) at the bottom as well as five small diamonds at its top.

    The reverse had an image of large curved triangular Teutonic shield with vertical cross and two numerals, “19” at the left and “19” at the right, thus forming a date “1919” – the year the Iron Division existed.

    The official black 25 mm wide ribbon had two thin 1 mm wide vertical white stripes close to the edges. Unofficial ribbons had two wide 4 mm stripes and looked similar to the iron cross ribbon.

    The medal was available for private purchase from 1920 to 1935 when it was prohibited for wear. Slightly more than 3,000 medals were issued.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insigniaFreikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Last edited by bolewts58; 05-17-2017 at 01:01 PM.

  2. #22

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    Quote by HPL2008 View Post
    It's from the text of the Oostlandlied, the song of the Flemish settlers in the east. It is found in several German song books of the 19th and 20th centuries. The quote was also adopted as the title of a 1925 book by the German author Hans Ferdinand Gerhard.
    Well that settles it. Never too old to learn! Thanks for this information. The spelling is not medieval though. Recently (19th 20th century) respelled?

    Cheers,
    Emile

  3. #23

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    Quote by emileverbunt View Post
    Well that settles it. Never too old to learn! Thanks for this information. The spelling is not medieval though. Recently (19th 20th century) respelled?

    Cheers,
    Emile
    Of course not medieval spelling, since the poem dates to the Romantic/neo-Gothic period of the 19th century and is a modern translation. But, the original poem dates from the Middle Ages and is part of the origin story dating as far back as the 12th century. The date '1184' is referenced on the SSVK medal.

  4. #24

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    Some of this information repeats what I wrote in a previous post. But, I wanted to continue with a more complete overview of the German Einwohnerwehr and especially the Bavarian Einwohnerwehr.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Patriotic art postcard for the Landesschutz and Einwohnerwehr

    Origins of the German Einwohnerwehr (1919-1921)

    After the suppression of the "Spartacus Revolt" in January 1919, the staff of the Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Division (GKSD) established the first citizens brigades (Bürgerwehren). Since they successfully contributed to the stabilization in the face of communist and worker uprisings in early 1919, on March 20, 1919, the Reich Ministry of Defense instructed all general commands to establish local citizens brigades following a uniform design under a Reich Central Office. As well, regional offices for the Einwohnerwehr were established under the overall command of the Reichswehr. Their main task was to cooperate with the police in the case of a nationwide emergency. But, they also acted as a covert army reserve in support of the regular army.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Recruiting Poster for the Berlin Einwohnerwehr distributed in January 1919 by the GKSD
    It says, "Berliner. Protect Yourself and Your Family. Report to the Einwohnerwehr"


    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Berlin Einwohnerwehr at the Barricades, January 1919.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Ausweis (ID) for a Wehrmann of Einwohnerwehr Wilmersdorf-Berlin issued by the GKSK (Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Korps) signed by Hauptmann Waldemar Pabst (He ordered the execution of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, leaders of the Spartacists)

    Despite the Inter-allied Military Commission’s order in the summer of 1919 to disarm and to cease acting as a military reserve, the Einwohnerwehr continued to operate by becoming an arm of the interior ministries. They re-defined themselves as "voluntary, apolitical self-defense associations” and continued to recruit from local dignitaries, war veterans and citizens. Using hunting clubs, gymnastics and sports clubs as covers, they secretly continued to support the Reichswehr in both interior conflicts as well as conflicts on the borders. The Reichswehr continued to secretly arm the Einwohnerwehr and they were supported by extensive private donations, especially from business and other state associations.

    The allies viewed the citizen brigades as illegal military reserve formations. As a result of the Einwohnerwehr’s support of the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch on March 13, 1920, the allies ordered the complete dissolution of all Einwohnerwehren on March 31, 1920. After the failure of the Putsch, the Prussian interior Ministry attempted to keep the Einwohnerwehr, arguing they were needed to support the police in maintaining order. However, by the summer of 1920, all Einwohnerwehren, except in Bavaria were disbanded or reformed as sports clubs.


    Einwohnerwehr Bayern (1919-1921)


    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Recruiting postcard for the Bavarian Einwohnerwehr

    Self-defense Associations in Bavaria emerged from the original German concept of the citizens and people’s brigades. As a result of the overthrow of the Bavarian government and setting up of the Munich Soviet Republic, Rudolf Kanzler (1873-1956), commander of Freikorps Chiemgau was given the responsibility in mid-April, 1919, of building the Bavarian Einwohnerwehr by government in exile in Bamberg, supported by the Minister of the Interior, Gustav von Kahr (later responsible for stopping Hitler’s 1923 putsch) and the Reichswehr.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Rudolf Kanzler, Commander of Freikorps Chiemgau

    The first Einwohnerwehr was formed in May 1919 in Rosenheim from former members of Freikorps Chiemgau.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Sleeve badge, Auxiliary Supporter badge and Stickpin, Einwohnerwehr Chiemgau

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Einwohnerwehr Chiemgau entering Munich during the annual Einwohnerwehr Sportsfest, September 26, 1920

    After the defeat of the Munich Soviet Republic by a combined Freikorps/Reichswehr/Einwohnerwehr force led by Freikorps Epp on May 2-3, 1919, some Freikorps members migrated to the ranks of the Einwohnerwehr. Part of the countrywide covert resistance to Allied disarmament demands, the Bavarian Einwohnerwehr continued until June 1921, to carry arms, a year after other Einwohnerwehren in Germany had been dissolved and transformed into underground paramilitary organizations.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Einwohnerwehr München

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Armband for Wehrmann of Einwohnerwehr München

    In September 1919, the Bavarian government and the Reichswehr set up a central office to oversee all Bavarian civil brigades in one association - der Landesverband der Einwohnerwehren Bayerns. Hauptmann Ernst Röhm acted as liason between the Reichswehr and Einwohnerwehr and was principally responsible for all arms depots. By Fall, 1919 the combined strength of all Bavarian Einwohnerwehren reached 400,000. Another 30,000 were held in reserve. With the official dissolution of various Bavarian Freikorps, especially, Freikorps Oberland in the Spring of 1920, Freikorps veterans swelled the ranks of the Einwohnerwehr.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Armband for Gauleiter of Einwohnerwehr Gau Passau

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Armband badge for: Einwohnerwehr Nürnberg, Einwohnerwehr Gau Isarwinkel-Mangfall

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Armband badge for Einwohnerwehr Würmgau

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Ausweis (ID) for a Wehrmann of Einwohnerwehr Regensburg

    But, by June 1921, the Bavarian Einwohnerwehr was forced to officially disband. However, these civil brigades merely went underground, forming paramilitary arms of political parties such as “Bayernwacht” (1924-1933) of the Bayerische Volkspartei (BVP) and the ultra-rightwing, Monarchist “Bund Bayern und Reich” (1921-1935) which later became a branch of the Stahlhelmbund in 1929. Other former Einwohnerwehr, especially from Southeast Bavaria went to Austria to help formed the Heimwehr (Austrian Home Guard), 1921-1938.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Badges for BAYERNWACHT, Bund Bayern und Reich, and the Austrian Heimwehr (District Styrland)
    Last edited by bolewts58; 05-25-2017 at 04:36 PM.

  5. #25

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    In addition to the Einwohnerwehr, several cities formed units called Stadtwehr. Reference books and therefore many collectors tend to lump these groups in with Einwohnerwehr, as just another term for citizen brigades. However, that isn't exactly accurate, in my opinion. Stadtwehr functioned somewhere between Einwohnerwehr and the Freikorps/Reichswehr, as a kind of military police auxiliary.

    For example, Stadtwehr Bremen wore military uniforms and a special serial-numbered gorget, similar to gorgets worn by MPs in the German army.

    Here is the 1st model of the gorget complete with chain worn by Stadtwehr Bremen.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia

    Here is an example of the 2nd model which used lugs to hold the chain.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia

    The 1st model has a 3-digit serial number and the 2nd model has a 4-digit serial number. The reason for this is unknown. But, obviously each Stadtwehrmann would have been registered with a specific service number and would have returned the gorget after completing service.


    Stadtwehr Augsburg in Bavaria wore a serial-numbered armband, like an Einwohnerwehr. They also had a pin-back breast badge made in lacquered tombak by Carl Poellath, Schrobenhausen which acted as a service badge and possibly an honor badge.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Last edited by bolewts58; 05-26-2017 at 06:50 AM.

  6. #26

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    Great material bolewts58.

    The gorget was included in my book "Ringkragen und Brustschilder im Dritten Reich".
    Here the page about the wearing of the above shown gorget.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia

  7. #27

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    Quote by Wilhelm Saris View Post
    Great material bolewts58.

    The gorget was included in my book "Ringkragen und Brustschilder im Dritten Reich".
    Here the page about the wearing of the above shown gorget.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Thanks Wilhelm. The man in the top left photo wears the 1st model while those in the top right wear the 2nd model. There seems to be a mixture of both models in the bottom picture, which shows that both types were used simultaneously.

  8. #28
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    I have a few in my stick pin collection that might fit in this thread. The first two are straight pins

    Danzig Skull, Freiwilligen- Regiment Reinhard (civil badge ?) Silesian Eagle 1st and 2nd class stickpin

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia


    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia

  9. #29

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    The skull could be Freikorps related, but could also be Third Reich. It's hard to know about these.

    The Reinhard stickpin is a fake, unfortunately. These all seem to originate with an eBay Germany seller with the ID: china-deko.

    The SA I and II pin is a nice one from the Third Reich period.

    Here is a genuine Reinhard stickpin.

    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insigniaFreikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insigniaFreikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia
    Last edited by bolewts58; 05-27-2017 at 07:21 AM.

  10. #30
    ?

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    I'm sorry to hear that about the Reinhard pin but it's better to know that be ignorant of the facts. I did indeed buy it from an ebay seller in Germany with a different name. I have to check what else I may have bought from this person. The Husken book also let me down again. The poor illustration in the Katalog der Abzeichen looks exactly like what I purchased otherwise I would not have bought it. I also bought this fake DLV Ballon pilot pin which was also in the Husken book. Fortunately I was able to return that one. Thank you !



    Freikorps and Weimar era awards and unit badges and insignia

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