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Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen

German Field Honour Badge

German Field Honour Badge was instituted in 1923 by administration board of one of numerous post-war veterans’ associations, Hamburg-based “Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen e.V. [eingetragener Verein]”. Like all the other numerous unofficial Weimar-era badges, Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was not awarded in the true sense of the word and had to be privately purchased at former soldiers’ own expenses. Those who wanted to add that elegant badge to their decorations had to file an application in written form acknowledging their combat experience during the Great War. Upon verification they were subsequently issued with a numbered award document (Besitzzeugnis) that actually authorized purchase of a badge from a jeweller’s store. Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was also available for purchase via collect on delivery, provided an application letter was properly filled and payment done in full.

Conceived as a totally commercial product, Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was offered for sale together with various tying products, e.g. presentation cases and decorative large-format Commemorative diplomas (Gedenkblatt des Weltkrieges 1914-1918).

Design of the Deutsches-Feld-Ehrenzeichen was elaborated by its first manufacturer, Hamburg-based company “Fahnen und Ordenfabrik M.Fleck & Sohn”.

The badge had a shape of a vertically elongated eight-pointed silver star with superimposed white enameled cross measuring 42-45x36 mm and a central oval medallion (22x18,5 mm) bordered with small gilt beads. A medallion showed a helmet-clad unarmed German soldier returning home from a battlefield in full marching order. Gilt crossed swords measuring 40x1,6 mm and pointing upwards were situated between arms of the cross

German Field Honour Badge was worn on the lower left part of a tunic or civil attire and was attached by a vertical pin and catching hook soldered to its reverse. Backside of a badge bore several inscriptions in three or four horizontal lines, viz. a name of the badge or a name of its founder (Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen, or Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen e.V.) in Gothic letters, business location of the founding association (Hamburg 3, or Hamburg 11), as well as an oval patent mark (Ges.Gesch.). 

Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen measuring 63-64х52-54 mm and weighing 32 g approximately was made of white metal with gilt and silver finish of certain elements and white enamel. Badges differed in size and pin type depending on a manufacturer and a period of production. 20 mm frock coat miniatures, needle-back miniatures and buttonhole miniatures were manufactured as well. It’s worth mentioning here that unlike full-size badge, miniatures had simplified medallions bearing head and shoulders portrait of a soldier in helmet only.

The badge was sold either in a cheap cardboard case that bore logotype of a manufacturer (or without such), or in a fine expensive dark blue or black presentation box.

Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen was available for private purchase until mid 1934, and 160,000 badges approximately were sold, 160,285 being the latest known number of award document that was issued on May 15, 1934. However, despite nearly a decade of commercial production, German Field Honour Badge was distributed among veterans gradually. Thus, only 40,000 badges were sold within the first eight years, most probably because Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen initially went rather unnoticed facing tough competition from myriads of other commemorative unofficial badges that flooded post-war Germany. Large-scale advertising campaign led by founders of the badge in the beginning of 30s made it possible to increase sale of German Field Honour Badge three-fold. Hence sales peak fell on 1933 and first six months of 1934, when 120,000 badges were successfully distributed among veterans. However, according to a Decree published on November 14, 1935 (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Gesetzes über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 14.November 1935) that put into effect a Supplement to the Law regarding state awards of April 07, 1933, wearing of a Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen was prohibited.

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Deutsches Feld Ehrenzeichen 1