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Medaille des Soldaten-Siedlung-Verbandes Kurland

Medal of the Soldiers Settlement Association Kurland

This commemorative medal was instituted by the Soldiers Settlement Association “Kurland” (Soldaten-Siedlungs Verband “Kurland”). This organization was formed in 1920 and consisted of several veterans associations whose members voluntarily fought in the Baltic provinces of the former Russian Empire against Bolsheviks from 1918 till December 1919.

An initiative for the institution of this award came from the chairman of the Association, Karl Freiherr von Manteuffel who promoted his idea to the commander of the West Russian Volunteer Army count General major Pavel Bermon(d)t-Avalov (04.03.1877-27.12.1973).

Award document was issued to those eligible for the medal, i.e. former German volunteers and influential civil supporters who assisted in fighting Bolshevik forces in the Baltic provinces. The medal itself had to be bought by veterans upon presentation of an award document.

Design of the medal was created by the famous German Art Nouveau illustrator, decorative artist and art teacher professor Emil Doepler, “der Jüngere” (29.10.1855-21.12.1922). It’s worth mentioning here that Doepler was also a designer of the Weimar coat-of arms (November 11, 1919) that was adopted by the German President Friedrich Ebert following a decision of the Reich’s government.

The round medal (33 mm in diameter) had a drop-shaped top for suspension.

Obverse shows an image of a knight riding eastwards and holding a shield in his left hand and a spike in the right. A capital letter “D” is placed under the front right hoof. This composition is encircled by two dates in Roman numerals “MCLXXXIV – MCMXIX ”, standing for “1184 – 1919” on the top and inscription “We want to ride to the East” (“Naer Oostland willen wy ryden”) in capital letters in Flemish. Dates are separated from the legend by two Teutonic crosses. This inscription is a first line of a medieval Flemish ballad of Flemish settlers in Germany “To the East” (“Naer Oostland”):

“Naer Oostland willen wy ryden,
Naer Oostland willen wy mee
Al over die groene heiden
Frisch over die heiden
Daer isser een betere stee.
Als wij binnen Oostland komen
Al onder dat hoge huys,
Daer worden wy binnen gelaten,
Frisch over die heiden
Zy heeten ons willekom zijn.
Ja, willekom moeten wy wezen,
Zeer willekom moeten wy zyn;
Daer zullen wy avond en morgen
Frisch over die heiden
Nog drinken den koelen wyn.
Wy drinken den wyn er uit schalen
En 't bier ook zoo veel ons belieft,
Daer is het zoo vroolyk te leven,
Frisch over die heiden
Daer woont er myn zoete life”.

Reverse bears von Manteuffel’s family coat-of-arms superimposed on a cross with four capital letters “S”, “S”, “V” and “K” (standing for Soldaten-Siedlungs Verband “Kurland”) between its arms. The maker’s mark (Oertel, Berlin) can be found in the lower left part of a reverse.

Initially medal was struck of glided bronze and later of copper.

Miniatures of the medal were also manufactured.

Ribbon is bicolor and consists of two vertical wide stripes – black on the left and white on the right.

Medal of the Soldiers Settlement Association Kurland was awarded in 1920-1923.

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