Medaille zur Erinnerung an die Heimkehr des Memellandes

The Return of Memel Commemorative Medal, a.k.a. Memel Medal

The Return of Memel Commemorative Medal was the final award in the series of three “occupation medals” and was instituted on May 01, 1939. It commemorated an annexation on March 22, 1939 of the East Prussian District of Memel (Lithuanian: “Klaipėdos kraštas”, German: “Memelland”), at that time part of Lithuania. Medal was awarded to military and police personnel who took part in annexation, NSDAP members, distinguished ethnic Germans who lived in Memelland and next of kin of those who fell during the struggle for unification of the district with the Reich. 

Obverse of the medal was initially designed by professor Richard Klein (07.01.1890 – 31.07.1967) and was similar to two other “Anschluss medals”, i.e. Commemorative Medal of March 13, 1938 and Commemorative Medal of October 1, 1938.  

Obverse showed an allegoric composition of two male figures symbolizing Germany and Memelland the former bearing German flag and the latter with broken shackles raising to a podium stand with the Wehrmacht eagle.

Design of the reverse was created by a sculptor Eduard Hanisch-Concée, designer of Prague Castle Bar (Spange “Prager Burg”). It had an inscription “In Commemoration of the return of Memel District on March 22, 1939” (“Zur Erinnerung an die Heimkehr des Memellandes 22.März 1939”) placed in the center and surrounded by an oak leaves wreath.

Round medal was 32 mm in diameter. Being made of bronze, zinc and alloys it differed in color, from light yellow to olive brown.

The ribbon color scheme was based on the traditional yet unofficial flag of Memelland: it was white with two wide red stripes close to edges and wide central green stripe.

The Return of Memel Commemorative Medal was awarded until December 31, 1940. Totally 31,322 medals were awarded.

Memel 1