Lübeck Hanseatic Cross was instituted in one class only by the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic city of Lübeck (Freie und Hansestadt Lübeck) on August 21, 1915 according to the three-party agreement between governments of all the three Hanseatic cities, i.e. Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck. Though the award was instituted jointly during discussions held in Hamburg, each Senate ratified its decoration separately, the Lübeck version being established first – on August 21, 1915. The Hamburg cross followed on September 10 and the Bremen cross – on September 14.
Lübeck Hanseatic Cross was issued to the following military personnel regardless of rank and social status:
- officers, NCOs and other ranks of the Infanterie-Regiment Bremen (3.Hanseatisches) Nr.162;
- crew of the light cruiser “Lübeck” (SMS Lübeck);
- crew of other warships of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) based in Lübeck;
- military personnel of units permanently stationed in Lübeck;
- military personnel of units temporarily stationed in Lübeck in time of war;
- natives and citizens of Lübeck serving in other units;
- officers of non-Hanseatic units that comprised of Lübeck natives, even if they were not numerous;
- military personnel of non-Hanseatic units that fought alongside Hanseatic units and rendered them combat assistance;
- medical service volunteer assistants involved in caring of the wounded soldiers in the battlefield.
When awarded for bravery or combat merit Lübeck Hanseatic Cross was an equivalent of the Prussian Iron Cross.
An award had a shape of an equilateral cross pattée with a superimposed central circular medallion. An obverse was red enameled, while a reverse had silvered surface.
An obverse of medallion shows a lesser coat of arms of Lübeck known since XIV century – double-headed black eagle as a symbol of Imperial freedom that city enjoyed since 1226, bearing the Hanseatic white and red breast shield. Decorations manufactured in 1915-1918 had red beaks and feet of eagles as their distinctive feature, while eagles’ feet on post-WWI awards were black.
A reverse of medallion bore a Gothic inscription “For Merits in War
Lübeck Hanseatic Cross measuring 40x40 mm and weighing
An award was worn suspended from a silk
Lübeck Hanseatic Cross was the least awarded among all the three Hanseatic crosses. Thus, approximately 8,000 Lübeck Hanseatic Crosses were issued.