N025390 1ST CLASS SOCIAL WELFARE NECK DECORATION. (Ehrenzeichen für Deutsche Volkspflege I Klasse)

BACKGROUND: On May 1ST 1939, Hitler introduced a series of four Social Welfare awards to replace the earlier DRK, Deutsche Rote Kreuz, (German Red Cross) awards. The earlier DRK awards only recognized loyal service in the DRK while the new Social Welfare awards recognized a wider scope of social welfare service. The new Social Welfare awards could be bestowed to all personnel who actively participated in Social Welfare assistance programs including the DRK, the WHW, Winterhilf Werk, (Winter Relief Program), personnel involved with the care of the sick and wounded, live saving services, excluding Fire and Police personnel and care of German nationals in foreign countries. In December 1939 amendments of the introductory order decreed that the bestowal of the Social Welfare awards to military personnel follow a specific rank level structure with the first class award reserved for General ranks, the second class award for the ranks of Oberst and Oberstleutnant, the third class award for the ranks of Major and Hauptmann and the fourth class for award to the ranks of Leutnant or below. Further amendments of January 30TH 1942 introduced crossed swords cypher for the third and fourth class awards for distinguished service or bravery in wartime.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Large, nice quality, two piece, die struck, 1ST class Social Welfare neck decoration with a fire gilted finish and black and white enamel work. The award is in the form of a 52mm square Greek style cross with fire gilted outer edges and white enamel arms with a large stylized black enameled national eagle with down swept wings clutching a wreathed swastika in its talons superimposed to the obverse center. The eagle features fire gilted detailing including the wreath while the canted swastika is finished in black enamel. The reverse of the award is plain with the same fire gilted outer edges and white enamel arms as on the obverse. The top arm of the cross has a soldered suspension ring with loop and a large, vertically ribbed, fire gilted, suspension loop with dual embossed oak-leaves to the obverse. The award comes complete with a its original ribbon. Of Note: After the introduction of the Social Welfare awards personnel who had been previously bestowed a DRK award retained the right to wear it or replace it for a Social Welfare award of the same grade.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $1,700.00

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