Original German WWII Era Knight's Cross of the War Merit Cross - KvK - Assembled 1950s
Original Items: Only One Set Available. After the end of WWII, USGI's brought home a multitude of German WWII items, including all types of medals, awards, and other memorabilia. By the late 1940s, there was a booming collector's market for these items, and many dealers were making trips to Germany to bring back masses of militaria for the market.
As prices rose and supplies fell, it was somewhat inevitable that replicas would be made, as many were able to locate original dies for casting, and the local areas were happy for the business. One such company was Steinhauer & Lück of Lüdenscheid, Germany, who had produced many awards during the War. There were many other companies in the city that also had produced the awards. The city was not a major military target, as their main industry was clothing accessories, and being in Western Germany, they did not suffer from the destruction wrought by the Red Army. As such, the companies in the area retained many original WWII production components, including those for the highly sought after "Knights Cross of the Iron Cross", as well as the less sought after "Knights cross of the War Merit Cross".
It wasn't until 1947 that the production of items with NSDAP insignia was banned, so for a few years in the late 1940s, there was a relatively large industry making replica examples for servicemen to collect and take home.
This is one such post war assembled / produced example, and to the untrained eye it looks like a genuine WWII example as it was made from original World War Two dies. Indeed, it is the same silvered alloy construction as the originals, and minor details, such as the lack of markings, or the type of finish, is what gives them away. Some of the parts used to make this were originally produced during WWII, but there is no way to entirely sure which ones.
This is the second highest grade of the award, only behind the Gold Knights cross, which was never really put into production, with only two recipients "on paper." It measures 2 5/16"H x 2 1/16"W. It is the version "without swords", which is for actions not directly related to combat.
This example is made of a non-magnetic alloy, and shows a well patinated finish, which has had almost all of the silver wash flake away. There is a bit remaining, but it is tarnished, and overall the award has a dark finish. It has a large amount of detail on the cross, and is just a great looking example. The hanger loop still shows a good amount of the original silvering, unlike the medal.
A great chance to fill a hole in your German WWII Medal collection. Ready to display!
The War Merit Cross (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) was a decoration of NSDAP Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to military personnel and civilians alike. By the end of the war it was issued in four degrees, and had a related civil decoration. It was created by Adolf AH in October 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars. The award was graded the same as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service "not in direct connection with combat", and without swords for meritorious service to civilians in "furtherance of the war effort". As with the Iron Cross, Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level.
The ribbon of the War Merit Cross was in red-white-black-white-red; that was, the red and black colors being reversed from the ribbon of the World War II version of the Iron Cross. The ribbon for the War Merit Medal was similar, but with a narrow red vertical red strip in the center of the black field. Soldiers who earned the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords wore a small crossed-swords device on the ribbon. The War Merit Cross 1st Class was a pin-backed medal worn on the pocket of the tunic (like the Iron Cross 1st Class). The ribbon of the War Merit Cross 2nd Class could be worn like the ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class (through the second buttonhole). Nonetheless combat soldiers tended to hold the War Merit Cross in low regard, referring to its wearers as being in 'Iron Cross Training'. The Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross was a neck decoration and worn the same way as the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.
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