Original German WWII War Merit Cross KvK 1st Class in Silver by Karl Gschiermeister of Vienna
Original Items: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of a War Merit Cross KvK 1st Class without Swords in Silver, with lots of original silvering! This fine example was manufactured by Karl Gschiermeister of Wien (Vienna) in Austria, indicated by the lieferant (supplier) number 50 stamped on the back of the pin. This handsome example in zinc shows frosted finish on silver maltese cross. Sharp details to contours and pebbles to internal cross arms. The pin back has a nice barrel hinge, and the catch is slightly bent, but still functional. With lots of original silvering, this is a prime example of this award. Ready to display!
The War Merit Cross (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) was a decoration of Nazi 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 Hitler 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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