Sunday 19 February 2012

Danzig Cross - First Class.

Danzig Cross - First Class.

Known Makers - B.v.A. Hulse - Berlin.

Rarity – Extremely Rare

Just prior to the annexation of Danzig, Albert Forster, decreed the institution of the Danzig Cross on 31st August 1939.  Two grades of the award were authorised, namely the First and Second Class.  The award was, it was stated, "For meritorious service in the building up of the Nazi Party, within the free state of Danzig".

Albert Forster   - Gaulieter and SS-Obergruppenführer

The First Class award is a pin back, enamelled cross measuring 44 mm wide by 60 mm high.  The form of the Cross is convex, and it is in white enamel, with a gilt outline to the Cross facing.  Mounted on to the face of the Cross is the coronet of Danzig surmounting the twin crosses of the free state, all are in gilt.  The back of the Cross is plain, save for the manufacturer's mark, B.v.A. Hulse - Berlin.  The mark requires a little further explanation, as it is in fact the mark of the designer  SS- Oberführer Prof Benno von Arent, who was on the Stab RF SS, which was represented by the initials and the manufacturer. The leading edge of the upper arm of the Cross has a small eyelet, through which a rivet protrudes from the reverse of the coronet.  This rivet has a circular washer, which is riveted over, and retains the coronet to the upper part of the arm.  The centre or apex of the four arms that produce the Cross is also drilled, to allow a similar rivet from the reverse of the centre of the lower cross of the arms of Danzig, to protrude through the body of the white enamelled Cross.  This is retained in a similar manner as to the rivet behind the coronet.  Approximately 3 mm beneath the eyelet at the upper arm of the Cross is the body of a hinge that retains the hinge pin.  This is constructed in what is commonly known as the barrel hinge type, mounted on a small square box.  The pin is attached to the central pivot of the barrel and is approximately 3 mm wide by 2 mm thick and it is 43 mm long.  It is a continuous piece of metal, which is attached and turned over at the hinge giving it the impression of a walking stick shape.  The catch at the base, which is usually placed just above the maker's logo, is 1 mm thick, round wire that is soldered directly on to the back of the Cross.

The First Class Cross is an extremely rare decoration.  A total of only 88 awards were made, the majority of which were conferred on 24th October 1939, the major presentation date decreed since the inception of the award two months previously.  It is not known if it was a requisite that the Danzig Cross – Second Class had to be awarded before the First Class could be conferred.  In the case of SS - Oberführer und Oberst der Schutzpolizei Hans Griep his file shows that he was awarded both classes.

Griep Hans - SS - Oberführer und Oberst der Schutzpolizei

Griep Hans - SS - Oberführer und Oberst der Schutzpolizei, SS Soldbuck
Griepp’s Awards:

1914 Iron Cross Second Class
1914 Iron Cross First Class
1914 Wound Badge Black Class
1914-18 Cross of Honour Combatants

Austro-Hungarian Commemorative War Medal
Danzig Police Long Service Cross in Silver
Danzig Police Long Service Cross in Gold
Danzig Cross Second Class
Danzig Cross First Class
1939 Iron Cross Second Class Clasp
1939 Iron Cross First Class Clasp
Eastern Peoples’ Bravery Medal in Silver Second Class
Eastern Peoples’ Bravery Medal in Silver First Class
Infantry Storm Badge in Silver
Anti-Partisan badge in Silver

Griep Hans - SS - Oberführer und Oberst der Schutzpolizei with Hitler. The Danzig Cross 1 st class can be seen on his left breast.

A number of restrikes of the Danzig Cross First Class were produced in Germany during the early 1960's it is possible that there has been more resent strikes. The award was not prohibeted by the German Federal Government due to the fact that it was Polish. Poland likewise did not perscribe it either. Thus the original maker could produce the piece if needed. These have a plain, unmarked reverse and somewhat different pin and hinge construction to that described above easily identifies these. 

Recipients of the Danzig Cross First Class.

Kdr 5./SS Heimwehr Danzig
Bernhard Greise
SS–Standartenführer und Oberst der Schutzpolizei
CO of 323rd Police Battalion.
Kdr 3./SS Heimwehr Danzig
Kdr 2./SS Heimwehr Danzig
2. Verwaltungsoffizier SS Heimwehr Danzig
Dr Hermann Behrends.
SS-Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei

Dr Kamholz
Medical/SS Heimwehr Danzig
Dr Wertschitzsky
Medical/SS Heimwehr Danzig
Dr. Fritz Todt
Minister of Armaments and Munitions
Head of the Works and Buildings of the Third Reich
Erich Hilgenfeldt
Chief of the Office of Peoples Welfare.
Erich Koch
Gauleiter, Ostpreußen
Reichskommissar für die Ukraine
Erich von dem Bach Zelewski
Head of Anti-Partisan Warfare from 1942
Ordonnazoffizieer SS Heimwehr Danzig
Franz Xaver Schwarz.
Treasurer of the NSDAP.

1. Verwaltungsoffizier SS Heimwehr Danzig
Hans Götze
Kdr SS Heimwehr Danzig
Stab SS Heimwehr Danzig
Hermann Göring
Head of the Luftwaffe
K. Leiner

Karl Sigismund Litzmann
Governor General of Estonia
Kdr Pioner Zug/SS Heimwehr Danzig
Kdr 15. (Pak)/SS Heimwehr Danzig
Ludolf von Alvensleben
Gruppenführer und Generalleuutnant der Polizei

Max Simon
Commander of the X111 S.S. Army Corps
Prof. Benno von Arent
Reich stage designer. And medal designer
Reinhard Heydrich
Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia
Kdr Transport Kie/SS Heimwehr Danzig
Kdr 13./SS Heimwehr Danzig
Chef d. Stab SS Heimwehr Danzig
Kdr 14. (Pak)/SS Heimwehr Danzig
Kdr Nacht. Zug/SS Heimwehr Danzig
Theodor Eicke
SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS

Kdr 1./SS Heimwehr Danzig
Kdr 4./SS Heimwehr Danzig
Werner Lorenz

SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS und Polizei

Adjutant SS Heimwehr Danzig

Ludolf von Alvensleben  - SS-Standartenführer.
9 August 1899
Party Number 1313391  SS Number 52195
1914 Iron Cross Second Class, 1939 Iron Cross Second Class bar, War Merit Cross Second Class with Swords, Danzig Cross 1St class, Baltic Cross 1St class, Infantry Assault Badge,1939 Wound Badge Black Class,  SS Honour Ring, SS Honour Sword

Erich Hilgenfeldt  - SS-Gruppenführer
2 July 1897 - 1945 ?
Party Number 143642  SS Number 289225
Danzig Cross 1st Class, SS Honour Ring, SS Honour Sword

He was born in Heinitz and saw service in the First World War.  Afterwards he became an economics statistician.  In 1929 he joined the NSDAP and subsequently headed the party-run annual winter relief programme and became chief of the office of peoples welfare and member of the Reichstag.

This type is concidered to be the restrike. It is not to be graded as a fake.


Danzig Cross 1st Class Fake.

Danzig Cross 1st Class - Obverse Fake.
Danzig Cross 1st Class - Reverse Fake.

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