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World War I Iron Cross medal with striped ribbon awarded to a German Jewish refugee

Record Type:
1914-1918  (commemoration)
1938 May 14  (emigration)
Accession Number:
2009.365.2 a-b
issue : Germany
Brief Narrative:
Iron Cross awarded to Max Wachtel for service in the German Army during World War I, 1914-1918. After four years of increasingly antisemitic Nazi rule, Max’s shoe factory in Erfurt, Germany, was confiscated in 1937 because he was Jewish. Max was able to get immigration visas for the United States, with the sponsorship of relatives in Ohio. On May 14, 1938, Max, his wife Erna, and children, Ursula and Hans, sailed from Hamburg to the US on the President Roosevelt. They arrived on May 21 and settled in Cincinnati.
The Iron Cross medal was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009 by Andrea Wolf and Thomas Wolf, the grandchildren of Max Wachtel.
Military Insignia
Object Type:
Medals, German (lcsh)
a : 2.375 x 1.750 in. (6.032 x 4.445 cm.)
b : 11.375 x 1.250 in. (28.893 x 3.175 cm.)
a. obverse, top, embossed : FW
a. obverse, bottom, embossed : 1813
a. reverse, center, embossed : W
a. reverse, bottom, embossed : 1914
a : metal
b : cloth
Conditions on Access:
No restrictions on access
Conditions on Use:
No restrictions on use
Subject : Max Wachtel
Credit Line:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Andrea K. Wolf and Thomas M. Wolf
Physical Description:
a. Blackened iron medal in the form of a cross pattee with concave arms with a silver colored, reeded line border. The front has an embossed vertical design: at the top of the central arm is a crown, then are the letters FW, then 3 bound oak leaves and 2 acorns, and at the bottom, the date 1813. On the reverse descending from the top of the central arm is a crown; in the center a W, and at the bottom, the date 1914. A suspension ring is attached at the top. b. Cloth ribbon with the following stripes: black, white, red, white, black, threaded through a ring attached to the crown at the top of the medal (a).
Record last modified: 2014-11-20 15:38:39