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Commemorative Medal for World War I awarded to a Jewish German soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2011.259.4

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    Commemorative Medal for World War I awarded to a Jewish German soldier

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    Brief Narrative
    Haborús Emlékérem kardokkal és sisakkal [Commemorative Medal for World War I], awarded to Carl Werner Lenneberg, a soldier in the 8th (Rhenish) Foot Artillery Battalion, XVI Army Corps, German Army, during the First World War. The medal was established in 1929 by the Kingdom of Hungary to acknowledge those who participated in the Great War (1914-1918.) The crossed swords and helmet mark this as the version presented to combatants. In January 1933, Hitler and the Nazi regime took power. Anti-Jewish policies put increasingly harsh restrictions on Jewish life. Werner and his brother Georg were arrested during Kristallnacht, November 9-10, 1938, and sent to Dachau concentration camp. After release, they left Germany on the ill-fated voyage of the MS St. Louis to Havana, Cuba, May 13-June 17, 1939. Upon the ship's forced return to Europe, Carl and George were in the group given asylum in Belgium. In April 1940, they sailed from Antwerp to New York.
    commemoration:  1914-1918
    issue: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ron Lenneberg
    back, embossed : PRO DEO ET PATRIA / 1914-1918 [For God and Country]
    Subject: Carl W. Lenneberg
    Carl Werner Lenneberg (1899-1989) was born on November 5, 1899 in Remscheid, Germany and had an older brother Georg (b. 1898). Their father, and later Carl and his family, owned a store in Remscheid. Carl was a soldier in the 8th (Rhenish) Foot Artillery Reserve Battalion, XVI Army Corps, German Army, during the First World War. He was awarded several medals for his combat service. Carl’s fiancé, Hildegarde Hilb (Hilde, b. 1912 in Ulm) immigrated to the United States in May 1937. Carl and Georg were arrested during Kristallnacht in November 1938 and sent to Dachau concentration camp. They were released in December.

    Carl, Georg, and Fritz Hilb (b.1919 in Ulm), Hilde’s brother, booked passage on the MS St. Louis and left for Havana, Cuba, on May 13, 1939, with 937 passengers. During the voyage, Carl wrote nearly daily letters to Hilde as well as others in Germany and kept a diary. After the ship was denied entry in Cuba and returned to Europe they disembarked in Antwerp, Belgium and got an apartment in Brussels along with another shipmate, Fritz Buff. Carl and Georg used this time to continue learning English. Fritz Hilb left for England and, in February 1940, sailed from Liverpool on the MS Scythia. On April 11, 1940, Carl and Georg left on the SS Westernland from Antwerp, arriving in New York on April 25. On April 27, 1940 Carl married Hilde. They settled in New York City and had a son.

    Physical Details

    Military Insignia
    Physical Description
    Circular medal in silver colored metal, possibly silvered bronze, with the face embossed with the crowned coat of arms of Hungary centered over a pair of crossed swords. The divided shield has 8 horizontal dark and light stripes on the left and a double barred cross, crown, and 3 hills on the right. A wreath with a spray of laurel on the right and oak leaves on the left line the border. The back has a combat helmet in left profile with Latin text above and the years 1914-1918 below. Along the bottom edge are 2 laurel branches tied with a ribbon. A suspension ring and a bail for a ribbon are attached to the top. It was designed by the sculptor Zsigmond Kisfaludi-Strobl.
    overall: Height: 1.625 inches (4.128 cm) | Width: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    overall : metal

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The medal was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011 by Ron Lenneberg, the son of Carl Werner Lenneberg.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-31 15:06:27
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