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Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918 combatant veteran service medal awarded to a German Jewish soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2011.259.7

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    Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918 combatant veteran service medal awarded to a German Jewish soldier

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    Brief Narrative
    Das Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs 1914 1918 [The Honor Cross of World War 1914/1918) awarded to Carl Werner Lenneberg for serving in combat in the German Army during the First World War. The award was established by President Paul von Hindenburg, on July 13, 1934. This was the first official WWI service medal of the Third Reich, often referred to by an unofficial name, Hindenburg Cross. Hindenburg, Field Marshal of German forces during WWI, appointed Hitler as Chancellor in January 1933, and soon a Nazi dictatorship ruled the country. Anti-Jewish policies put increasingly harsh restrictions on Jewish life. Carl and his brother 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, May 13-June 17, 1939. Upon the ship's forced return to Europe, Carl and George were accepted into Belgium. In April 1940, they left from Dunkirk for England, and then the United States.
    commemoration:  1914-1918
    issue:  1934 July 13-1944
    manufacture: Pforzheim (Germany)
    issue: Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ron Lenneberg
    medal, front, center, embossed : 1914 / 1918
    medal, back, bottom, embossed : R. V. 26 / PFORZHEIM
    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
    Object Type
    Medals, German (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Bronze colored metal, cross pattée medal with flared arms, a raised rim, and an attached ribbon. The front center has a recessed field embossed with the years 1914 / 1918 within a laurel leaf wreath with a tied ribbon whose ends extend into the lower flared cross arm. Between the arms are the pointed blade and ridged hilt of 2 crossed military swords. The smooth back has a maker's mark. Attached to the top arm is a bail with a suspension ring through which a striped grosgrain ribbon is threaded. It has 7 vertical stripes: black, white, black, red, black, white, black. The ribbon is folded but the ends are frayed and not sewn together.
    overall: Height: 4.500 inches (11.43 cm) | Width: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    overall : metal, ribbon

    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 15:17:32
    This page:

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