Original German post WW2 / 1957 pattern Eastern Peoples Decoration in Silver First Class (Tapferkeits-und Verdienst-Auszeichnung für Angehörige der Ostvölker), IN PERFECT CONDITION WITH BEAUTIFUL FINISH, PERFECTLY WORKING PIN DEVICE, LATER ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) MADE EXAMPLE WITH OPEN HINGE BLOCK, A REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE - THE AWARD IS NOT OFTEN SEEN
FEW FACTS ABOUT THE 1957 PATTERN GERMAN AWARDS:
In 1957 the West German government authorised replacement Iron Crosses with an Oak Leaf Cluster in place of the swastika, similar to the Iron Crosses of 1813, 1870, and 1914, which could be worn by World War II Iron Cross recipients. The 1957 law also authorised de-Nazified versions of most other World War II–era decorations (except those specifically associated with Nazi Party organizations, such as SS Long Service medals, or with the expansion of the German Reich, such as the medals for the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and the Memel region). The main government contract to manufacture and supply these new de-nazified WW2 1957 official decorations went to the world famous German firm Steinhauer & Lueck, Luedenscheid Germany. Knights Crosses, Iron Crosses , Wound Badges, Tank Assault Badges etc were re-designed by Steinhauer & Lück - often with the oak-leaf spray replacing the swastika, with S&L having the sole patent rights to all WW2 1957 German decorations. S&L did not have the whole monopoly on medal making, other famous firms such as Deschler & Sohn, BH Maher and Juncker also manufactured these new German decorations. Lüdenscheid is situated between the cities Dortmund and Bonn. It was here that one of the youngest medal firms was founded in 1889 by August Steinhauer and Gustav Adolf Lück. The first production began in a cellar, the customer base continued to increase. A property was bought at 51 Hochstrasse which is still home for this famous company today. During WW2 Steinhauer & Lück produced medals and badges, like the famous Knights Cross and many other types of medals and badges. In 1957 this company was awarded the contract to produce all the newly re-designed legal WW2 1957 de-nazified decorations, plus the contract to manufacture all of Germany's official decorations including Germany's highest order the Bundesverdienstkreuz. Only a very limited number of original WW2 1957 medals are still produced, mainly Iron Crosses, German Cross Gold & Silver & Wound Badges and are considered 100% genuine by the German Government.
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
EASTERN PEOPLES DECORATION (Tapferkeits-und Verdienst-Auszeichnung für Angehörige der Ostvölker) - As early as July 1941, Russian POWs were allowed to offer their services to the German Army formations as "Hilfswilliger" (Volunteer helpers or auxiliaries). By the end of 1941 the Wehrmacht employed around 150,000 Hiwis as they were known by the Germans. By 1942 these men were use by the Germans to form military anti-partisan formations known as "Osttruppen" (Eastern Troops). Initially German commanders awarded men from the Osttruppen with German war badges and decorations, but when Hitler learned of this, he put a stop to it. Hitler did not like the idea of having these Russian troops wearing German medals. Something needed to be done to award the Osttruppen. To remedy this, official decorations were created. The so-called Eastern People medal and badge was designed by Elmar Lang and instituted on 14 July 1942. The Eastern People medal and badge were in the shape of a star. The Eastern People decorations were as follows: 2nd Class in bronze, silver and gold, 1st Class in silver and gold. At the beginning these decorations were awarded exclusively to Russians, but eventually German personnel who commanded these troops were allowed to wear such awards, giving these medals a more legitimatize meaning. It should be noted that the Germans had to be wearing the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st class before obtaining the Eastern People silver version award. The case is two piece hinged construction with black simulated leather outer surface. The face of the lid bears an exact facsimile of the badge contained in the case. The facsimile is stenciled in gold for the award in gold. By late 1943, Hitler relented and allowed these Osttruppen to wear German War Badges such as the Infantry, General Assault and Wounded badges along with the Eastern People awards. By 1944, the Osttruppen were granted the right to the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class. No Russian soldier serving in the German Army ever received the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross. On 14 November 1944, the Germans officially recognized the Russian National Army. The Commander in Chief of the new Russian Liberation Army was General Andre A. Vlassov. The men of the Russian Liberation Army received the same Eastern Peoples awards. According to some sources special ribbons were made and issued on 2nd class medals, which are as follows: 2nd Class – bronze: lime green ribbon with light blue center stripe, 2nd Class – silver: grass green ribbon with dark blue center stripe and 2nd Class gold: light yellow ribbon with dark red center stripe.