Original German Army Luftwaffe Retired Pilot Badge / post WW2 - 1957 pattern miniature stick pin - no swastika, VERY NICE CONDITION - ST&L (STEINHAUER UND LUECK) EXAMPLE, SIZE: cca 9 mm, RARE MINIATURE
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:
Luftwaffe Retired Pilot Badge - The Minister of Aviation and the Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe instituted the Flyer’s Commemorative Badge on March 26, 1936. The badge was awarded to personnel honorably discharged from their flying duties and included pilots, observers, air gunners and paratroopers. The Flyer’s Commemorative Badge features an eagle perched atop a large rock surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves. The wreath was polished silver and the eagle was oxidized to give it a darkened appearance. Wartime photos show badges with and without the area near the eagles legs and tail cutout. Awards of this badge took place before the outbreak of war only and can be produced in both 800 Silver and aluminum. Lower quality wartime badges were produced as replacements or duplicates and were not official award pieces. This badge is one of the more rare Luftwaffe Qualification Badges produced. As with all medals time should be taken to familiarize yourself with known examples and their manufacturing characteristics. The award was authorized for wear with any uniform on the left breast. Miniature versions were also allowed on civilian attire. At the present time we are searching for more information about the presentation and documents for this award. The minimum requirements necessary for active personnel, reserve personnel and holders of the First World War flying badge to qualify for the Flyer’s Commemorative Badge was four years of service; all others needed a minimum of fifteen years service. It was possible to receive the award if one was disabled due to a flying related accident. In the event of death in an aircraft accident the award would be presented to the next of kin.