WW2 German Social Welfare Cross (Red Cross) First Class - in bronze gilt, that measures 52mm (width) x 52 (height), with full length of period neck ribbon, in slightly worn condition, remains near mint condition. Included is a ribbon bar for the German Social Welfare Cross: Second Class. The decoration came in a mismatched case for the Knights Cross of the War Service Cross with Swords which may be of 1957 issue vintage.
The Social Welfare Decoration (German: Ehrenzeichen für deutsche Volkspflege) was a German Civil Award created by Adolf Hitler on 1 May 1939 for services in the social sector. The decoration was issued in three classes and was awarded for a wide variety of service, in the social sector, to the German state. Qualifying service would have been with Winterhilfswerk, National Socialist Volk Welfare, medical and rescue work, or care of foreign and ethnic Germans. As a replacement for Red Cross awards, it was conferred in four classes consisting of a white-enameled gold Balkenkreuz with Reich eagle and swastika. A "Medal of Social Welfare" was also issued for lesser degrees of service, not warranting the higher presentation of a class award.
The main requirement for the award was that the service rendered should be to the benefit of the civil population. Reinhard Heydrich was awarded the decoration for his running of the Gestapo in the 1930s and for providing "security" to the German people. Waffen-SS Doctor Joseph Mengele was also awarded the decoration in 1941, for providing medical services to wounded soldiers and civilians alike on the battlefields of the Eastern Front.
Awarded in these grades:
1. Special Class (Sonderstufe)
2. 1st Class with Diamons (1. Stufe mit Brillanten)
3. 1st Class (1. Stufe)
Below is a video reviewing the Social Welfare Medal which is the lowest grade of this series.
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