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The German Order (German: Deutscher Orden) was the highest award that the Nazi Party could bestow on an individual for his services to the "state and party". It was designed by Benno von Arent. Adolf Hitler awarded the first such order posthumously to Reichsminister Fritz Todt during Todt's funeral in February 1942.[1] A second posthumous award of the German Order was given to SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich at his funeral in June that year.[2] Cynics called the award the "dead hero order" as it was almost always awarded posthumously. The only two recipients who received the German Order and survived the war were Konstantin Hierl and Arthur Axmann.[3]

German Order
Germanorder.jpeg
The German Order
Awarded by Nazi Party
CountryNazi Germany
EligibilityServices to the state and party
StatusAbolished
FührerAdolf Hitler
Classes3
Statistics
First induction11 February 1942
Last induction28 April 1945
Total inductees11
GER Blood Order (1934) ribbon.svg
Ribbon

DescriptionEdit

The black enamel cross in the middle section of the award resembled that of the Iron Cross and the medal also had similarities in design to the Order of the German Eagle. It measured 48.5 mm across the arms of the cross. At the centre was a medallion, which measured 20.5 mm. In-between the arms of the cross were national eagles with furled wings. Each one of the four eagles with a wreath clutched in its claws. The German Order was originally to be awarded in three grades, but only the neck order (the highest grade) was ever awarded. This award is considered the second rarest award of Nazi Germany after the National Prize for Art and Science. The holders of this award were supposed to form a confraternity.

Adolf Hitler regarded this award as his personal decoration to be bestowed only upon those whose services to the state, party, and the people, he deemed worthy. For this reason, plus the fact that the reverse of the medal bears a facsimile of his signature, it was also informally known as the 'Hitler Order'. There were eleven confirmed recipients of this award between 1942 and 1945.[2][4]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Angolia 1989, p. 223.
  2. ^ a b Angolia 1989, p. 224.
  3. ^ Angolia 1989, pp. 223, 224.
  4. ^ Gerwarth 2011, p. 279.

ReferencesEdit

  • Angolia, John (1989). For Führer and Fatherland: Political & Civil Awards of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 978-0912138169.
  • Gerwarth, Robert (2011). Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11575-8.