Jamie Cross Collectables THE MEMELLAND MEDAL 1939. "THE MEMEL MEDAL 1939" AT WWW.JamieCrossCollectables.co.uk
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Historically, this award is memorable for a number of reasons. Firstly it
was the last in the series of three awards issued in Germany for what is
termed the "Flower Wars" where German troops just walked in without armed
military resistance. The preceeding two areas being Austria and the Sudentan
Area of Czechosolvakia. on the 13th March 1938 & 1st October 1938
respectively. Secondly, the medal ribbon for this award is for the colours of
Lithuania of red, white and green. Thirdly, the award, although it follows the
same obverse with the design of the 1938 Reichspartag badge, the reverse
has the inscription "Zur Erinnerung an die Heimkehr des Memellandes 22. Marz
In English this reads "To commemorate the return of the Memel
District 22. March 1939". This replaced the proceeding design of "Ein Reich,
Ein Volk Ein Furhur" with either dates 13. Marz 1938 or 1. Oktober 1938. to
the centre .
Hitler made the demand to Lithuania on the 20th of March 1939 and unaided
by the League of Nations, Lithuania had no real choice but to give in and
handed back the area of Memel to Germany. Two days later and German troops
arrived by boat to another flower War welcome as Memelland "came home to
the Reich" .
The medal comes in two main types and this has caused a lot of concern for
collectors with one type being condemned by some as a fake. This
classification is due to the "A" on the Marz date with some being higher than
eg a small A and a large A. For years, some collectors believed that the
larger "A" types were fake and many are, but so too are many of the
smaller "A" types, so unfortunately this cannot be used to authenticate an award
as these two catalogue pages clearly show both types of "A" on original
A Medal Makers Catalogue Page Showing the Large A type
A Medal Makers Catalogue Page Showing the Small A type
One clear type of copy though can be identified, and this is the type with
the mask on the two men to the front of the award.
A Memelland Copy and Original award
This award is made and
sold as a copy in England, but due to the scarcity of the award with less
than 32000 issued, many of these copies have been passed off as originals.
(This type of front also holds true to both the Sudentenland and Austria
medal being a copy).
A Memelland Copy and Original award Reverse
Other copies show clear cast lines around the edge and
these should also be avoided.
A Memelland Cast Copy
The medal when worn was often issued in a red hard two piece case, with
the award and ribbon segmented in the base with the ribbon having a pin
A Court Mounted Group with a Memelland award
A Memelland Ribbon Bar
A Small "A" Memelland award Reverse
To the lid of the case is a gold blocked eagle holding a swastika, So
far, through the cases, paper packets and catalogues encountered, I have
identified the following makers:-
No 1, Deschler & Sohne, No 4 Steinhauer & Luck, No 30, Hauptmunzamt Wein
& Otto Schinckle, (there are undoubtedly more, but these are ones I have
seen to date).
A Cased Memelland award
A Cased Memelland award Reverse
When awarded, a citation was given and a notation was made in both the
Soldbuch and Wehrpass.
The history of the Memel district follows other German territories being
turned over to other countries after her defeat in WWI . Memel, (which was
originally a part of East Prussia, still had a large German ethnic
population with over 55% being counted as German in and around the Memel
district) was seeded to Lithuania following the Memel convention of 1924. During
the preceeding years to 1939, some of these ethnic Germans like many
others in other lands, formed their own political party and shown below is a
rare example of the civil lapel badge for the " Memel -German Culture Union".
A pro German group that used to spread propaganda among the Volksdeutsche
of Memel and its surrounding district.
A Memel-German Culture Union Badge
These ethnic German party badges rarely turn up nowadays. as with most of these
places they were overrun by the USSR and the German populus deported, if
they had remained that is. And holding on to a pro German badge would not
have been a good idea in such chaotic times making such items rare in
collector terms, today.
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