Product Description: This Fire Brigade Cross is a great, representative example of this extremely striking and rather scarce award. This is often called the “Fire Brigade Service Cross” or “Fire Service Decoration.” The official German designation for this Fire Brigade Cross was the “Feuerlöschwesen Verdienstkreuz.” It’s made of silvered bronze, as is typical for these. The front has white and red enamel, and mounted to this is a separate disk that has a black and white enameled national swastika emblem. The text between the arms of the cross reads “Für Verdienste im Feuerlöschwesen.” The reverse is flat and smooth. The original silvering on this Fire Brigade Cross is mostly intact, with some minor wear exposing the base metal, mostly on the back. The enamel is intact, with only minor scratches and some slight bubbling to the red flames. The medal is complete with its original ribbon, which shows typical age toning. It remains in overall excellent condition, and is loaded with eye appeal.
Historical Description: Prior to the Third Reich, Germany had a wide variety of municipal fire departments. In 1933, the Nazis created a new law that made the professional fire departments, as well as the volunteer fire departments, subordinate to the German police. At this time, German fire department ranks were standardized and made to match the German police rank system. The German fire department at that time was given the new name “Feuerlöschpolizei.” The municipal fire departments in cities worked together with compulsory fire brigades (Pflichtfeuerwehr), volunteer fire brigades (Freiwillige Feuerwehr) and industrial fire brigades (Werkfeuerwehr). In 1938, this changed again, as the various municipal Feuerlöschpolizei departments became officially a part of the police. The red-painted fire department vehicles were painted green, and they were given police license plates; the fire department personnel themselves were given green Polizei uniforms with distinctive insignia. The new name for fire departments was “Feuerschutzpolizei” (Fire Protection Police). The volunteer fire departments were given the status of auxiliaries to the “Ordnumgspolizei” (Order Police). During WWII, German fire departments organized units that deployed to the field and followed the German Army’s advance, taking over fire protection duties in the occupied territories. At home, the fire brigades worked together with air raid protection units to try to extinguish incendiary bombs during the horrific aerial bombardments of German cities. The various organizational changes during the Third Reich as well as the wide range of uniforms, regalia and equipment used by German fire departments created an almost endless variety of distinctive collectible items.
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