Product Description: This is a nice example of the very rare Mine Rescue Medal. The official German designation for this award was “Grubenwehr-Ehrenzeichen,” sometimes translated as Mine Rescue Service Decoration. This medal was originally instituted in 1936. It was awarded to members of the Mine Rescue Service who performed outstanding rescue work, individuals who risked their lives to save others in the case of a mine disaster, and those with long service in the Mine Rescue Service. The front of the Mine Rescue Medal depicts the Bergbau organizational emblem, on which is superimposed a German national eagle and swastika. The reverse of the medal bears the inscription “Für Verdienste im Grubenwehrwesen” (For Services in Mine Rescue). This medal has a heavy silver plating which still covers the entire surface, although it shows handling wear and a deep, old patina. There is some thick buildup of patina in some recesses of the design. There are some scattered handling marks here and there on both faces of the medal as well as the rim. The original ribbon is missing, though the ribbon retaining ring remains. These medals were only issued in very limited numbers, making this a rare medal to find. This Mine Rescue Medal is a good, representative example.
Historical Description: During the Third Reich, the various German trade unions were nationalized and consolidated. One of the trade associations that was not wholly incorporated into a larger organization was the German Miners Association (Bergbau). The National Bureau of Mines was created in 1936 to oversee the German mines tasked with extracting and distributing various raw materials. This National Bureau of Mines was the successor to many state and individual miners’ associations. The German miners service was steeped in tradition, with miners having their own formal regalia long before WWII. This tradition continued in the Third Reich, with the various Bergbau formal uniform items being among the most elaborate of all German uniforms from that time. In addition to these ceremonial uniforms and headgear, Bergbau personnel had specific belt buckles and various edged weapons bearing the crossed sword and mallet organizational Bergbau emblem. Bergbau items were manufactured in smaller quantities than items made for other, larger organizations, and are often difficult to find today.
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