Order of the German Knights, High and Grandmaster Breast Star
Image courtesy of “Das Ordensbuch Der Gewesenen Osterreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie Orden, Kreuze, Ehrenzeichen, Medaillen, Denkmunzen, Dienstzeichen, Matrikelzeichen, Amtsabzeichen Etz.” by Hauptmann Heinrich F. Michetschlager
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This Order can trace its origins to the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem. It was originally founded as a military Order in 1128 to care for sick and wounded Christian pilgrims, and establish hospitals in the Holy Land. The Order was founded on November, 19, 1190 from Duke Friedrich from Swabia.
The Order was recognized as a Roman Catholic Order by subsequent Popes, abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1809, re-instituted in 1815 under the protection of Imperial Austria, and reformed by Emperor Ferdinand I in 1840 and 1871.
The Imperial Austrian Order iteration was conferred upon nobles and members of the clergy who committed themselves to the field of nursing and the practice of mercy.
In 1929 the Order became a primarily religious Order and is historically known as the Order of the German Knights, the German Order, or the German Order of Knights.
The Order was suppressed during the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938, and re-instituted in 1945.
The Order’s motto is “Help, Defend, Heal”.
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