Fire Brigade Honour Badge, I Class (1938-1945)
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The Fire Brigade Honour Badge was introduced on June 22, 1936, by Reich Minister of the Interior, Dr. Frick. The Badge was conferred upon individuals who had rendered long and meritorious service with a Fire Brigade.
The I Class was awarded to professional and volunteer fire brigade personnel who had demonstrated exceptional courage and exhibited conspicuous dedication to duty.
On January 30, 1938, a new form of the decoration was introduced at the behest of Adolf Hitler. The I Class was no longer awarded in a pinback form and instead was suspended from a ribbon like the II Class. In addition, as of 1938, the I Class Cross was produced from gilded metal.
The award criteria for the I Class became stricter and it was only awarded in exceptional circumstances. The I Class was conferred upon individuals who placed themselves in extreme danger and demonstrated outstanding courage while helping to extinguish a fire.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the award could also be conferred upon foreign citizens. Bravery during fires caused by air raids could either be followed by the awarding of a War Merit Cross or a Fire Brigade Decoration. Recommendations for the awards were made by the Reichsführer-SS Himmler, as he was the Chief of the German Police, which controlled fire departments and brigades.
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