Fire Brigade Honour Badge, II Class (1938-1945)
Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
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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 II Class was conferred upon professional and volunteer fire brigade personnel who after June 1, 1936, had rendered 25 years of irreproachable service. The decoration could be conferred upon German and foreign citizens.
On January 30, 1938, a new form of the decorations was introduced at the behest of Adolf Hitler. Prior to 1938, both the I Class and II Class decoration were composed out of silvered metal, and the I Class was issued in the form of a pinback cross. After 1938, the II Class remained largely the same except for the addition of black swastika on the obverse of the medal. At the same time, the award criteria for the II Class was altered. Only active members of a fire brigade who had rendered 25 years of uninterrupted service were eligible to receive the award. Members of factory fire brigades could only be nominated for the decoration, if they transferred into a recognised volunteer fire brigade. Individuals who were required to volunteer with a fire brigade could only count 2/3 of their volunteer time towards the decoration. If an individual had rendered 25 years of service and had already received a state fire decoration, they were not eligible to receive the Fire Brigade Honour Badge.
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.
In November 1943, a golden oak leaf with the number "40" on the obverse was introduced as a possible addition. The oak leaf denoted 40 years of service and was attached the ribbon.
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