Commemorative Medal for the Return of Memel (Memel Medal), by Unknown Maker: the Schreiber
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The Memel Medal was instituted on May 1st, 1939, in commemoration of the bloodless transfer of the Memel district from Lithuania to Germany. In the aftermath of the First World War, the 1924 Memel Convention authorised the transfer of the district with its majority German population from East Prussia to Lithuania. Once Hitler had seized power, he demanded the immediate return of the district to Germany, and the Lithuanian government acquiesced without a struggle.
The Memel Medal was the last of the commemorative annexation awards, also known as the “Flower War Medals”, and therefore the obverse of the medal features the same design as that of the Anschluss and Sudetenland Medal. The award was conferred upon army personnel who participated in the annexation of the Memel land on March 22, 1939. The Medal was also conferred upon political and civil servants whose efforts made the annexation possible.
As of December 31st, 1940, the award had been conferred 31,322 times. No further awards were issued after this date.
Most medals are made from either tombac or bronze, but a few other materials, including zinc or magnetic alloys can also be found.
Medals of the so-called Straight G Type feature the letter G in the word “Erinnerung” with a stem that doesn’t slant, but is kept straight.
Medals by this Unknown Maker are considered extremely rare. They have been nicknamed “the Schreiber” after Georg Schreiber, one of the two authors of the book “Die Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches” (The Honour Badges of the German Reich) from 1940, in which one appears. It has been speculated that the maker is the company Assmann. The medal is easily recognizable by a die flaw on the bottom of the reverse, a little bit to the left as viewed.
Rev: ZUR ERINNERUNG AN DIE HEIMKEHR DES MEMELLANDES 22. MÄRZ 1939
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