Hanseatic Cross

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The Hanseatic Cross (German: Hanseatenkreuz) was a German war decoration established by the Hanseatic cities of Lübeck (21 August 1915) and Hamburg (10 September 1915), as well as the Senate of Bremen (14 September 1915).


The cross was conferred upon citizens of the three cities in recognition of meritorious service throughout the First World War. Service included military, nursing, and volunteering. The cross was the three cities’ equivalent to the Prussian Iron Cross when it was conferred for bravery and combat merit. The cross was nonreturnable. The shape of the cross is consistent between Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck, but each city's cross features a different obverse image. In 1917, five prototypes of the cross were produced in silver and an unknown amount were awarded.

The Hanseatic Cross came in only one class, a cross worn from a ribbon on the left chest. The cross was a red-enameled silver cross pattée which bore the arms of the relevant city-state on the center medallion. The reverse was identical for all three versions and the center medallion bore the phrase "Für Verdienst im Kriege" ("for merit in war") and the date "1914". There were approximately 50,000 awards of the Hanseatic Cross of Hamburg, the largest Hanseatic city. The Bremen Hanseatic Cross was awarded approximately 20,000 times. Lübeck was the smallest of the Hanseatic cities, and its Hanseatic Cross was awarded approximately 8-10,000 times.

Known recipients of all three Hanseatenkreuze

Hanseatic display.jpg

At least 81 known people who received all three crosses for their extraordinary merits, here a small selection (with last rank):[1]

External links