Orders, decorations, and medals of East Germany

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After the establishment of the German Democratic Republic the new country prohibited the wearing of all pre-1945 German awards and created a new system of various decorations that was inspired by those of the USSR.[1][2]

After German reunification, wearing of East German awards was forbidden.[citation needed]

Titles[edit]

Hero of the German Democratic Republic[edit]

"Hero of the German Democratic Republic" (German: Held der DDR), the highest honorary title in East Germany, originated on 28 October 1975 and rewarded both soldiers and civilians. Those who received the title enjoyed many benefits, such as free public transport. A yearly ratio was intended that limited up to 10 title assignments. It was awarded for "extraordinary achievements and earnings/services the hero acts for the GDR, for their development and all-round stabilization, for which international acknowledgement and authority achieved as well as for its safe military protection".

Those who became Held der DDR also automatically qualified for the Karl Marx Order. The decoration was supposed to be returned to the state upon the recipient's death. In all 9 awards to 7 people were made:

Hero of Labour[edit]

The Hero of Labour (German: Held der Arbeit) was awarded for "particularly outstanding, innovative activity, in particular in the fields of industry and agriculture, which traffic or the trade rendered or by scientific discoveries or technical inventions special services around the structure and the victory of socialism and by this activity the national economy and thus growth and the reputation of the German Democratic Republic promoted". In addition, the recipient would get receive a 10,000 East German Mark award.

Order and Medals[edit]

Order[edit]

Order Ribbon
bar
Name (English/German) Date of
creation
Description
Held der DDR.png

Hero of GDR
Held der DDR

Karl-Marx-Order1.jpg

GDR Marks-order bar.png

Karl Marx Order
Karl Marx Orden

1953-05-05
Vaterlaendischer Verdienstorden.jpg

Ehrenspange.png

Patriotic Order of Merit GDR ribbon bar gold.png

Patriotic Order of Merit GDR ribbon bar silver.png

Patriotic Order of Merit GDR ribbon bar bronze.png

Patriotic Order of Merit
Vaterländischer Verdienstorden

1954-05-21 Awarded for special services to the state and to society
Banner of Labor1.jpg

Banner of Labour
Banner der Arbeit

1954-08-04
DDR-National-Prize.jpg

National Prize of East Germany
Nationalpreis der DDR

1949
GDR Star of Friendship of Nations - Grand Star (formal ribbon) BAR.png
De grote gouden ster van de Orde van de Volkerenvriendschap 2.gif

Star of People's Friendship
Stern der Völkerfreundschaft

1959-08-20
Bartel0016gsb.jpg
GDR Blucher Order for Gallantry - Gold BAR.png
GDR Blucher Order for Gallantry - Silver BAR.png
GDR Blucher Order for Gallantry - Bronze BAR.png

Blücher Order
Blücher Orden

1965-10-13 Award for valor in time of war; never awarded.

Military decorations[edit]

Medal Ribbon
bar
Name (English/German) Date of
creation
Description
Hans-Beimler Medal-Ribbon.gif

Hans Beimler Medal
(Hans Beimler Medaille)

1956-05-17
GDR Scharnhorst-Order ribbon.pdf
GDR Scharnhorst-Order bar.png

Scharnhorst Order
Scharnhorst-Orden

1966-02-17 Contributed in a major way to the betterment of the DDR Principles of Ideology

GDR Combat-Order for Merit for the Nation and Fatherland - Gold BAR.png

GDR Combat-Order for Merit for the Nation and Fatherland - Silver BAR.png

GDR Combat-Order for Merit for the Nation and Fatherland - Bronze BAR.png

Combat order "Of Merit for the Nation and Fatherland"

February 17, 1966 The medal was granted in three classes:
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold


GDR Dist-Mil-Pilot med.jpg


GDR Dist-Mil-Pilot bar.jpg

Meritorious Military Pilot of the GDR

(Verdienter Militärflieger der DDR)

August 1, 1974

GDR Merit-med NPA rib-B.pdf

GDR Verdienstmedaille NVA 3 BAR.png

GDR Verdienstmedaille NVA 2 BAR.png

GDR Verdienstmedaille NVA 1 BAR.png

Medal of Merit of the National People's Army
(Verdienstmedaille der Nationalen Volksarmee)

1956-06-01 The medal was granted in three classes:
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold

GDR Brotherhood in Arms Medal - Bronze BAR.png

GDR Brotherhood in Arms Medal - Silver BAR.png

GDR Brotherhood in Arms Medal - Gold BAR.png

Medal Brotherhood in Arms
{Medaille der Waffenbrüderschaft)

1966-02-17 The medal was granted in three classes:
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold

Med Faithfol Serv NPA rb-B.pdf

Med Faithfol Serv NPA rb-S.pdf

Med Faithfol Serv NPA rb-G.pdf

GDR Faithful-Serv-NPA bar-20y.pdf

Medal For Faithful Service in the National People’s Army
(Medaille für treue Dienste in der Nationalen Volksarmee)

1956-06-01
  • 5 years service (bronze)
  • 10 years service (silver)
  • 15 years service (gold)
  • 20 years service (gold) with colored flags on the medal and roman numerals XX on the ribbon

GDR Medal for Exemplary Border Service BAR.png

Medal for Exemplary Border Service
(Medaille für vorbildlichen Grenzdienst der Grenztruppen der DDR)

1953

References[edit]

External links[edit]