List of foreign recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

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In total, 43 individuals in the military of allies of Nazi Germany were awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), the highest award in the military of Nazi Germany during World War II. Eight of these men were also honoured with the next higher grade, the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross, and one senior naval officer, Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, was additionally awarded the Swords to the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. Among the recipients were eighteen Romanians, nine Italians, eight Hungarians, two Slovaks, two Japanese, two Spaniards, two Finns, and one Belgian.[Note 1]

Colonel General Dezső László of Hungary became the last foreign recipient of the award on 3 March 1945. The last surviving foreign recipient of the award was Belgian politician Léon Degrelle, who died on 31 March 1994, fifty years after receiving the medal from Hitler's hands.

Background[edit]

The Oberkommando der Wehrmacht kept separate Knight's Cross lists, one for each of the military branches, Heer (Army), Kriegsmarine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air force) and for the Waffen-SS. Within each of these lists a unique sequential number was assigned to each recipient. The same numbering paradigm was applied to the higher grades of the Knight's Cross, one list per grade. Once the four lists of the Knight's Cross recipients were merged into one listing, the chronological order was abandoned and the list was converted to an alphabetical list of recipients. Foreign recipients were never integrated into this list. The Wehrmacht also refrained from assigning a numbering scheme to the different lists of foreign recipients. Two principles were retained: the foreign Knights Cross recipients were ordered alphabetically and the recipients of the higher grades were ordered chronologically.[2]

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grades were based on four separate enactments. The first enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 1573 of 1 September 1939 instituted the Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[3] As the war progressed, some of the recipients distinguished themselves further and a higher grade, the Oak Leaves to Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, was instituted. The Oak Leaves, as they were commonly referred to, were based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 849 of 3 June 1940.[4] In 1941, two higher grades of the Knight's Cross were instituted. The enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 of 28 September 1941 introduced the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.[5] At the end of 1944 the final grade, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten), based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11 of 29 December 1944, concluded the variants of the Knight's Cross.[6]

Recipients[edit]

The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross are initially ordered alphabetically whereas the recipients of the higher grades are initially ordered chronologically. The rank listed is the recipient's rank at the time the Knight's Cross or the Oak Leaves were awarded.

  This along with the * (asterisk), indicates that the Knight's Cross was awarded posthumously.

Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords[edit]

The Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords is based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 613 of 28 September 1941 to reward those servicemen who had already been awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Isoroku Yamamoto was the sole non-German combatant to be honoured with the Swords to the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.

Name Country Rank Unit Date of award Notes Picture
Isoroku Yamamoto Japan Fleet Admiral Commander-in-chief of the IJN Combined Fleet 27 May 1943* Killed in action 18 April 1943[7] Isoroku Yamamoto.jpg

Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves[edit]

The Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves was based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 849 of 3 June 1940.

Name Country Rank Unit Date of award Notes Picture
Mihail Lascăr Romania Major General (General de divizie)[8] 6th Infantry Division of the 3rd Romanian Army 22 November 1942
Gen mihail lascar-177072629.jpg
Agustín Muñoz Grandes Spain Lieutenant General Blue Division (250. Infantry Division) 13 December 1942
J mmue 65058 00001.jpg
Isoroku Yamamoto Japan Fleet Admiral Commander-in-chief of the IJN Combined Fleet 27 May 1943* Awarded Swords 27 May 1943 Isoroku Yamamoto.jpg
Corneliu Teodorini Romania Brigadier General (General de brigadă)[9] 6th Cavalry Division 8 December 1943
Corneliu Teodorini.jpg
Petre Dumitrescu Romania Lieutenant General (General de armată)[10] 3rd Romanian Army 4 April 1944
Petre Dumitrescu.JPG
Mineichi Koga Japan Fleet Admiral Japanese Chief of Fleet 12 May 1944* Killed in action 31 March 1944[11] Koga Mineichi.jpg
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim Finland Marshal of Finland President and Commander-in-chief of Finnish Defense Forces 5 August 1944
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.jpg
Léon Degrelle Belgium Major (SS-Sturmbannführer) 5. SS-Freiw.-Sturm-Brig. "Wallonien" 27 August 1944
Léon Degrelle.jpg

Recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross[edit]

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross is based on the enactment Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 1573 of 1 September 1939 Verordnung über die Erneuerung des Eisernen Kreuzes (Regulation of the renewing of the Iron Cross).

Name Country Rank Unit Date of award Notes Picture
Ion Antonescu Romania General Commander-in-chief of the Military of Romania 6 August 1941 First non-German to receive this award Ion antonescu.png
Ugo de Carolis Italy Brigadier General (Generale di Brigata) Italian 52nd Motorised Division Torino 9 February 1942* Killed in action 12 December 1941[12] Ugo de Carolis.jpg
Ugo Cavallero Italy General (Generale di Corpo d'Armata designato d'Armata) Chief of the Italian Supreme Command 14 February 1942
Ugo Cavallero.jpg
Corneliu Dragalina Romania Lieutenant General Romanian 6th Army Corps 6 August 1942
Corneliu Dragalina.jpg
Ioan Dumitrache Romania Major General 2nd Romanian Mountain Division 21 November 1942
Ioan Dumitrache.jpg
Petre Dumitrescu Romania Lieutenant General (General de armată)[10] 3rd Romanian Army 1 September 1942 Awarded Oak Leaves 4 April 1944 Petre Dumitrescu.JPG
Emilio Esteban Infantes Spain Lieutenant General Blue Division (250. Infantry Division) 3 October 1943
Emilio Esteban Infantes.JPG
Carlo Fecia di Cossato Italy Frigate Captain (Capitano di Fregata) Italian submarine Enrico Tazzoli 19 March 1943
Carlo Fecia di Cossato (pre 1943).jpg
Italo Gariboldi Italy General (Generale di Corpo d'Armata designato d'Armata) 8th Italian Army 1 April 1943
ItaloGariboldi.jpg
Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia Italy Corvette Captain (Capitano di Corvetta) Italian submarine Archimede 26 May 1943* Killed in action 24 May 1943[13] Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia.jpg
Ermil Gheorghiu Romania Major General (General de escadră)[14] General Staff of the Romanian Air Force 4 April 1944
Ermil Gheorghiu (ca. 1944).jpg
Fedele de Giorgis[Note 2] Italy Major General (Generale di Divisione) Italian 55 Infantry Division Savona 9 January 1942
Fedele De Giorgis.jpg
Enzo Grossi Italy Frigate Captain (Capitano di Fregata) Italian submarine Barbarigo 7 October 1942
EnzoGrossi.jpg
Erik Heinrichs Finland General of the Infantry Chief of Finnish General Staff 5 August 1944
Erik Heinrichs (1945).jpg
József Vitéz Heszlényi Hungary Field Marshal-Lieutenant 3rd Hungarian Army 28 October 1944
Nikolaus von Horthy und von Nagybánya Hungary Admiral Commander-in-chief of the Military of Hungary 10 September 1941
Horthy the regent.jpg
Ioan L. Hristea Romania Colonel Romanian 2nd Călărași Cavalry Regiment 28 March 1943
Mihály von Ibrányi Hungary Field Marshal-Lieutenant Hungarian Cavalry Division 26 November 1944
Gusztáv Vitéz Jány Hungary Colonel General 2nd Hungarian Army 31 March 1943
Emanoil Ionescu Romania Major General Commander of the Romanian Air Force's Corpul I Aerian 10 May 1944[Note 3]
Emanoil Ionescu.jpg
Mineichi Koga Japan Fleet Admiral Japanese Chief of Fleet 12 May 1944* Oak Leaves 12 May 1944 Koga Mineichi.jpg
Radu Korne Romania Colonel Romanian 8th Cavalry Division 18 December 1942
Geza Vitéz Lakatos Edler de Csíkszentsimon Hungary Colonel General 1st Hungarian Army 24 May 1944
LakatosGéza Portrait 1940s.jpg
Mihail Lascar Romania Brigadier General (General de brigadă)[8] Romanian 1st Mountain Brigade 18 January 1942 Awarded Oak Leaves 22 November 1942 Gen mihail lascar-177072629.jpg
Dezső László Hungary Colonel General 1st Hungarian Army 3 March 1945
Dezso Laszlo.png
Horia Macellariu Romania Rear Admiral Romanian Naval Forces 21 May 1944
Romanian Rear Admiral Horia Macellariu.jpg
Augustín Malár Slovakia Generálmajor Slovak Fast Division 23 January 1942
Malár Augustín.jpg
Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim Finland Field Marshal Commander-in-chief of the Finnish Defense Forces 30 August 1941 Awarded Oak Leaves 5 August 1944 Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.jpg
Gheorghe Manoliu Romania Divisions-General 4th Romanian Mountain Division 30 August 1942
General Gheorghe-Manoliu 4th Romanian Mountain Division.jpg
Giulio Martinat Italy Brigadier General (Generale di Brigata) Staff of the Italian Alpini-Corps 3 April 1943* Killed in action 26 January 1943[16] Giulio Martinat.jpg
Giovanni Messe Italy Lieutenant General (Generale di Corpo d'Armata) Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia 23 January 1942
Giovanni Messe.jpg
Béla Vitéz Miklós de Dálnok Hungary Field Marshal-Lieutenant Hungarian Fast Corps 4 December 1941
Béla Miklós de Dálnok 1942.jpg
Leonard Mociulschi Romania Major General 3rd Romanian Mountain Division 19 December 1943
Agustín Muñoz Grandes Spain Lieutenant General Blue Division (250. Infantry Division) 12 March 1942 Awarded Oak Leaves 13 December 1942 J mmue 65058 00001.jpg
Ioan Pălăghiţă Romania Major Romanian I./Infantry Regiment 94 7 April 1943
Ioan Mihail Racoviţă Romania General of the Cavalry 4th Romanian Army 8 July 1944
MihailRacovita.jpg
Edgar Rădulescu Romania Brigadier General 11th Romanian Infantry Division 3 July 1944
Gheorghe Răscănescu Romania Major Romanian I./Infantry Regiment 15 4 December 1942
Gheorghe Rascanescu.jpg
Zoltán C. Vitéz Szügyi Hungary Colonel Hungarian Infantry Division Szent László 12 January 1945
Szügyi Zoltán.jpg
Nicolae Tătăranu Romania Major General 20th Romanian Infantry Division 17 December 1942
Corneliu Teodorini Romania Colonel 6th Cavalry Division 27 August 1943 Awarded Oak Leaves 8 December 1943 Corneliu Teodorini.jpg
Jozef Turanec Slovakia Generálmajor Slovak Fast Division 7 August 1942
Jozef Turanec.jpg
Isoroku Yamamoto Japan Fleet Admiral Commander-in-chief of the IJN Combined Fleet 27 May 1943* Awarded Oak Leaves 27 May 1943
Awarded Swords 27 May 1943
Isoroku Yamamoto.jpg

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Léon Degrelle from Belgium had received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross while subordinated to the Wehrmacht. Degrelle had received the Knight's Cross as SS-Hauptsturmführer der Reserve and leader of the 5. SS-Freiwilligen-Brigade "Wallonien" on 20 February 1944.[1]
  2. ^ According to Scherzer name is spelled Fedele Degiorgis while Fellgiebel had listed him as Fedele di Giorgio.[1]
  3. ^ According to Scherzer on 28 April 1944.[15]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 268.
  2. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 112.
  3. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 1573; 1 September 1939" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  4. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 849; 3 June 1940" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  5. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt Teil I S. 613; 28 September 1941" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  6. ^ "Reichsgesetzblatt 1945 I S. 11; 29 December 1944" (PDF). ALEX Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (in German). Reichsministerium des Inneren (Ministry of the Interior). Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  7. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 801.
  8. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 495.
  9. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 739.
  10. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 284.
  11. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 462.
  12. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 257.
  13. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 328.
  14. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 332.
  15. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 413.
  16. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 528.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.

External links[edit]