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The book details, in 208 pages, the lives and careers of the 81 SS and
Police recipients of the Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Silber (DKiS), the class of the German Cross awarded for contributions to the war effort of a non-combatant nature. Mr. Yerger writes, "More than half of the German Crosses in Silver went to members of field units of the
Waffen-SS. Foremost among these are individuals connected to supporting elements that included administrators, engineers and medical personnel." The balance were distributed among heads and branch chiefs of several SS Hauptämter (main offices), military administration officials in
occupied countries whose SS rank was largely nominal, and leading
officers of the SS and German Police.
Format of the biographies is as follows:
Date of award of the DkiS
[Other] Decorations (e.g.~ Iron Cross 2nd Class)
Detailed biographical study providing date/place of birth, career information, details of family life, the specific service which resulted in award of the DkiS, postwar prosecution (if applicable), postwar activities and employment, date/place of death, etc. Additional information (explanations of terminology, biographical notes on the non-DKiS holders mentioned in the text, details on the organization and development of various military and political formations and organizations, etc.) is provided in over 230 footnotes. At least one photo appears for all but a few of the men covered. Photographic content is superb, and most of the images have never before been published.
Also included are clear and vivid images (obverse, reverse, and side
view) of the award piece itself. Images of award documents are also
presented, as well as information on the criteria for award of this rare decoration.
Binding and layout are typical Bender Publishing- that is, superb
(durable, professional, attractive).
This work, the beginning of a multivolume series which aims to cover all SS and Polizei recipients of the German Cross (subsequent volumes will detail those who received the gold [combatant] version of the award), serves as further confirmation of something I've known for five years- that Mark C. Yerger is today's foremost authority on the personalities
of the SS and German Police. Unlike so many authors, who rely almost entirely on secondary sources in coming to their "conclusions" on the careers and character of these men (generally revealing more about their
personal biases than the truth about the men of the SS), Yerger has personally interviewed many of them, gathering his information directly from the men about whom he writes. He has met and in a number of cases befriended some of the most notable and highly decorated officers of the Waffen-SS, men like Otto Kumm, Otto Weidinger, Ernst-August Krag, and Otto Baum. In my opinion, Mark C. Yerger has done more than any other historian to reveal the true character of the officers and men of the Waffen-SS, and in so doing, shattered a great many tired and subjective old myths. On a side note, it is great to see him working with Roger
Bender, who has published dozens of excellent- in some cases, classic-
works on the military and political organizations of the Third Reich, as well as the uniforms, insignia, decorations, edged weaponry, and other accessories of those organizations.
Once they obtain a copy of Mark C. Yerger's latest book, I am sure the
readers of this forum will agree that he is to be commended on yet
another job well done.
~ Mike Miller
Axis Biographical Research
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- In memoriam
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