Women awarded the Iron Cross

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Vikki.
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Helge
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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Helge » 06 Feb 2015 06:40

Marthe Cnockaert


Cnockaert was one of the most influential female spies of the World War. Born in Belgium, she earned an Iron Cross from the Germans for her work in a military hospital in her village when they invaded her town. Soon, though, she was working as a spy for the British, passing on information to the allies (and, for a short time, pretending to be a double agent to get the Germans off her trail).

It all ended when she left her engraved watch behind when laying explosives under an ammunition store. She was caught, tried and sentenced to death, but instead got seven years in a prison in Ghent before the end of the war meant her release. Always ahead of her time, she went on to write a best-selling memoir, entitled I Was A Spy!

http://www.bustle.com/articles/48404-10 ... ght-by-men
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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by chris44 » 09 Feb 2015 18:00

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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by chris44 » 09 Feb 2015 23:59

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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Helge » 10 Feb 2015 12:18

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Sota ei päätä kuka on oikeassa, vain sen että kuka on jäljellä.
War does not decide who is right but only those who are left.

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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Heimatschuss » 14 Feb 2015 17:29

Hello,

my long-standing suspicion that the photo below shows Iron Cross recipient Elfriede Gunia with Anne Gunhild Moxness has been confirmed when I found this copy with a caption calling the nurse in the centre 'Elfriede G.'
Elfriede Gunia and Anne G. Moxness.JPG
Source: Znaimer Tagblatt of Dec. 7th, 1944; 47. Jahrgang; Folge 289; p.3
http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno? ... =3&zoom=34

Translation:

German Red Cross Nurses - prove themselves in frontline service

Most of the women decorated with the Iron Cross 2nd class in this war belong to the German Red Cross.
Courage and determination in the face of imminent danger allowed these women to commit acts of valour that are
in no way second to soldiers' deeds. Our picture shows DRK nurse Elfriede G. (centre) and Norwegian Anne M.
who has volunteered for service. They distinguished themselves by heroic behaviour during an air raid in
which their hospital was badly hit and received the Iron Cross 2nd class. Here they tell a Danish comrade about
the event.

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Torsten
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Marcus
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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Marcus » 14 Feb 2015 17:34

Thanks to Heimatschuss and Helge for your continuing work in this thread.

/Marcus

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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Heimatschuss » 15 Feb 2015 11:10

Hello,

found the following newspaper note that reports the bestowal of the Iron Cross 1st class to nurse Else Großmann. Obviously Großmann was decorated already in autumn 1944, several months earlier than presumed until now. Though the description of the combat location is very vague it reminds me of the battle of Aachen that raged in September/October 1944.
Else Grossmann.JPG
Source: Znaimer Tagblatt of Dec. 15th, 1944; 47. Jahrgang; Folge 296; p.3
http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno? ... =3&zoom=34

Translation:

First Iron Cross For A Woman From The Führer's Homeland

Frau Else Großmann who's a member of the German Red Cross in Linz already since unification of Austria and Germany
was decorated with the Iron Cross 1st class for her couragous efforts in saving wounded men.

These days she's on home leave for a short while visiting her parents and told us how she earned this high award:
A town on the western front was being evacuated. With two autos the wounded were transferred to the railways. Due to
enemy fire one of the vehicles was soon out of order. Shortly afterwards the driver of the second vehicle in which nurse
Else was traveling with her wounded was badly injured. The nurse immediately took over the driver's wheel and after
that tour did the evacuation ride another four times completely on her own. This way she brought to safety all the
wounded and a considerable number of civilians as well.

After that nurse Else was summoned to the Colonel's HQ where also the Corps Commander was present. He took the IC 1st class
from his tunic and handed it to the nurse saying: You've really earned this yourself today, sister!

When back home [in Linz] she was surprised by a telegram from the Führer with the words: I'm proud that you are the first
woman from my homeland to have received the Iron Cross 1st class.

To the numerous congratulators nurse Else just modestly said: Oh, brave they're all out there. Anyone sees the others
doing so and such it's no longer that hard anymore but rather natural.


Best regards
Torsten
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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Heimatschuss » 15 Feb 2015 19:42

Hello,

suffered an acute bout of genius while taking the usual Sunday stroll around the village. Inspiration told me that if there's so much already about Else Großmann in a newspaper from Lower Austria there might be even more in papers from her home region Upper Austria. And right I was, found the following article in another paper that is several paragraphs longer.

The most important info bite to be found in the longer version is that Else Großmann was awarded the Iron Cross on Dec. 5th, 1944. She'd received the War Merit Cross with Swords (2nd class I guess) just the previous day.
Else Grossmann 2.jpg
Source: Innviertler Heimatblatt of Dec. 15th, 1944; 7. Jahrgang; No.50; p.4
http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno? ... =4&zoom=34

Translation:

Iron Cross 1st Class For Linz Woman
"And this duty anyone on the frontline fulfills ..."

Already since the unification of Austria and Germany Frau Else Großmann is a member of the German Red Cross [in Linz].
Originating from an officer's family in Linz and affiliated with National-Socialist ideology already since her youth this kind
of practical work was the logical consequence of her Weltanschauung, not least because she'd studied eight terms of medicine
before her marriage.

For three months now nurse Else is doing frontline service and accompanies casualty train transports from dressing stations to
rear-area hospitals. This gives one quite some opportunity to distinguish oneself, afterall Mr. Tommy doesn't care much about
the large Red Crosses on hospital trains as we all know. And so nurse Else did. The reward for this was the War Merit Cross with
Swords she receiced on Dec. 4th. But just the next day she was to surpass her previous efforts. A town on the western front was
being evacuated. With two autos the wounded were transferred to the railways. But the city was already under enemy artillery fire
so one of the vehicles was soon out of order and shortly afterwards her own driver was hit as well. The nurse pushed the wounded
man to the side and took over the driver's wheel. After that tour she did the evacuation ride another four times completely on her
own. This way she brought to safety all the wounded and a considerable number of civilians as well.

After that nurse Else was summoned to the Colonel's HQ where also the Corps Commander was present. He took the Iron Cross
from his tunic and handed it to the nurse saying: "You've really earned this today, sister!"

She's now on home leave for a few days in the house of her parents. A telegram sent by the Führer came saying: "I'm proud
that you are the first woman from my homeland to receive the Iron Cross 1st class". Also visitors and congratulators come.
But nurse Else doens't want to hear anything about bravery or heroism. "That was no heroism, it simply was my duty" she says,
"and anyone else at the front fulfills his duty just like me". And even when she values her courageous deed a little bit she
says nonetheless: "Oh, brave they're all out there. Anyone sees the others doing so and such it's no longer that hard anymore
but quite natural."


Best regards
Torsten
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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Helge » 16 Feb 2015 11:35

The Order of Hildegard is a military decoration which was awarded by Imperial Germany for just a brief period of time and exclusively in the colony of German South West Africa. This order became the only officially recognized cloth variety of the Iron Cross.

At the start of the First World War in August 1914 Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany decided to reintroduce the Iron Cross in recognition of bravery and valour on the battlefield. He thus revived a tradition of his royal Prussian ancestors. King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia had first instituted the Iron Cross, in three classes, for the duration of the Napoleonic Wars. King Wilhelm I brought back the medal in 1870 for the Franco-Prussian War.

When Emperor Wilhelm II reintroduced the Iron Cross at the start of the First World War he also authorized the commanders of the Imperial armies in the German colonies to award the decoration on his behalf.

In German South West Africa the first major battle was fought on 26 September 1914 at Sandfontein. The Schutztruppe, even though outnumbered by far, was able to defeat the South African Union troops. After the battle, Schutztruppe Commander Lieutenant Colonel Joachim von Heydebreck suggested to the Governor, Dr. Theodor Seitz, to award the Iron Cross to several of his men.

However, because of the war the German colony was cut off from the motherland. A temporary solution had to be found until the medals would be sent from Germany. At that time the colony had no factory which could have made provisional medals. Therefore the governor’s spouse, Hildegard Seitz, proposed to award a provisional decoration made from cloth. This variety of the Iron Cross could be made by the ladies of the Women’s Division of the German Red Cross in the Colonies, she said, and it could be sewn directly onto the uniform.

The suggestion was accepted and a decree on awarding the provisional decoration, the ‘black cross with a white border ‘, was issued on 18 October 1914. Among the troops the handiwork was soon known as the Order of Hildegard. According to the decree it was a one-class decoration for officers as much as all other ranks. When awarding the ‘medal’ no difference between first and second class was made.

The first batch of Hildegard medals was awarded on 22 October 1914, the birthday of Empress Auguste Viktoria. Most of the 42 recipients were members of the 2nd regiment which had fought so valiantly at Sandfontein. The next list of 37 recipients (mostly from the 1st and 3rd regiment) was published in Aus on 27 January 1915, the birthday of Emperor Wilhelm II. It is not known how many others were awarded the Order of Hildegard because the relevant documents in the archives of Potsdam were damaged during the Second World War.

The two lists of names mentioned were drawn up on instruction of Lieutenant Colonel von Heydebreck who was tragically killed in an accident when new rifle grenades were tested in November 1914. His successor as Commander of the Schutztruppe in German South West Africa, Victor Franke, decided not to continue with the awarding of the Order of Hildegard but rather with the proper Iron Cross instead.

In German South West Africa the Schutztruppe surrendered to the superior strength of the South African troops on 9 July 1915 in the vicinity of Otavi. Active officers and men were taken to the internment camp at Aus. South African soldiers who were on guard when the Schutztruppe soldiers were moved from Otavifontein noticed the extraordinary decoration on some of the uniforms. What they saw was a white-rimmed black cross made from cloth – the provisional flash for the Iron Cross.

After the First World War the German military authorities replaced the Order of Hildegard with the Iron Cross 2nd class. The provisional decoration faded into obscurity until it was shown to the public for the first and only time at a colonial exhibition, held in Dresden in 1939.

Photo 1: Hildegard Seitz, the wife of the Gouverneur of German South West Africa, came up with the idea to make a provisional cloth version of the Iron Cross medal.

Photo 2: The Order of Hildegard (Private Collection Gordon McGregor)


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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Heimatschuss » 21 Feb 2015 18:02

Hello Helge,

very interesting. I'd never heard about this ersatz decoration before. Thank you for sharing.

Here's some information on Elfriede Wnuk the second woman to receive an IC in World War II:

* Feb. 15th, 1916 in Mingfen (County Ortelsburg, East Prussia)
+ Aug. 16th, 1999 in Osnabrück (Lower Saxony)
Elfriede Wnuk.JPG
Source: Das Ostpreußenblatt of Sept. 22nd, 1999; 50. Jahrgang; Folge 38; p.22
http://archiv.preussische-allgemeine.de ... =m%C3%B6lk

A sketch of Elfriede Wnuk's life based on a book by Friedrich Forrer appeared as a serial in several editions of the weekly 'Ostpreußenblatt' in 1962 (N.N., 1962a-f).

Wnuk's parents had a small farm in the East Prussian hamlet Mingfen where Elfriede grew up with six brothers and sisters. Her father already died when she was 13. While on a visit to Königsberg she saw a group of nurses leaving the local Red Cross nurses' home to go to work and decided this would be her future life too. Wnuk was accepted by the Red Cross and became a certified nurse in 1938 after passing the requiste exams. In summer 1939 she was conscripted by the German military together with all other members of Red Cross sisterhood 'East Prussia'. She served in military hospitals during the campaigns in Poland (1939) and in the West (1940).

In summer 1941 Wnuk was in Kriegslazarett-Abteilung 509 when the invasion of the Soviet Union began. In October 1941 her hospital reached Orel [Oryol] in Central Russia where it remained after the German advance had bogged down. When in December 1941 there was the danger that Orel might be pocketed by Soviet forces all nurses were shipped back to the hinterland despite Wnuk's protests. After an errand of several weeks accompanying a med-evac train the nurses reached Belorussian capital Minsk where they stayed for the rest of the winter. In spring 1942 Wnuk came back to Orel to help in Kriegslazarett-Abteilung 509 again which had a very hard time since typhus was raging amongst its patients.

It was Orel too where she lost her leg in summer 1942. It had to be amputated after bomb shrapnel had hit her knee joint during a Soviet air raid. When she was ready for transport again Wnuk was transferred back to Königsberg. There she received her own room in the Red Cross nurses' home and was retrained as a medical lab technician. She even obtained the promise that she could serve in a field hospital again as an exception despite her handicap. In late August 1944 Wnuk survived the large RAF air raid on Königsberg and the ensuing fire storm that destroyed her hospital as well as the nurses' home. Provisionally the hospital was brought back to work and Wnuk continued to serve there. In late January 1945 Wnuk was despatched from Königsberg to the neighbouring harbour town of Pillau on a train carrying hospital patients just before Soviet forces cut off Königsberg from the sea. In Pillau Wnuk by sheer luck received a place on the casualty tranport ship 'Steuben' that brought her to Swinemünde. [On the next voyage the 'Steuben' was sunk sunk by a Soviet submarine, resulting in about 4,000 dead.]

Via Berlin where whe she received an assignment to a hospital in Prague, Wnuk came to her original destination Dresden on Febr. 12th, 1945. She was to stay for just two days in the home of the Red Cross nurses for a bit of rest. Unfortunately RAF again had it's very own designs and launched it's murderous air raid on Dresden in the night Febr. 13th /14th 1945. Wnuk barely escaped the fire storm with a charred uniform. Via Prague Elfriede Wnuk came to Bamberg in Bavaria where she witnessed the end of the war.

Later she rejoined Red Cross sisterhood 'East Prussia' that now resided in Bad Oldesloe (Northern Germany) to work in a hospital on the island of Fehmarn. Some years later she got to know her husband, Mr. Mölk who also worked for the Red Cross. Sadly he died died after just a few years of marrriage and Elfriede Wnuk took up work again in a hospital in Osnabrück.

References:

Forrer, Friedrich
Sieger ohne Waffen. Das Deutsche Rote Kreuz im Zweiten Weltkrieg.
Sponholtz Verlag; Hannover; 1962

N.N. (1962a)
Helfen - Beruf und Berufung
Schwester Elfriede und ihr Königsberger Mutterhaus im Zweiten Weltkrieg
in
Das Ostpreußenblatt of Sept. 22nd, 1962; 13. Jahrgang; Folge 38; p.4
http://archiv.preussische-allgemeine.de ... _22_38.pdf

N.N. (1962b)
Helfen - Beruf und Berufung
Schwester Elfriede und ihr Königsberger Mutterhaus im Zweiten Weltkrieg
in
Das Ostpreußenblatt of Sept. 29th, 1962; 13. Jahrgang; Folge 39; p.4
http://archiv.preussische-allgemeine.de ... _29_39.pdf

N.N. (1962c)
Helfen - Beruf und Berufung
Schwester Elfriede und ihr Königsberger Mutterhaus im Zweiten Weltkrieg
in
Das Ostpreußenblatt of Oct. 13th, 1962; 13. Jahrgang; Folge 41; p.4
http://archiv.preussische-allgemeine.de ... _13_41.pdf

N.N. (1962d)
Helfen - Beruf und Berufung
Schwester Elfriede und ihr Königsberger Mutterhaus im Zweiten Weltkrieg
in
Das Ostpreußenblatt of Oct. 20th, 1962; 13. Jahrgang; Folge 42; p.4
http://archiv.preussische-allgemeine.de ... _20_42.pdf

N.N. (1962e)
Helfen - Beruf und Berufung
Schwester Elfriede und ihr Königsberger Mutterhaus im Zweiten Weltkrieg
in
Das Ostpreußenblatt of Oct. 27th, 1962; 13. Jahrgang; Folge 43; p.4
http://archiv.preussische-allgemeine.de ... _27_43.pdf

N.N. (1962f)
Helfen - Beruf und Berufung
Schwester Elfriede und ihr Königsberger Mutterhaus im Zweiten Weltkrieg
in
Das Ostpreußenblatt of Nov. 3rd, 1962; 13. Jahrgang; Folge 44; p.4
http://archiv.preussische-allgemeine.de ... _03_44.pdf


Best regards
Torsten
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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Vikki » 08 Mar 2015 08:24

Great information Helge and Torsten.

I've been offline for a while, so I was surprised to see the post about Elfriede Wnuk, since something I ran across just the other day made me think about her. It's a pretty inconsequential question, but since I think literally: How do you pronounce her surname, in German? And how would one pronounce it in English?

~Vikki

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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Marcus » 08 Mar 2015 10:37

This thread was featured on our Facebook page recently.

/Marcus

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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Heimatschuss » 08 Mar 2015 12:17

Hi Vikki,
Vikki wrote:It's a pretty inconsequential question, but since I think literally: How do you pronounce her surname, in German? And how would one pronounce it in English?
the word is Polish and means 'grandchild'. For the pronounciation - also the German one - listen here https://translate.google.de/?hl=de&tab=wT#pl/en/wnuk (loudspeaker button in the lower left corner). In English it would be written something like Vnook or Wnoock.

The family name is quite common in Poland, more than 10,000 times in the phone book http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/wnuk.html but rare in Germany (only 100 entries and many of them for first generation immigrants obviously)(http://www.verwandt.de/karten/absolut/wnuk.html). Most of the germanized Wnuks write themselves 'Wnuck' (http://www.verwandt.de/karten/absolut/wnuck.html), a spelling almost unknown in Poland.

Yours
Torsten

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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Heimatschuss » 05 Apr 2015 10:19

Happy Easter!

I found the following newspaper article in a dutch SS weekly from November 1944 that names another two women so far unknown who were bestowed with the Iron Cross:
VROUWEN, die onderscheiden werden

Dat niet alleen mannen met onderscheidingsteekens worden geëerd, doch ook vrouwen, bewees de lerares Helene Marx, die wegens haar dapper gedrag ten overstaan van den vijand in een westelijke grensplaats het IJzeren Kruis ontving. Tijdens een zwaar gevecht, waarin ze bij de evacuatie van oude menschen geraakt was, gelukte het haar bovendien nog drie zwaargewonde soldaten te redden. Wat kunnen daar de vrouwen uit den eerste wereldoorlog, uitgezonderd dan de roodekruiszusters, tegenover stellen? In het geheel kregen vier verpleegsters toen het EK II en dan nog officieus, zoodat ze de orde als broche moesten dragen. Zulke halfslachtigheden beleven we nu niet meer.

In dezen oorlog worden onverschrokken daden volbracht, juist ook door vrouwen, die plotseling door den nood tot groote daden komen, zonder dat zij zich op een heroïsche loopbaan hadden voorbereid, zooals bijvoorbeeld Auguste Krüger in 1813, die als onderofficier in mannen kleeren vocht en zoo het IJzeren Kruis kreeg. Een opvallend staaltje van moed leverde bijv. Anna Schmidt uit Hamburg, die zich bij de fosfor-bestrijding zoo dapper gedroeg, dat het bedrijf, waar ze dien nacht den wacht had, na korten tijd weer aan den gang kon gaan. Anna Schmidt heeft zeker nooit kunnen droomen, dat zij nog eens een soldaten-onderscheiding zou dragen.

We kunnen ongeveer nagaan — nauwkeurig is het niet uit te rekenen — dat pl.m. 20 vrouwen in dezen oorlog het IJzeren Kruis hebben gekregen. Waarbij vliegerkapitein Hanna Reitsch (naast de andere vrouwelijke piloten die het EK II kregen) met het EK I en het Flugzeugführerabzeichen in goud met brillanten, altijd nog apart staat.

Het grootste percentage onderscheidingen vinden we natuurlijk bij de verpleegsters. Daar hebben we ten eerste Marga Droste uit Wilhelmshaven. Tijdens een luchtaanval werd ze door den druk van een bominslag bijna bewusteloos in een hoek geworpen, maar ze heeft desondanks toch kans gezien weer op te staan en nog de laatste gewonden van haar afdeeling in den veiligen kelder te dragen. Eerst later bemerkte ze, dat ze eenige teenen gebroken had.

Daar hebben we ook nog Elfriede Wnuk, die in een lazaret in het Oosten na langen dienst zwaar gewond werd. Ze draagt naast het EK nog het zilveren Verwundeten-Abzeichen en de Oostmedaille, evenals Magda Darchinger, die eveneens in het Oosten een been moest laten amputeren. De beide verpleegsters Ilse Schulz en Grete Fock behoorden tot de eerste groep, die in Afrika onder de primitiefste en hardste omstandigheden trouw hun arbeid volbrachten. Ook tijdens de luchtaanvallen bleven zij in de kleine operatietent. Op hen volgden Hanny Weber en Geolinde Münch, die bij El-Alamein waren. DRK-Generalhauptführerin Holzmann vervoerde in haar auto, ook tijdens luchtaanvallen in Hamburg, zieken en gewonden naar het ziekenhuis en heeft daardoor vaak genoeg vele menschen het leven gered.

Wanneer we aan de prestatie denken, die de leerling-verpleegster Ilse Daub volbracht, lijkt deze haast bovenmenschelijk. In het hart van Rusland sleepte zij uit een ontspoorden hospitaaltrein, die reeds door de vijandelijke pantsers werd aangevallen, zonder aan eigen splinterwonden te denken, ongeveer 40 zwaargewonden naar het dichtstbijzijnde spoorwegstation, en haalde uren later met een locomotief de beide laatste wagens van den hospitaaltrein.

Wij hebben hier slechts een paar voorbeelden, die ons bijzonder zijn opgevallen, genoemd. Er zijn eenige vrouwen, die het Kriegsverdienstkreuz I met zwaarden kregen. Weer anderen, en daaronder in het bijzonder Nachrichtenhelferinnen in het bezette of door luchtaanvallen gevaarlijke gebied, kregen het Kriegsverdienstkreuz I of II of de Kriegsverdienst-Medaille, die overigens ook aan boerinnen en landarbeidsters, vrouwen, die in de munitiefabrieken en vrouwen, die bij den luchtafweer werken, gegeven werd. Toch gaat het er niet om, alleen maar zulk een onderscheidingsteeken te ontvangen. De daad wordt niet terwille hiervan volbracht. Want hoevelen zijn er niet in dezen oorlog, die hetzelfde hebben gepresteerd, doch waarvan het misschien minder is opgevallen. Zij dienen opofferend in stilte. Daarom dragen al die vrouwen en meisjes de roodwitte of zwartwitroode lintjes ook mee voor die anonieme menigte der anderen, die zwijgend achter hen staat.

U. v. K.
Source:

K., U. v.
Vrouwen, die onderscheiden werden.
Storm. Weekblad der Germaansche SS in Nederland of Nov. 3rd, 1944; 4. Jaargang; no.31; p.3
http://www.delpher.nl/nl/ and then enter the term "VROUWEN, die onderscheiden werden" into the search mask including goose steps.

Translation:
WOMEN who were distinguished

That not only men are honoured with insignia of distinction but also women was proven by teacher Helene Marx, who received the Iron Cross for her brave conduct in the face of the enemy in a western border town. During the evacuation of elderly people a she got caught in a heavy engagement and evenmore succeeded in rescueing three badly wounded soldiers. What can women from WW I, with the exception of the red cross nurses put against that? In total four nurses received the the Iron Cross 2nd Class and even that was unofficial, so they had to carry the order as a brooch. Such halfheartedness we're experiencing no more today.

In this war fearless deeds are accomplished, especially by women, who suddenly out of necessity come to do great deeds without ever having prepared for a heroic career, just like Auguste Krüger who in 1813 serving as a sergeant in men's clothes won the Iron Cross. A striking example of courage displayed is Anna Schmidt from Hamburg, who behaved so bravely in fighting incendiary bombs that the company where she was on fire guard that night, could resume production after a short time. Anna Schmidt certainly would have never dreamed that she once would wear a military award.

We can assume - there's no precise count - that about 20 women have been awarded the Iron Cross in this war. Among them flight captain Hanna Reitsch (besides the other female pilots who got the EK II) is a class of her own with her EK I and pilot badge in gold with diamonds.

The largest percentage of awards we naturally find in the nurses. We have firstly Marga Droste from Wilhelmshaven. During an air raid she was thrown into a corner by the pressure of a bomb explosion and almost beame unconscious, but nevertheless she managed to get up again and carried the last of the wounded from her department to the basement shelter. Only later she noticed that she had broken several toes.

We also have Elfriede Wnuk, who was severely injured in a military hospital in the East after long time of service. She wears next to the Iron Cross also the silver wound badge and the Eastern Medal, just like Magda Darchinger who also in the East had a leg amputated. Both nurses Ilse Schulz and Grete Fock were among the first group in Africa that faithfully did their work amidst the most primitive and hardest circumstances. Even during the air raids they remained in the small surgery tent. They were followed by Hanny Weber and Geolinde Münch, who were at El Alamein. DRK-Generalhauptführerin Holzmann carried sick and wounded to the hospital in her car even during air raids on Hamburg and has therefore often
enough saved many people's lives.

When we think of the performance that nurse trainee Ilse Daub accomplished it seems almost superhuman. In the heart of Russia she dragged about 40 seriously injured from a derailed hospital train that already had been attacked by enemy armour to the nearest railway station without thinking of her own shrapnel wounds. Only hours later she fetched the last two cars of the hospital train with a locomotive.

We have named here only a few examples that particularly caught our eyes. There are some women who received the Kriegsverdienstkreuz 1st Class with swords. Still others, and amongst them especially Nachrichtenhelferinnen in areas occupied or prone to airstrikes, got the War Merit Cross 1st or 2nd Class or the War Marit Medal, which BTW also is given to farm wives, female farm hands, women working in ammunitions factories and women working in air defense. Yet it is not about just to receive such a sign of distinction. The deed is not accomplished for the sake of it. Because aren't there many in this war who have performed the same but it received less attention. They serve sacrificially in silence. That is why all these women and girls wear the red and white or black with red ribbons for that anonymous multitude of others who silently stand behind them.

U. v. K.
No exact date for the bestowals is mentioned but it could well have been in October 1944.

Best regards
Torsten
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Heimatschuss
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Re: Women awarded the Iron Cross

Post by Heimatschuss » 05 Apr 2015 17:28

Hello,

I suppose this Helene Marx is identical to a teacher by the same name from the town of Stolberg, near Aachen.
* Nov. 6th, 1902

The area of Stolberg was conquered by US forces already in mid-September 1944 but remained near the frontline until November that year.
Helene Marx.jpg
Source:
http://bbf.dipf.de/hans/VLK/VLK-0003/vlk-0003-0606.jpg

Best regards
Torsten
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