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Old 08-21-2004, 03:15 AM   #1
Taz
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Order "Cross Of Grunwald".

(Order Krzyza Grunwaldu)

This Order was instituted on November 8th, 1943 (executive January 1, 1944) as an award of Gwardia Ludowa (People's Guard) - a leftist Resistance organization; confirmed by the new Polish authorities on February 20th, 1944. On December 23rd, 1944 included in the new award system by a decree of Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego (Polish Committee of National Liberation.
The order's name and symbols go back to a victorious battle with the Teutonic Order, held at Grunwald (Tannenberg) on July 15, 1410.
Grunwald is a village in northern Poland, 30 km south from Olzstyn. Here one of the most important European battles of the Middle Ages was fought.
Two allied forces both Polish and Lithuanian of about 50 000 men led by the Polish king Vladislav and the Lithuanian prince Vitold fought against The Order of German Knights of about 40 000 men which was led by its Grand master Ulrich von Juningen.
The battle ended up by crushing defeat of the Order of German Knights and the beginning of the end of the Order.

There are two stories about the swords dipicted on the Order.
One says that the German Knights sent a horseman with a blunt sword to the Polish and Lithuanian forces as a challenge. When he returned there was a sharp sword tied to it meaning that they accept the challenge. The other states that the battle was initiated by Juningen as he sent two of his knights with drawn swords and a message, that said, the knights should help the Polish fight because the Polish did not dare to start fighting.
Vladislav accepted the challenge and he commanded to start the fight.

The order was conferred in three classes, at first in a provisional form of the ribbon bar, replaced by the cross at the beginning of 1945. The order was meant primarily for soldiers of communist and leftist military organizations in opposition to the Home Army.
The 1st class of the order was conferred for outstanding merit in armed forces' organization and commanding big military operations.

2nd class - for commanding military units and organizing the armed forces.

3rd class - for acts of personal bravery or active underground work.

The order could be awarded once in each class. In Peoples' Poland the order was conferred for merit in organizing and commanding the armed forces. It was discontinued in 1992.

1st class: non-enameled Greek cross of gold, with lowered edges, 55 x 55 mm. In the middle there is a gothic shield bearing two swords pointed down - a symbol of the battle of Grünwald.
The reverse of the shield bears the inscription: 1410 / K.G. / 1944. Until 1952 the badge was worn from a cravat; since then it has been worn from a breast ribbon, just like the other two classes.
2nd class: as above, but in silver and in the dimensions 44 x 44 mm; with gilt swords and the shield's and the cross' edge. III class: as above, but entirely in silver; the cross' edge on the reverse is not lowered.

Ribbon: 35 mm, red with a wide white central stripe and green edges.

Eddie.

Order of the Cross of Grunwald 3rd Class with issue box.
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File Type: jpg Orden des Grunwaldkreuz, 1944-1992, 3. Klasse.jpg (48.1 KB, 70 views)
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Old 09-10-2004, 03:49 PM   #2
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Order of the Cross of Grunwald 1st Class.
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Old 09-10-2004, 05:28 PM   #3
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I read in french edition of Orders and decorations of Poland, by Wanda Bigoszewska (drawings by Adam Jonca), Interpress editions, Varsovia, 1989,

the first class was in solid gold...the others in solid silver.
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Old 09-11-2004, 04:40 AM   #4
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Sebastian,
thanks for the info, I also have Wanda's book, in fact I'm reading it at the moment. The problem is that it is in Polish. There is two complete pages of info on this award, if you can post some more interesting details that would be most appriciated.
I think these are the awardings up till 1983, maybe you can confirm this.

Award Numbers:

First Class - 71
Second Class - 346
Third Class - 5321

There is also a mention of the following:

Marshals Greczko, Jakubowski, Koniew, Rokossowski, Ustinow, Wasilewski and Zukow. I think they were awarded the First Class of this order. Is that correct?

Just out of interest General Dwight D. Eisenhower was awarded the following Polish awards.

Virtuti Militari, 1st Class
Polonia Restituta, Chevalier
Cross of Grunwald, 1st Class

And Josip Broz Tito these:

Medal of Victory and Freedom 1945 16. March 1946, Warsaw
Partisan Cross 16. March 1946, Warsaw
Order of the Grand Cross for Military Merit 1st Class with Sash 16. March 1946, Warsaw
Order of the Grand Cross Polonia Restituta with Sash 25. June 1964, Warsaw
Order of the Grand Cross Polonia Restituta, 4. May 1973, Brdo pri Kranju.

TIA Eddie.

Here is the 2nd Class showing the gilt outer edges, Shield rim and ring. Also the two swords and the inscription on the reverse are gilted.
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File Type: jpg Grunwald II Class.jpg (28.4 KB, 43 views)
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Old 09-11-2004, 06:28 AM   #5
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OK guys, here's a translation from the french edition:

Institued in november of 1943, on behalf of People's Guard High Command, and confirmed by decision of People's National Concil on february 20, 1944 (act published in the "Rada Narodowa" nr7 and then by decret of CPLN on december 22, 1944 (Law Journal nr 17, 1944, art.91).
This order's history is not ordinary because it was instaured during the hardest fights lead by partisans against hitlerian occupant. The numeric increase of partisans squads coming from the left movement of clandestine fight in the occupied country, made necessary the need of new symbols caracterizing the People's Guard, then National Army, soldiers ideology. Th new symbols were gradually placed on banners and insignias of these regiments. And by the middle of 1942 were applicated new forms of distinction:three degrees of praise expressed by the People's Guard High Command.
By may 1943, the People's Guard General Staff commander, Franciszek Jozwiak, ps. "Witold", decided to create a new military decoration. His proposal had been agreed by the Polish Workers Party direction, and the name and the insignias have been created. In the projetc authors ideas, the new decoration for soldiers from polish left should emphasize the national caracter of their units and their fight goals. It was decided that name and symbols of the projected decoration will take up again with the traditions of fights lead by Polish against teutonism, and with the Grunwald victory of 1410.
The insignia project was left with commander Stanislaw Nowicki, ps."Felek", chief redactor of People's Guard clandestine organa "Gwardzista" and member of the P.G. General staff. The first project, uncompletely finished, saw the daylight by the middle of 1943. After a debate, the decoration received the name of GRUNWALD CROSS. The document introducing the decoration was the P.G. reglement of november,1943, which stated: "the Grunwald Cross is a polish award confered for heroic deeds in the armed fight against occupant for Poland Freedom and Independance".
The reglementation confirmed the previous three degrees distinctions, decsribed the way to bear it, the dimensions (1st class: 30mm ribon; 2nd cl.: 20mm ribbon;3 rd cl.: 15mm ribbon wide) and the white-red ribons colours which were decerned instead of insignias in elaboration processing. It defined also the right of awardees to a promotion - simple awarded privates progressed to the corporal rank, seargents to lieutnant. During a solemn call, the awardees receive the diploma for which they distinguished themselves. The diplomas only stated the soldiers pseudonyms, not the names.
The following document - the N.P. High Command General Staff order, dated of january 1st, 1944, and published in "Gwardzista" nr36 of december 25, 1943, defined the attribution conditions of all differents order classes: the first class was decerned for "eminent services in organizing polish armed forces, for great military operations lead with success, and for the Grunwald Cross second class awardees, for multiple personnal heroic deeds". The class II was confered "for a remarquable commanding during fighting, for devoted activity in the organisation of polish armed forces, and for the IIIrd class Grunwald cross awardees, for personnal heroic deeds". The III class was given "for personnal heroic deeds on the battlefield or in clandestine activity".
On february 20, 1944, the People National Council confirmed, following a proposal of general Rola-Zymierski, Commander-in-chief of People's Army, the People's Guard Command decisions. The People's Council resolution, which was the Order's foudamental juridic act, stated that "the GRUNWALD CROSS is a military award". It precised the qualification of acts and services which deserved the different class awarding. The first class could be confered "for a victorious direction for great miltary operations , for important and eminent services in organizing of armed forces and clandestine fight". The IInd class - "for a unit eminent commanding on the battlefield, for commanding a partisan squad and for eminent services in clandestine activity". The IIIrd class - "for personnal heroic deeds on the battlefield or in clandestien activity".

the next episode following...;)
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Old 09-11-2004, 07:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlet
I read in french edition of Orders and decorations of Poland, by Wanda Bigoszewska (drawings by Adam Jonca), Interpress editions, Varsovia, 1989,

the first class was in solid gold...the others in solid silver.
Guys,

I just looked at my 1st class Grunwald Cross - it's not made out of gold.

William
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Old 09-11-2004, 07:51 AM   #7
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William,

That would mean one of two possibilities:
1. References are erroneous
2. Your cross is not what it pertains to be

Marc
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Old 09-11-2004, 08:17 AM   #8
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Sebastian,
thanks very much for the translation, I'm looking forward to the second instalment. :)
So the main difference in the award critaria was that following the proposal of General Rola-Zymierski, Commander-in-chief of People's Army it was also awarded for clandestine operations, that's interesting. I wonder why she doesn't give the actual date of November 8th, 1943 as the day of institution.

With regards to the 1st Class being solid Gold, I was always under the impression that it was Gold plated Silver but the materials used will no doubt be in Sebastians second part.

There is also a Book dedicated to this award, I'll have to watch out for this one, maybe one of you guys have it already?

Eddie.
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File Type: jpg book.jpg (27.3 KB, 32 views)
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Old 09-11-2004, 09:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by new world
Guys,

I just looked at my 1st class Grunwald Cross - it's not made out of gold.

William
There is unfortunately a very large proportion of fakes in the Polish medals and orders market. A friend of mine collects Polish orders and most of the stuff he buys turns out to be forgeries...

Matt.
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Old 09-11-2004, 11:07 AM   #10
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Matt,
sad but true on the Polish collectors militaria market today we can find up to 90% of items to be fake or reproductions.

Eddie.
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