The German Cross (Deutsches Kreuz), often abbreviated by seasoned collectors as simply “DK”, was first instituted by Adolf Hitler in late September 1941 after the invasion of Russia as a way to reward the heroism of the German troops. This award included two distinct classes, both with their own ranking between other prominent German awards at that time. The German Cross in Gold sat between the Iron Cross 1st Class and the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, with it being earned for repeated acts of heroism and bravery or (as an officer) demonstrating superior leadership and command. The German Cross in Silver grade was earned for exceptional military conduct in war, and sat between the War Merit Cross First Class with Swords, and the Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords. These German Cross can be found in the more recognized metal version, as well as cloth, with cloth having backing material to match the uniforms of the German SS, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe and Heer.
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