Take a rare look at a little known Third Reich badge awarded to volunteers from the occupied eastern territories who served in various German formations. As the German military situation worsened in 1942, Hitler authorised formation of so-called eastern units made up of Slavic volunteers. With the number of eastern volunteers rising rapidly and many of them already having distinguished themselves in action, the question of how to honor their service arose. In July 1942, Hitler ordered the awarding of the Decoration for Eastern Peoples. Those permitted to be awarded included Turkish units, Cossack units, Crimean Tatar units, Auxiliary Police (Schutzmannschaft) Battalions, unarmed auxiliaries (Hilfswilligen, or Hiwis) in German units, and domestic security units in the operations zone. Very rare examples of actual badges, award documents and soldbuchs, and never before seen war era images are presented here. 49 b/w
Rolf Michaelis specializes in books on the Waffen-SS and has written over thirty to date, with many available in English from Schiffer Books. He lives in Berlin.