by Sebastián J. Bianchi
This award was instituted on August 2nd, 1939, to recognize those who designed and built the fortifications on Germany's western borders and the troops who were stationed there prior to May 1940.
The medal was struck in bronzed brass. Its oval shape featured on the obverse (from bottom to top) a bunker, a crossed sword and shovel, and the German Eagle. On the reverse it bore the inscription "Fur Arbeit zum Schutze Deutschlands" (For Work in the Protection/Defense of Germany). The awarding of this Medal stopped on January 31, 1941, at which time 622,064 had been awarded.
As the war threatened German border again in 1944 with the D-day allied landing and subsequent invasion of France, the fortification of the frontiers became necessary and once again a significant work force was mobilized. Therefore, a second production run was conducted to reward the workers and military personnel strengthening the notorious Siegfried line. This time the Medal was constructed of in Bronzed zinc. A bar with the date "1944" was authorized for those who already held the 1939 version, but such award was never mass produced. To view the dossier and story of Felfwebel Rudolf Hillebrand, a recipient of this medal, click on his name.
Sebastián Bianchi Collection
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