WW2 German Medals and Decorations Awarded to Foreigners
to Eastern Peoples, other Axis countries, etc.
By Stephen Sherman, Nov. 2008. Updated July 18, 2011.
- Spanish Blue Division
While Spain remained officialy neutral throughout World War Two, it was, in fact, a Fascist country, and the Nazis had greatly helped Franco in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Blue Divsion was composed of volunteers, and it saw service in Russia, notably in the seige of Leningrad. This medal was awarded to all 45,000 who served in the division.
- Eastern Peoples (Ostvolk) Medals
Leave it to the Nazi propaganda machine to come up with this: medals awarded solely to Russians, people that they considered untermensch and sought to enslave or exterminate. These were the only German medals in WWII to not include a swastika. There were four versions, the Gold (shown above), the Gold with Crossed Swords, the Silver, and the Silver with Crossed Swords (last three shown below).
When Germany overran large swathes of the Soviet Union in 1941, many locals collaborated with them, and were referred to as "Hilfswillige," or "Hiwi" for short by the German soldiers.