Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3339: Decorations and Documents for a Grossdeutshland Panzer NCO

Auction Date: May 15, 2022

Fine Collection of Decorations and Documents for a Panzer NCO in the Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland

Estimated Price: $5,000 - $7,500

Fine Collection of Decorations and Documents for a Panzer NCO in the Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutschland

Manufacturer: None
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Type: Other
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Item Views: 396
Item Interest: Very Active
Catalog Page: 190
Class: Other
Description:

While not all specifically documented, multiple documents and objects in this lot are explicitly marked to a Siegfried Kickstein, an enlisted man/NCO with the Heer during World War II, who appears to have spent the lion's share of their career with the Panzergrenadier-Division Grossdeutschland. Originally founded in the Weimar Era as a honor guard unit for the city of Berlin, the unit was renamed and reorganized as a combat unit in 1939, preserving the original unit tradition of drawing men from all regions of Germany which served as the inspiration for the name ("Greater Germany", versus the assorted individual pre-empire kingdoms that made up Germany). Originally an infantry regiment, Grossdeutschland was too late for Poland but was right up front for the invasion of France, and would continue on through the rest of the war, chiefly on the Eastern Front. As the war went on the Regiment was reorganized multiple times, eventually becoming a Panzergrenadier Division, though most of the unit would be wiped out in the East during the final retreat back into Europe; aside from about 800 men who managed to slip off and surrender to the British, most either died in the East or got captured by the Soviets. Among the documentation of Kickstein are an interesting set of bookends, specifically a post-war archival copy of Kickstein's Gymnasium graduation records from 1938 (which note him as born in 1921, notably good in chemistry and biology, poor in mathematics), prior to his enlistment in the Wehrmacht, and a 1946 German government document (with the Reichsadler seal hastily de-Nazified by gouging the swastika out of the stamp) declaring Siegfried as officially discharged from the Wehrmacht and cleared to return home. In between are a number of records, notes on minor injuries suffered in the field (multiple cases of respiratory distress attributed as asthma attacks), and award certificates for the Tank Badge in Silver (1941, with Panzer Abteilung 100, an experimental flamethrower tank unit that would be later converted to conventional tanks and added to Grossdeutschland during their expansions), Black Wound Badge (1942, with Grossdeutschland), the Iron Cross Second Class (1942), and the "25" add-on for the Tank Badge (1944). Also present is Kickstein's Wehrpass identification booklet, a vintage photo of a tank, and a vintage photo of a panzer NCO; while the loose photo is not marked, comparison with the pic of a young, fresh Kickstein c.1939 suggests the same man affected by time and combat stress. Also included is the silver-on-black Grossdeutschland cuff title, a single shoulder strap for an Unteroffizer with the Grossdeutschland "GD" badge, aluminum ID badge reading "O 197/1./Pz.L.Rgt.", Black Wound Badge, Silver Tank Badge with "25", and a pinback-style Iron Cross. Provenance: The Putnam Green/Sycamore Collection

Rating Definition:

Very good overall. The paper items show wear and tear appropriate to age, with some of the award certificates showing signs of the actual medals being pinned to them to keep everything together. The cloth and metal items are in similar condition.



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