A certificate for the Iron Cross 1st Class, measuring 139x200mm, extremely fine condition with age-related discolouration and horizontal folding crease.
The recipient is Lieutenant Erich Fischer of the 6th Battalion of the Kuban Cossack Cavalry Regiment 3. The document is dated to the division’s command post on June 12, 1944. It is signed in blue ink by the division’s commander, Lieutenant General Helmuth von Pannwitz.
Footnote: Helmuth von Pannwitz (1898–1947) was a recipient of the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves. He received the Knight’s Cross in 1941. The Oak Leaves followed in 1942 for successful military leadership while commanding a battle group during the Battle of Stalingrad. He was instrumental in forming a Cossack Cavalry Brigade, which eventually became the 1st and 2nd Cossack Division, which in turn were combined to form the XV SS Cossack Cavalry Corps towards the end of the war when the SS took control over all foreign troops. Pannwitz was highly respected by his troops, eventually being declared their Supreme Ataman, the highest rank in the Cossack hierarchy.
At the end of the war, Pannwitz surrendered to the British in Austria and tried to keep his forces from being extradited to Russia, since he knew they would be killed there for siding with the Germans. However, he had no success and eventually shared his men’s fate. He was executed in Moscow in January 1947 for war crimes.