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eMedals-The Awards of  Johannes-Matthias Hönscheid; Liaison Officer to Propaganda Minister

Item: G32157

The Awards of Johannes-Matthias Hönscheid; Liaison Officer to Propaganda Minister


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The Awards of Johannes-Matthias Hönscheid; Liaison Officer to Propaganda Minister

This is a fine grouping of a Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 and a German Cross in Gold, belonging to Johannes-Matthias “Hannes” Hönscheid.

1) The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 (Ritterkreuz) features a regulation silver frame in the shape of a cross pattée that is marked “800” centrally on the edge of the upper arm, with a blackened eggshell magnetic iron core (magnetic). It features a full loop suspension right, along with a double-looped ring for ribbon suspension, that is clearly marked “800” for silver content, and maker marked “65” for “Klein & Quenzer of Idar-Oberstein. The cross itself is not marked by Klein & Quenzer, but exhibits the characteristics of this manufacturer, including the ribbed bordering, the sharp details in the raised centrally located mobile swastika, as well as in the re-institution date “1939” in raised numbering on the obverse of the lower arm, and the original institution date “1813” in raised numbering on the lower arm of the reverse. This Knight’s Cross measures 49.07 mm x 48.71 mm, and weighs 31.0 grams. It is hand etched with “Ltn. Hö”on the top of the frame on either side of the silver mark of the cross. Overall, Cross is very well preserved, with limited wear on the core of the cross, but with some light to the silver finish on the frame.

2) The German Cross in Gold (Deutsches Kreuz in Gold) features a fine double-overlaid sunburst pattern with eight points, with a black enameled mobile swastika in the centre within a stamped gilded circular wreath impressed with oak leaves, ribbons, and the introduction year “1941”. The inner and outer sides of the wreath feature a thin red enameled ring with a silver core in the middle. The reverse features a countersunk hinge with a vertical tapered pin (marked “20” on the reverse of the pin for “Fritz Zimmermann of Lüdenscheid” manufacture, with a countersunk broad catch, along with Zimmermann’s signature four hollow rivets. The reverse is hand etched “Kriegsberichter Leutnant d. R. J. M. Hönscheid, Karlshaven (Wesen)” in block letters. This German Cross in Gold measures 63.03 mm x 63.12 mm and weighs 45.1 grams. Overall, this Cross is very well preserved, with light scuffing on the black enamels and some light to moderate wear to the gilt on the wreath.


Footnote: Johannes-Matthias “Hannes” Hönscheid was born June 14, 1922 in Eitorf (western Germany). He studied at the University of Frankfurt before being drafted into the Luftwaffe Signals Company of Fliegerhorst (Airbase) Fritzlar in early 1942. By September, Hönscheid was Frontschriftleiter (front editor) for the German-Italian newspaper “Il Popolo de Sicilia” (The Eagle of Sicily) in Catania, as a Kriegsberichter (war correspondent) for the Luftwaffe. During this time, he saw action with the 3rd Group of Training Wing 1, and with Fighter Wing 54 as gunner in the crew of a Ju 88. He participated in 28 missions, including dog fights - he shot down one plane - and attacks on La Valletta and Cape Bône. Afterwards, he served as a war correspondent z.b.V. (zur besonderen Verwendung = for special use) at Rommel’s headquarters and for Commander-in-Chief South, General Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. Hönscheid proved to be a very versatile soldier, fighting as a paratrooper with the Battalion Graßmehl of the 1st Paratrooper Division during the Sicily campaign, and during the retreating battles in the vicinity of Frosinone-Monte Cassino he used T-mines to destroy seven tanks. As a patrol leader, he is credited with capturing a total of 827 enemy soldiers.

When he was taken prisoner himself by the British, Hönscheid was able to escape, even though he was severely wounded in the process. In September of 1944, he was redeployed to the Heer (army) where he served in the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht as Referatsleiter (head of division) for the deployment of war correspondents, military censor, and liaison officer to Propaganda Minister Goebbels. For a time, he also served as Kriegstagebuchführer (war journal record keeper) in the Führer Headquarters “Wolfsschanze”. Hönscheid was awarded the German Cross in Gold, as well as the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross by Wehrmacht Propaganda Leader Major General Hasso von Wedel, during the final weeks of the war, on March 16, 1945, in the rank of Oberfeldwebel (Senior Sergeant) for his extraordinary achievements during the defensive battles against the Allied forces in Italy. He was the only war correspondent to ever receive the Knight’s Cross. At the end of the war, he held the rank of Lieutenant of the Reserve. Among his other decorations are a Panzer Badge in Gold, a Close Combat Clasp in Silver, the Afrika Campaign sleeve band, a Wound Badge in Silver, and both classes of the War Merit Cross.

After the war, Hönscheid began a successful career as a chief editor and publisher in Munich. He died at the age of 78 on March 2, 2001.


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