Citations – and why they matter

Continuing our look at Germany’s iconic medal, today we have an example of the document explaining why one particular soldier on the Western Front was awarded the Iron Cross, second class.

A citation is a formal, official acknowledgment of a specific act of bravery, distinguished service, or exemplary performance by an individual or a unit. It’s provided in writing and often accompanies a medal or award. The citation gives details about the action or behavior that warranted the recognition. It serves as an enduring record of a person’s or unit’s exceptional service or valor in the face of danger or adversity.

In this particular instance, this one was awarded to musketeer  Heinrich Anhaus of the 4th company  Infantry Regiment 131. As was often the case, it was bestowed on him in the field on 5 October 1917 for his  action on 31 August 1917. Whenever these do turn up, they tend to be quite worn because the soldier would often fold them up and keep them in a pocket. And it’s always worth checking if you have  the commanding officers signature for good measure!