in German language in the German Order Collector
Society's magazine "Orden & Ehrenzeichen
Josef Krems was born on June 15, 1893 in Mayen,
He enlisted in the Saxon Infantry and was
sworn-in on October 3, 1914.
On November 15, 1914, he was assigned to the
Royal Saxon 7th Infantry Regiment King George No. 106,
For Jakob Krems, his combat
experience started on November 19, 1914 when he joined
his Company in the field at Ypern.
His combat career however did not get off to a
smooth start. While
involved in trench warfare in Flanders starting in early
January, he fell ill on three occasions and was in the
after a full-recovery, he re-joined his unit in the
field again on March 4, 1915.
Fortune would soon change for Krems
however and he would be hospitalized for a different
August 10, 1915, he was involved in fighting in the
Battle of Narew-Bober, was wounded, and was awarded the
Iron Cross 2nd Class.
On August 12, 1915, he was evacuated to a
hospital for treatment of his wounds where he remained
until September 27, 1915.
This time, it was not until October 22, 1915 that
he re-joined his Company in the field.
On April 3, 1916, Jakob Krems was
promoted to Unteroffizier.
On June 24, 1916, Krems was awarded the Saxon
Military St. Henry Medal in Silver for his actions on
June 15, 1916 while fighting in trench warfare at
30, 1916 however, he was back in the hospital for
treatment as a result of injuries received while
fighting on the Somme.
On December 12, 1916, he returned to his Company
in the field.
On December 28, 1916, he was
involved in the fighting at Toten Mann, and in early
1917, his unit was involved in the fighting at Verdun.
From January 25, 1917, until January 28, 1917, he
was involved in the extremely intense fighting at Höhe
March 17, 1917, until April 21, 1917, Krems was the
Weapons NCO of the 1st Machine Gun Company. On July
29, 1917, Krems was awarded the Saxon Silver Friedrich
August Medal. At
this time, he was involved in the trench warfare in the
the Eastern Front.
December 24, 1917, Jakob Krems was promoted to
Vizefeldwebel because of his previous actions before the
On January 9, 1918, Jakob Krems was awarded Saxon’s
highest honor for an enlisted soldier, the coveted Saxon
Military St. Henry Medal in Gold, for his actions on
December 26, 1917 while fighting in trench warfare in
February 1, 1918, until February 28, 1918, Krems
received further machine gun training. On
September 16, 1918, Krems was assigned to the 11th
Company of Infantry Regiment No. 106. He
then fought in the Battle at Cambrai-St. Quentin from
September 16, 1918, until October 8, 1918.
On February 20, 1920, Jakob Krems was discharged
at Leipzig. He
was now a brave and highly-decorated ex-soldier in need
1: Cover of the Militärpaß belonging to Jakob Krems.
2: First page of battle entries in the Krems
Militärpaß listing his award of the Iron Cross 2nd
Class on August 10, 1915.
3: Second page
of battle entries in the Krems Militärpaß showing his
hospitalization after being wounded.
4: Third page of battle entries in the Militärpaß
which also has entries for the other awards that Jakob
Figure 5: Fourth page of battle
entries in the Krems Militärpaß
After the First World War
At some point, Jakob Krems married
Anne Kehrig, and after the War, Anne gave birth to their
Jakob had worked as a stone-cutter, but the poor
economy at the time undoubtedly made things difficult
for the Krems family.
In 1927, the Krems family made the bold decision
to emigrate to the United States.
of Jakob Krems in uniform and his wife Anne Krems.
St. Patrick’s Day in 1927, the Krems family arrived in
Cambridge, New Jersey.
They then traveled to Cleveland, Ohio and joined
relatives who had emigrated before them.
Jakob found work as a butcher.
In the 1930’s with the NSDAP in power, Jakob
was viewed as a possible enemy of the United States, as
many German-Americans were.
Customers came to his shop and told him that they
had been questioned by the FBI regarding him.
Reportedly, in the 1930’s, Jakob was contacted
several times by German authorities and asked to return
to Germany to serve the new regime, but declined to do
1936 publication “Ehrenbuch der Inhaber der
Sächsischen Goldenen Militär-St. Heinrichs-Medaille”
lists Jakob Krems on page Nr. 178.
It shows a photograph of him in uniform (the same
photograph as shown in Figure 6).
Unfortunately, the description of the action for
which he was awarded the Gold St. Henry Medal is not
listed as it was not researched for the book: “Leider
war etwas Näheres über diesen tapferen Kameraden und
seine Kampfhandlung, die zur Verleihung führte, bis
jetzt nicht zu ermitteln”.
There is simply a quotation of Schiller from the Reiterlied
listed on the page (as shown below).
7: The “Ehrenbuch der Inhaber der Sächsischen
Goldenen Militär-St. Heinrichs-Medaille” entry for
Jakob Krems did to be
awarded the Gold Military St. Henry Medal, it was
undoubtedly of an extremely brave and extraordinary
only 150 total awards made during the World War, only 1
in 7,296 Saxon soldiers received this award.
It is interesting to note that the
citation for Jakob Krems was the only one excluded from
the book, as the citations for all of the other 149
recipients were included.
Perhaps Krems requested that the Reiterlied
be printed under his entry, and his request was granted.
Jakob Krems owned a copy of this book which is in
the possession of his family to this day.
It is interesting to note that there were two
other recipients of the Gold Military St. Henry Medal
listed who had emigrated to the United States.
Reportedly, Jakob and Anne used to
take their daughter Hildegard to the German Cultural
Gardens in Cleveland on Sundays to read the inscriptions
on the Goethe-Schiller statue to keep the German
language fresh in their minds.
Krems, the brave ex-soldier, passed-away in 1958 and is
buried in Cleveland, Ohio.
Gold Military St. Henry Medal awarded to Jakob Krems is
It was struck from bronze and gilded.
The die-maker’s initials “F.U.” (Karl
Christian Friedrich Ulbricht) are present at the neck of
the bust of Friedrich August.
There is a circular punch-mark on the rim of the
medal at approximately 3 o’ clock (see Figure 15).
This punch-mark denotes that this is an original
mint-struck and officially awarded bronze-gilt medal.
The slightly dark discoloration seen at the top
of the medal, where the suspension ring was soldered to
the top of the medal, was caused by oxidation of the
solder over time, which has shown through the gilding.
The medal weighs 18.1g without the ribbon.
This medal is housed in the red case in which it
was awarded. There
is gold blocking on the lid with crossed swords and the
inscription “St. Heinrichs=Med./in Gold”.
A piece of original ribbon for this medal was
found in the case.
In 1914, there were 110 medals
struck in gold by the Saxon Royal Mint.
In 1915, there 15 medals struck in gold.
In 1917, there were 50 medals struck in gilded
1918, there were 60 medals struck in gilded bronze.
Thus, during the World War, there were total of
125 medals struck in gold, and 110 struck in
Of the medals struck,
97 of the gold medals were awarded from 1914
until the end of 1917, and 53 of the gilded bronze medal
were awarded from the end of 1917 through 1918.
the gilded-bronze version of this medal, although not as
aesthetically pleasing, nor as intrinsically valuable as
the gold version of this medal, is a numismatic rarity.
8: The surviving awards of Jakob Krems.
9: The Iron Cross 2nd Class awarded to
10: Inscription on the lid of the case of the Gold
Military St. Henry Medal.
11: The Gold
Military St. Henry Medal in its case.
12: Obverse of the Gold Military St. Henry Medal awarded
to Jakob Krems.
Figure 13: Reverse of the Gold
Military St. Henry Medal awarded to Jakob Krems.
Circular punch-mark on the edge of the Gold Military St.
Henry Medal denoting that the medal was struck in bronze
and was gilded.
The Iron Cross 2nd Class
which was awarded to Jakob Krems has survived, along
with its original ribbon.
In addition, two pieces of ribbon (yellow
with two light-blue side stripes) for his Silver
Friedrich August Medal were also found in the Gold
Military St. Henry Medal case.
is no indication that Jakob Krems ever received a Wound
Badge, although it seems that he certainly would have
qualified for one.
The Militärpaß which belonged to Jakob Krems
has fortunately also survived as seen above.
Unfortunately though, it is not known what became
of his Silver Military St. Henry Medal, his Friedrich
August Medal in Silver, or his other documents regarding
his awards and military service.
wish to express my gratitude to
Mr. James Fasnacht of Cleveland, Ohio for his assistance
in the preparation of this article.
Andreas M. Schulze Ising V/2008
German Cultural Gardens. http://academic.csuohio.edu/clevelandhistory/culturalgardens/Gardens/Germany/GermanEssay1.htm
(14 July 2008).
Hessenthal, Waldemar Hesse Edlen Dr. und Schreiber,
tragbaren Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches.
Verlag Uniformen-Markt Otto Dietrich. Berlin, 1940.
Erhard. Die Verleihungen des königlich
sächsischen St. Heinrichs-Ordens und seiner Medaillen
im Ersten Weltkrieg 1914-1918. PHV Phaleristischer
Verlag Michael Autengruber. Offenbach, 1998.
Dieter, Arnold, Paul, und Keil, Peter. Die Orden des Königreiches Sachsen. Graf Klenau Verlags
GmbH. Offenbach, 1997.
der Inhaber der Sächsischen Goldenen
Herausgeber und Verleger: Die Kameradschaft “Inhaber
der Sächsischen Goldenen