A group of 7 badges and insignia of the New York "Deutsch Israel Landwehr Verein", or the "German Jewish Reservists' Association".
In Imperial Germany, a solider who was discharged from his military service was, technically, a military reservist for a period of years thereafter. Following World War I a German diplomat jokingly told an American diplomat that, during the war, Germany technically had five thousand military reservists within the United States. The American diplomat, without a smile, replied "And we had five thousand lampposts".
This group is comprised of the badges and insignia of an association in New York of German Jewish reservists. The pieces date from just before and during the outbreak of World War I in 1914. The group consists of the following pieces:
- A large, ornate ribbon, dated 1913, for the Ex-President of the organization.
- A large, brass and enamel, cap badge for the organization, with a white enamel Iron Cross within a wreath.
- A 1914 ribbon and celluloid button badge, the button bearing the Iron Cross design and the initials of the organization, and the ribbon bearing the declaration "Lieb Vaterland Magst Ruhig Sein", which probably best translates as "Dear Fatherland Be Confident". The language is from a line in a very famous German political and patriotic song of the late 19th century, "Die Wacht am Rhein" (If you've ever seen the film "Casablanca", that is the song which Major Strasser and other German officers try to sing in Rick's cafe, until the entire crowd drowns them out by singing the French national anthem "La Marseillaise"). The back of the celluloid button has a paper manufacturer tag for "Goldsmith's Badges & Rosettes" in Harlem.
- A ribbon for "German Day" ("Deutscher Tag")in 1915. The top suspension bar bears the designation "Fest Ansschuss", or "Standing Committee".
- A small metal and enamel pendant, with both a suspension loop and a pin back, which bears a 1914 Iron Cross, the designation of "5 Stift Fest" and the dates of 1911-1916, presumably a badge commemorating the 5th anniversary of the organization.
A group of badges and insignia such as this would undoubtedly have disappeared into a drawer...or the trash bin...after America entered the war against Germany in 1917. The ribbons do show some wear, and one or two have some minor separations, but overall the insignia group is a very impressive set of early 20th century and First World War Americana.