Iron Cross, First Class : Leutnant K P R Ehrenberg, German Army

Accession Number REL34667.003
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Iron, Silver
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made c 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Mounted as part of a war-time trio, which gives precedence to the Brunswick Cross for Military Merit rather than to this award. Mounted in the Prussian Parade mount style.

History / Summary

Medal associated with the service of Leutnant Doktor Kurt Phillip Rudolf Ehrenberg, born 31 January 1893, who served with the German Army in France in the First World War, commanding an artillery sound ranging company, or Schallmesstrupp.

A member of an academic family whose ancestors include Martin Luther, Ehrenberg was an architect based in Berlin who wrote an architectural history of the city of Karlsruhe (where the family moved in 1931) and designed two kilometres worth of wine cellars for one of the Czarist princes in the Crimea.

Ehrenberg married a Jewish woman after the war and had a daughter and a son, Rudolf, who was born on 14 August 1921. Rudolf attended the Bismark Gymnasium in Karlsruhe from 1931 until 1936, but soon after the family moved there, they began to feel the growing effects of anti-Semitism. One day Rudolf's German language teacher arrived for lessons clad in full SS uniform; his father's car was requisitioned by the SA and his uncle (also named Rudolf), Professor of Biology at the University of Gottingen, was stripped of his post and sent to serve with the Labour Corps.

As a result Kurt Ehrenberg decided to get his family out of Germany. His daughter married and emigrated to the United States and his son Rudolf was sent to stay with another uncle, Max, in Edinburgh, Scotland, who later won the 1954 Noble Prize in Physics and had devoted much time in 1915 and 1916 as a member of the German Army developing the theory of sound ranging. Ehrenberg and his wife only managed to escape two weeks before war was declared in 1939. They eventually emigrated to Australia with their son and his family.