Property of an Oberarzt

Lost Skeleton

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Unlike British medals, which are named to their recipient, German orders and decorations are impossible to trace unless they survive with either the Urkunde (award document), or belong to a larger parade mounted group that can be researched--provided the combination of awards is unique. Identifying the recipient of a single award, like an Iron Cross 2nd Class, is a hopeless endeavor without a name, or some clue to go by.

Years ago, I acquired a Bavarian Militär-Verdienst-Ordern 4. Klaße mit Schwertern along with some photos and the privately published "memoir" of Fred M. Gruen. Mr. Gruen was allegedly the son of the M.V.O. recipient. The memoir, titled From Nuernberg to Olivet: The Story of my Life, is little more than a collection of correspondence with someone called "Mike." In discussing his father, Gruen was decidedly reticent, stating simply "… my father was in the war, a captain in the medical corps of the German army," and, "I disliked my father, and we had some real struggles in later life. I should say, however, that he was a very nice person, though somewhat stubborn, and also an excellent physician, first a pediatrician, and then later, after his coming to the United States, a general practitioner."

So much for filial piety.


I had to dig deep to discover that Fred Gruen was born Manfred Grünspecht (literally, green woodpecker). Being Jewish, the family emigrated to the U.S. in 1938. Once I had the proper surname, I consulted the Militär-Handbuch des Königreich Bayern and soon found Grünspecht, Adolf, Oberarzt:


This is the good Doctor (the M.V.O. ribbon is visible):


More photos:


Grünspecht (mounted at left)


Grünspecht in shelter


Grünspecht (far right) with fellow medical officers


Interesting assortment of mugs. Evidently, Grünspecht was also awarded the E.K.2.

As for Grünspecht's M.V.O.




.950 silver (suspension ring .900 silver) "JL" (Jacob Leser)

Out of the woodwork and straight from the woodpecker's beak, so to speak…


Very nice,

Oberarzt der Reserve Dr. Adolf Grünspecht of Landwehrbezirk Nürnberg born 27 December 1881 served initially with III./Infanterie-Regiment 14. He was awarded the Prussian EK2 on 5 October 1914. He was transfered to the Ersatz-Eskadron of 1. Chevauleger-Regiment on 21 February 1915. Promoted to Stabsarzt der Landwehr I on 28.4.17. Released from service on 31 March 1919. He was in civil practice in Nürnberg in 1914.