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From the time it was used as a sledgehammer to batter the German Wehrmacht's way through the Baltic countries to the very gates of Moscow, until its retreat all the way back to Berlin in 1945, this outfit was in the thick of the toughest battles in Russia. They lost countless men at Minsk, Charkow, Stalingrad, Welish, Shitomir, Wolchow, Dnjepr, Orel and on the Oder. Their courage was legendary and the price the Russians paid for taking them on was enormous.
Since this certificate was presented to Obergefreiter Walter Schleese on 2 December 1944 it must have been printed in the fall of 1944. The 4 x 5-½ inch front cover says Ausweis für Grabenkämpfer (Identity Document for Trench Fighters) above a Nazi Infantry Assault Badge. Inside the document provides a rare glimpse at the dark humor of members of the outfit that were still alive. A tongue-in-cheek list of preferential treatment for owners of this Grabenkämpfer ID in the Theater of Operations of the 4th Panzer Army includes quick delivery of cigarettes and drinks, theater and movie tickets, the best seats in theaters and cinemas and seats on public transportation.
Under the Battalion Commander's signature is the notation is that this document is to be carried as part of the Landser's Soldbuch.
Purchased from one of the oldest and most treasured collections in Germany. Condition exactly as shown.
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This is an absolutely authentic World War II German document of the rarest sort. Few humans that served in the 10th Panzer Grenadier Regiment 76 of the 20th Panzer Grenadier Division in Russia and in the retreat back to Berlin survived and even fewer of these Grabenkämpfer certificates survived.