|The Return of Memel Commemorative Medal
Die Medaille zur Erinnerung an die Heimkehr des Memellandes 22. März 1939
The medal's obverse (left) and reverse (right).
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Eligibility||Military personnel, others|
|Awarded for||Awarded to all German military personnel and other officials who participated and contributed to the annexation of the Klaipėda Region (Memel Territory)|
|Campaign||1939 German ultimatum to Lithuania|
|Established||1 May 1939|
|First awarded||1 May 1939|
|Last awarded||December 1940|
Ribbon bar of the medal
The Return of Memel Commemorative Medal (Die Medaille zur Erinnerung an die Heimkerhr des Memellandes 22. März 1939) was a decoration of Nazi Germany awarded in the interwar period, and the last of the series of Occupation Medals.
In the last bloodless action, Germany annexed the Klaipėda Region (Memel Territory) from Lithuania on 22 March 1939 after an oral ultimatum. On 23 March a peaceful occupation of the city and district was carried out by German troops who debarked by ship. This area of East Prussia, with 160,000 inhabitants, had been turned over to Lithuania in the aftermath of World War I following the Klaipėda Revolt and Klaipėda Convention of 1924. To commemorate the occupation the "Memel Medal" was authorized on 1 May 1939. It was awarded until 1 December 1940. In all 31,322 medals were awarded.
The medal was designed by Professor Richard Klein. While the obverse was the exactly the same as the previous two medals, the reverse read "Zur Erinnerung an die Heimkerhr des Memellandes 22. März 1939" (to commemorate the return of the Memelland on 22 March 1939), surrounded by an oak leave wreath instead of the Nazi Party slogan. The award was presented to all military, political and civil personnel who had distinguished themselves in actions related to the annexation of the district to Germany.
The medal was die struck with a bronzed finish and worn on the left tunic pocket suspended from a white ribbon with a green strip in the middle and two red strips on each side, the historic colors of Lithuania Minor.
- Antonio Scapini, La Medaglia di Memel, Marvia Edizioni, 2012, ISBN 9-788889-089460