Germany – Third Reich: A Very Rare Regimental Commemorative Certificate as awarded to Hauptmann Friedrich Ristow, 374th (Pommerian) Infantry Regiment, 207th Infantry Division as issued on the occasion of the surrender of the Netherlands on 15th May 1940 to troops who had taken part in the campaign.
This is a unique and very rare regimental commemorative certificate which was awarded to members of the 374th in commemoration of the victorious 1940 Campaign in Holland. The text is taken from a communique issued on 15th May 1940 by the Fuhrer and Commander-in-Chief and directed to all soldiers of the Dutch Theatre of War. The certificate has the facsimile signature of the Commanding Officer of the 374th. The name of the individual, Hauptmann Friedrich Ristow, is written in blue ink. A translation of the text is as follows:
Soldiers of the Dutch Theatre of War
In five days you have attacked a strong, well-prepared Army which defended itself behind almost apparently impregnable obstacles and military fortifications, eliminated its Air Force and forced them finally to surrender. With this you have accomplished an achievement which is unique. Its military importance will establish the future. Only through your exemplary co-operation, through the just as determined leadership like the bravery of the soldiers, particularly the heroic action of the fearless Paratroops and Air Landing troops has this success become possible. I express to you thanks and my admiration in the name of the Nation.
The 374th saw action in Poland in the most northern part of the front. It then took part in the advance into Holland 1940 - the route was from Elten (near Emmerich) over the border via Arnhem, Ede, Rhenen, Doorn, Utrecht to Amsterdam. After the conclusion of this phase of campaign in the West, it was transferred with its Division to follow up the attacking troops on Paris.
According to the Rangliste 1939 (as at 1st January), Hauptmann Ristow was on the strength of 5th Company, II Battalion, 94th Infantry Regiment (32nd Infantry Division) and was detached to the Divisional HQ at the time. He had been promoted to the rank of Hauptmann on 1.4.1934 and was promoted to Oberstleutnant on 1.4.1942 in the special employment list.