A Photograph of Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order Recipients

This photograph was presented in Orden und Ehrenzeichen 16. Jahrgang., Nr. 94 (Dezember 2014) on page 349.  At the time of publication, readers were asked to identify any of the individuals shown in the photograph.  Readers were also asked to identify a possible the reason for the meeting.  As can be seen, there are Bavarian veterans, Wehrmacht Officers, and civilians present.

 

 

 

Figure 1: Undated photograph of a gathering of Bavarian Officers and others.  Image from the author’s archive.

 

 

In Orden und Ehrenzeichen 17. Jahrgang., Nr. 96 (April 2015) on page 111, the Generalmajor third from the right in the first row was identified as S.K.H. Franz Prinz von Bayern (* 10. 10. 1875, † 1. 25. 1957).  Franz von Bayern was awarded the Military Max Joseph Order Knight’s Cross on August 14, 1916 with the award retroactive to May 25, 1916.  He also was awarded the Prussian Pour le Merite on May 25, 1918.  The award that he is wearing at the neck in this photo however appears to probably be his Military Max Joseph Order Commander’s Cross which he was awarded on May 14, 1918 with the award retroactive to April 26, 1918.  The Generalmajor second from the right in the first row was identified as Alfons Ritter von Bram (* 7. 21. 1865, † 1. 28. 1951).  Ritter von Bram was awarded the Military Max Joseph Order Knight’s Cross on September 25, 1917 with the award retroactive to July 1, 1916.  On November 27, 1917 his name was entered in the Nobility Registry (Adelsmatrikel) and he became Alfons “Ritter von” Bram.  At his neck, Ritter von Bram is wearing a Württemberg Friedrich Order Commander’ Cross with Swords.

 

 

 

Figure 2:  Detail of the three (3) Officers wearing Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order awards.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

The Officer at the right in the first row was not identified previously, but is believed to be Daniel Ritter von Pitrof (* 2. 14. 1873, † 10. 27. 1960).  Ritter von Pitrof was involved in the China Campaign, Expedition Waldersee (1900/1901) and fought in the skirmishes at Nan-Shou-Ho and at Bai-She-Shan.  He also fought at the battle of Kuangschan.  During the China Campaign he was awarded the Prussian Crown Order 4th Class with Swords and the Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class with Swords.  These awards and a China Campaign Medal with a battle bar can be seen on his large medal bar in the photo.  Ritter von Pitrof was awarded the Military Max Joseph Order Knight’s Cross after 1921 with his award retroactive to August 21, 1918.  After 1921 he was entered in the Nobility Registry (Adelsmatrikel) and became Daniel “Ritter von” Pitrof (although the title was technically a mere formality due to the dissolution of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1918).  Ritter von Pitrof was awarded the Bavarian Military Merit Order 3rd Class with Swords on December 20, 1918 as a Major and Company Commander of the 20th Bavarian Infantry Regiment.  Ritter von Pitrof was the leader of the Freikorps Schwaben from April 30, to May 14, 1919.  His unit fought during the Spartacist Uprising (Spartakusaufstand).  In the 1920’s Ritter von Pitrof was a Colonel (Oberst) in the Bavarian State Police (Landespolizei).  He was also involved with the Frontsoldatenbund “Stahlhelm” in the 1930’s.  In 1930 Ritter von Pitrof was appointed Archivist of the Military Max Joseph Order and he held this post until 1951. Ritter von Pitrof also transacted the business of the Military Max Joseph Order Grand Chancellor from 1944 until 1951, as a replacement was not found during this period.

The Officer at the left in the first row was not identified previously, but is believed to be Erich Hoffmann, Major a. D. (retired Major).  Major a. D. Erich Hoffmann was the author of a history of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Bavarian 20th Infantry Regiment entitled:  Das Kemptener Bataillon des Königlich Bayerischen 20. Infanterie-Regiments Prinz Franz im Frieden und im Krieg (see Literature listing below).

 

 

 

Figure 3: Reverse of photograph showing the photographer’s information.  Image from author’s archive.

 

 

The reverse of this photograph is stamped ” Photo-Hauck Kempten (Allgäu)/Klosersteig 22 – Telefon 311″.  The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Bavarian 20th Infantry Regiment Prinz Franz (Königlich Bayerischen 20. Infanterie-Regiments Prinz Franz) was garrisoned in Kempten.  In 1914 Prinz Franz was named the honorary commander (Regimentsinhaber) of the Royal Bavarian 20th Infantry Regiment.  Ritter von Bram, Ritter von Pitrof, and Major a. D. Erich Hoffmann served in this regiment.  It would therefore seem that this photograph was taken during a reunion of the Royal Bavarian 20th Infantry Regiment sometime in the 1930’s.

Can any of you identify some of the other Officers, former Officers, or civilians shown in this photo?

Thank you for your interest regarding this article.  Comments are welcome.

– Lorin

 

Literature:

Hoffmann, Major a. D (Erich).  Das Kemptener Bataillon des Königlich Bayerischen 20. Infanterie-Regiments Prinz Franz im Frieden und im Krieg.  Verlag der Josef Kösel’schen Buchhandlung, Kempten, 1928.

Kramer, Rudolf von, Waldenfels, Otto von, and Pechmann, Dr. Günther Freiherr von.  Virtuti Pro Patria, Der königlich bayerische Militär-Max-Joseph-Orden, Kriegstaten und Ehrenbuch 1914-1918.  Selbstverlag des königlich bayerischen Militär-Max-Joseph-Ordens, München, 1966.

Militär-Handbuch des Königreichs Bayern -1907 – nach dem Stande vom 10. April 1907.  Königlich Bayerischen Kriegs-Ministerium. München, 1907.

Orden und Ehrenzeichen, Heft 94/ 16. Jahrgang. Das Magazin für Freunde der Phaleristik.  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ordenskunde e. V., Dezember, 2014.

Orden und Ehrenzeichen, Heft 96/ 17. Jahrgang. Das Magazin für Freunde der Phaleristik.  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ordenskunde e. V., April, 2015.

Roth, Erhard. Statistische Ausarbeitungen zur Phaleristik Deutschlands Band VI, Verleihungen von militärischen Orden und Ehrenzeichen des Königreichs Bayern im Ersten Weltkrieg 1914-1918.  PHV Phaleristischer Verlag Michael Autengruber, Offenbach am Main, 1997.

 

For more information regarding the Königlich Bayerischen 20. Infanterie-Regiment „Prinz Franz“:

  1. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B6niglich_Bayerisches_20._Infanterie-Regiment_%E2%80%9EPrinz_Franz%E2%80%9C

 

 

 

12 Comments
  1. Servus Lorin,

    what interests me are the two orders in the picture. If this is MMJO, then it can not be Hoffmann, because he was not a commander of the MMJO. Normally, the RK was to be returned at the presentation of the KK. However, the RK could be a second piece.

    Walter

    • The middle officer could be Ritter of Danner

      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakob_von_Danner

      Regards Walter

    • Servus Walter,

      Thank you for your message. The Generalmajor third from the right in the first row is S.K.H. Franz Prinz von Bayern (* 10. 10. 1875, † 1. 25. 1957). Erich Hoffmann, Major a. D. (retired Major) is on the left of the large photo (not the close-up detail of the photo). I hope that this clarifies my somewhat confusing description a bit.

      Best regards,

      Lorin

    • Servus Walter,

      This Officer is Erich Hoffmann, Major a. D. (retired Major).

      Best regards,

      Lorin

    • Servus Walter,

      Your comment regarding the return of the RK upon award of the KK is interesting. This was of course according to statute. This explains why S.K.H. Kronprinz Rupprecht wore an unusual RK on his large medal bar. That piece appears to have a solid (un-pierced) crown. It always caught my attention as being strange. It was most likely a privately-made piece as he probably returned his originally-award piece according to statute.

      Best regards,

      Lorin

  2. The middle officer could be Ritter of Danner

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakob_von_Danner

    Regards Walter

    • Servus Walter,

      Thank you for your message. Ritter von Danner is an interesting possibility, but Alfons Ritter von Bram (* 7. 21. 1865, † 1. 28. 1951) is a perfect match due to the awards that this officer is wearing. In addition to the Württemberg Friedrich Order Commander’s Cross with Swords, he is also wearing a Mecklenburg-Schwerin Greifen Orden Ehrenkreuz (Offizier-Steckkreuz).

      Best regards,

      Lorin

    • Servus Walter,

      Here is a another photo (Image from author’s archive) of Alfons Ritter von Bram for comparison.

      Best regards,

      Lorin

  3. Servus Lorin,

    You’re right, that’s it. I looked again because of the 2 MMJO and found the corresponding amendment of the statutes.
    Can you read as far as written in German?
    Here again with google translated:

    His Majesty the King, with the Supreme Resolution of the Seventh of the month following, has graciously consented to approve Article 6 of the Statutes of the Military Max Joseph Order:

    Bavarian officers are permitted to wear a formerly awarded Knight’s Cross at the awarding of the Grand Cross or Commander’s Cross. The Commander’s Cross is to be returned to the Order Archive upon award of the Grand Cross. Non-Bavarian officers generally return the lower one when they award a higher class. This is hereby announced.

    The reason for this is likely to be that if the officer does not put on the neck, he will wear at least one RK on the large medal bar, where he can be recognized as a bearer of the MMJO.

    Best regards
    Walter

    • Servus Walter,

      Thank you for researching this information. This explains the situation perfectly.

      Best regards,

      Lorin

  4. Servus Lorin,

    If you do not have the “Schrettinger”, then you can download it there.

    http://www.nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bvb:355-ubr14543-2

    Best regards
    Walter

    • Servus Walter,

      Thank you for this link to the Schrettinger MMJO publication. This is a very useful resource.

      Best regards,

      Lorin

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