Original WWII German War Service Cross With Swords 1st Class Brought Home By A U.S. Veteran. The War Merit Cross was instituted on October 18TH 1939, in two classes with both classes issued, with and without swords, for award to military personnel and civilians, including females and foreigners, for exemplary service and/or bravery in Germany’s war effort, in a non-combatant role. The addition of swords to the award signified bravery while awards without swords were bestowed for service. Die struck zinc award with a silver wash is in the form of a Maltese style cross with a circular centerpiece with an embossed, canted, swastika encircled by an oak-leaf wreath to the obverse. The swords, indicating bravery, emanated upwards between the arms of the cross. The background field of the obverse centerpiece is smooth while the arms of the cross have a pebbled background field with raised, smooth, outer edges. The plain, reverse has an integral molded hinge, a broad, tapered vertical pin and an integral molded catch all intact. In good condition, 100% guaranteed to be authentic and certified by The Gettysburg Museum of History. Museum COA (certificate of authenticity) included.