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Biographical/Historical Information

The King Ludwig Cross was established on January 7, 1916 by King Ludwig III of Bavaria. It was awarded to individuals who demonstrated special merit for the welfare of the homeland. The medal was designed by Bernhard Bleeker and made by the Royal Bavarian Mint in Munich.

Josef Bernhard Maria Bleeker was a German sculptor, born in Münster in 1881. He was trained as a stonemason in Münster and Munich, working at various building sites before studying sculpture under Wilhelm von Rümann and Adolf von Hildebrand. In 1912, he co-founded the Neue Münchener Secession and began teaching sculpture at the Munich Academy in 1918. He remained a prominent artist during the Third Reich, but due to his connection to the Nazis (for commissioned works) lost his post as professor in 1945. However, his status was regained in 1951 and he became a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, as well as an honorary member of the Munich Academy. He died in Munich in 1968.

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Bleeker, Bernhard: [King Ludwig Cross], Leo Baeck Institute, 2009.037.