German Red Cross


Figure 1.--Here we see a group of German children. The photograph is unfated, but was either taken during World War I or hust after it in the early-1920s. Note the Red Cross cases the choildren are carrying. We are guessing the children asre being trained in first aid. There seems to be a fire damage display involved. Noticer the cart in the back. It says 'Jugend-Wehr' meaning 'war youth'. Wehr is, however, usually translated as brigade for organization like this. A good example is Feuerwehr (Fire Brigade). A reader tells us that a better translation is thus 'youth brigade'. children, On the cart, below 'Jugend-Wehr' it says "Rochlitz A/?". I think that is the town. We are not sure just how the Red Cross was involved in youth groups. The uniforms suggest some kind of organization.

Germany organized its Red Cross Society (1864). The first head was Dr. Aaron Silverman of the Charité hospital of Berlin. It was a voluntary civil assistance organization. We do not know a great deal about the early German Red Cross. The organization at the time seemns narrowly focused on caring for soldiers in time of war. First Hatzfeldt headed the German Red Cross during World War I. The War imposed huge demands on what was still a relatively new organization. We have little information on the Society's operations. We do know that like other national Red Cross units, they were heavily involved with para-military medicine, caring for wounded soldiers, and prisoners of war (POWs). The Red Cross was the Royal Family's and the aristocrats' favorite charity. After the War during the Weimar period, the German Red Cross acquired a range of civilian responsibilities like disaster relief. The German Red Cross during World War II was a NAZI agenncy. They helped to mislead the International Committee through carefully managed tours. The visit to Terezinstadt was an example.

Red Cross Foundation

Henri Dunant, a Swiss businessman who became a social activist, witnessed the Battle of Solferino during the Franco-Austrian War (1859). He published a book Un Souvenir de Solferino addressing the need to protect the sick and wounded during combat. The impetus for what became the Internationa Red Cross came from Switzerland a few years after the Franco-Austrian War. A Swiss Army general, Switzerland did not participate in the Franco-Austrian War, but its German and French population was deeply disturbed by the carnage and loss of life. The Société genevoise d'utilité publique (Geneva Public Welfare Society) established a committee of five Swiss citizens to pursue the ideas in Durant's book (1863). The committe called for an international meeting. Sixteen nations attended the meeting and adopted a series od resolutions including the internatuinslly recognized Red Cross symbol--the reverse of the Swiss flag (1863). One resolution appealed to countries to organize voluntary national societies.

German Chapter (1864)

Germany organized its Red Cross Society (1864). The first head was Dr. Aaron Silverman of the Charité hospital of Berlin. It was a voluntary civil assistance organization. At the time Germany was sill divided into several different states, but Prussia had become the dominant German state. The first head was Dr. Aaron Silverman of the Charité hospital of Berlin. It was a voluntary civil assistance organization. We do not know a great deal about the early German Red Cross. The organization at the time seemns narrowly focused on caring for soldiers in ime of war.

German Empire (1871-1918)

We do not know a great deal about the early German Red Cross. The German Empire was formed in the adtermath of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). The organization at the time seems narrowly focused on caring for soldiers in time of war. The Red Cross was the Royal Family's and the aristocrats' favorite charity. Presumably tis was bdecause of the association with the military.

World War I (1914-18)

Henri Dunant, a Swiss businessman who became a social activist, witnessed the Battle of Solferino during the Franco-Austrian War (1859). He published a book Un Souvenir de Solferino addressing the need to protect the sick and wounded during combat. The impetus for what became the Internationa Red Cross came from Switzerland a few years after the Franco-Austrian War. A Swiss Army general, Switzerland did not participate in the Franco-Austrian War, but its German and French population was deeply disturbed by the carnage and loss of life. The Société genevoise d'utilité publique (Geneva Public Welfare Society) established a committee of five Swiss citizens to pursue the ideas in Durant's book (1863). The committe called for an international meeting. Sixteen nations attended the meeting and adopted a series od resolutions including the internatuinslly recognized Red Cross symbol--the reverse of the Swiss flag (1863). One resolution appealed to countries to organize voluntary national societies. Germany organized its Red Cross Society (1864). Fürst Hatzfeldt headed the German Red Cross during World War I. The War imposed huge demands on what was still a relatively new orhanization. We have little information on the Society's operations. We do know that like other national Red Cross units, they were heavily involved with caring for wounded soldiers and prisoners of war (POWs).

Weimar Era (1918-33)

After the War during the Weimar period, Germany no longer had a sizeable army and another great war seemed unlilely. Thus the Red Cross took on a range of civililan welfare functions. [Burleigh, p. 220.] The German Red Cross acquired a range of civilian responsibilities like disaster relief.

World War II

The NAZIs moved to control Germany's substantial private charity system under the Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt/People's Welfare Organization . The process of seizing control of the German Red Cross began by making sure that NAZIs were appointed to important positions in the orgasnization. Most prominantely this began with the appointment of HRH Duke Charles Edward of Saxe-Coburg as president. The Duke was a NAZI Party menber and SA officer. The German Red Cross during World War II was thus a NAZI agenncy. They helped to mislead the International Committee through carefully managed tours. The visit to Terezinstadt was an example.

Sources

Burleigh, Michael. The Third Reih: A New History (New York: Hill and Waang, 2000). 965p.





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Created: 5:55 AM 4/3/2010
Last updated: 5:55 AM 4/3/2010