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The ICRC and the detainees in Nazi concentration camps (1942–1945)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 December 2013


A sharp debate has emerged about the importance of humanitarian organisations speaking out against misdeeds and, more generally, on the ethical and moral aspects of doing humanitarian work in the face of mass violence. That debate has pushed out of the spotlight a number of essential questions regarding the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during the Second World War. The aim of this text is to scrutinize the ICRC's humanitarian operations for detainees of Nazi concentration camps during the final phase of the war in Europe. We look beyond the risks faced by ICRC delegates working in Germany to show how difficult the organisation found it to carry out a humanitarian operation for concentration-camp detainees in the very particular circumstances that prevailed in Europe at that time. The ICRC was an organisation designed to collect information on and to protect and assist prisoners of war, and its hastily mounted response is indicative of the strenuous task it faced in re-inventing itself during the final stages of the war and the minor role it was assigned in the occupation programmes imposed by the Allied forces.

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Copyright © International Committee of the Red Cross 2013 

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1 On the decision not to make an appeal, see Cardia, Isabelle Vonèche, Neutralité et engagement. Les relations entre le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge et le gouvernement suisse (1938–1945), SHSR, Lausanne, 2012Google Scholar; and Favez, Jean-Claude, ‘1942 : le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, les déportations et les camps’, in Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire, Vol. 21, No. 21, 1989, pp. 4556Google Scholar.

2 Sébastien Farré and Yan Schubert, ‘L'illusion de l'objectif. Le délégué du CICR Maurice Rossel et les photographies de Theresienstadt’, in Le Mouvement social, April–June 2009, pp. 65–83. This visit has become one of the events best representing the ICRC's failure in the face of Nazi genocide policy, in particular after Claude Lanzmann's 1979 interview with Rossel for his film Shoah (1985). Although the interview was ultimately not included in the film, it was used several years later in an unreleased production, Un vivant qui passe. Auschwitz 1943 [sic] – Theresienstadt 1944, La Sept vidéo/Les Films Aleph, Paris, 1997.

3 Bettati, Mario, Le droit d'ingérence: mutation de l'ordre international, O. Jacob, Paris, 1996, pp. 54Google Scholar ff.

4 ICRC translation. Original French text : ‘Nous ignorions la réalité des camps de concentration, donc nous n'avons rien fait. La Croix-Rouge internationale, qui connaissait l'existence et l'usage des camps nazis, a choisi de se taire. Les justifications de cette dissimulation portent la honte à un niveau inégalé. Ceux qui partageaient ce très lourd secret ne tentèrent pas d'intervenir’, Kouchner, Bernard, Le malheur des autres, Odile Jacob, Paris, p. 283Google Scholar.

5 Annette Wierviorka, L’ère du témoin, Plon, Paris, 1998.

6 Cahen, Fabrice, ‘Le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (CICR) et les visites des camps. Étude d'une controverse. De la mémoire à l'Histoire’, in Revue d'histoire de la Shoah, Le monde juif, Vol. 172, May–August 2001, pp. 751Google Scholar.

7 This is explained in theoretical terms by the philosopher Philippe Mesnard, whose book La victime écran paints an extremely stark picture of ICRC policy during the Second World War: ‘The ICRC was a symbol of Switzerland's neutrality policy. The organisations found itself helping to legitimize Nazism … . The credibility of its humanitarian discourse was based on this neutrality and thus in fact totally undermined by it’; Mesnard, Philippe, La victime écran. La représentation humanitaire en question, Textuel, Paris, 2002, p. 18Google Scholar [ICRC translation].

8 Ryfman, Philippe, Une histoire de l'humanitaire, La Découverte, Paris, 2008, p. 45Google Scholar.

9 Mario Bettati and Bernard Kouchner, Le devoir d'ingérence: peut-on les laisser mourir? First International Conference on Humanitarian Law and Morals, held in Paris on 26 to 28 January 1987, Denoël, Paris, 1987.

10 Brauman, Rony, Penser dans l'urgence : parcours critique d'un humanitaire. Entretiens avec Catherine Portevin, Ed. du Seuil, Paris, 2006Google Scholar.

11 In 1995, on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ICRC termed the episode ‘the greatest failure’ in its history, see: (last visited 11 August 2012).

12 Favez, Jean-Claude, Une mission impossible ? Le CICR, les déportés et les camps de concentration nazis, Payot, Paris, 1988, p. 374Google Scholar. In English, Favez, Jean-Claude, The Red Cross and the Holocaust, transl. by John and Beryl Fletcher, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999, p. 282Google Scholar. Annette Becker repeats some of Favez's conclusions in her book Les oubliés de la grande guerre. Humanitaire et culture de guerre. Populations occupées, déportés civils, prisonniers de guerre, Noêsis, Paris, 1998, p. 386.

13 See in particular two recent doctoral dissertations on the ICRC's activities during the Second World War: I. Vonèche Cardia, above note 1, and Delphine Debons, L'assistance spirituelle aux prisonniers de guerre : un aspect de l'action humanitaire durant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale (19391948), Ed. du Cerf, Paris, 2012. And Vourkoutiotis, Vasilis, ‘What the Angels Saw: Red Cross and Protecting Power Visits to Anglo-American POWs, 1939–1945’, in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 40, 2005, pp. 689706CrossRefGoogle Scholar.


14 Given the extent of the confusion caused by the use of these terms, it is useful to remember that the word Schutzhäftlinge referred to persons arrested on political, racial or other grounds and considered by the German authorities to pose a threat to State security. Civilian internees, on the other hand, had a status similar to that of prisoners of war, which Germany and the Western Allies had recognized at the start of the war. Civilian internees were only those, however, who found themselves on the territory of a belligerent when the hostilities broke out and were interned because of their enemy nationality.

15 I. Vonèche Cardia, above note 1; J.-C. Favez, above note 12.


16 Rapport du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge sur son activité pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale (1er septembre 193930 juin 1947), Annexes, CICR, Genève, juin 1948, p. 58. For the English version see Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its activities during the Second World War (hereafter Report), Vol. 1, ICRC, Geneva, 1948, p. 63.

17 Huber, Max, Le Bon Samaritain. Considérations sur l'Evangile et le travail de Croix-Rouge, La Baconnière, Neuchâtel, 1943Google Scholar. In English, Huber, Max, The Good Samaritan. Reflections on the Gospel and Work in the Red Cross, Victor Gollancz, London, 1945Google Scholar.

18 Korson, George, At His Side: The Story of the American Red Cross Overseas in World War II, Coward-McCann Inc., New York, 1945Google Scholar; Red Cross Service Record, Accomplishments of Seven Years, July 1, 1939 – June 30, 1946, Office of the Program Research – The American National Red Cross, Washington, 1946.

19 Djurović, Gradimir, L'Agence centrale de recherches du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, Institut Henry Dunant, Genève, 1981Google Scholar. For the English version see Djurović, Gradimir, The Central Tracing Agency of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant Institute, Geneva, 1986Google Scholar.

20 The American Red Cross, with the help of the Canadian Red Cross, financed a fleet of 10 ships, four of which were chartered by the British government, the rest by the ICRC (G. Korson, above note 18). During the war there were 127 trans-Atlantic voyages to Genoa and later Lisbon. See Dulles, Foster Rhea, The American Red Cross. A History, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1950Google Scholar; Report of the ‘Foundation for the Organisation of Red Cross Transports’ on its operations since inception in April 1942 up to 31st December 1946, ICRC, Geneva, 1947.


21 Article 5 of the ICRC's Statutes stated that ‘it may also on its own initiative take any humanitarian inititative which is in accordance with its traditional role’, Manuel de la Croix-Rouge internationale, Huitième édition, Genève, 1942 [ICRC translation].

22 Rapport de la Commission mixte de Secours de la Croix-Rouge internationale, 19411946, CICR, Genève, 1948. For the English version see Report of the Joint Relief Commission of the International Red Cross, 19411946, ICRC/League of Red Cross Societies, Geneva, 1948.

23 ICRC translation. Original French text: ‘C'est d'ailleurs dans cette absence de droits reconnus que réside peut-être la force de l'institution. La Croix-Rouge voit son devoir essentiel partout où le malheur l'appelle, partout où elle peut combattre ou l'atténuer. Et son Comité n'est lié par aucun mandat établi d'avance. Si le Comité peut se réclamer de principes énoncés par le droit des gens et de traités existant entre belligérants, cela ne peut qu’être utile à son action. Mais là non plus il ne s'appuie pas seulement sur le droit positif ; il s'efforce, selon l'idée qui inspira la Croix-Rouge à sa naissance, d'accomplir, en faveur des victimes de la guerre, des actions sans cesse meilleures’. ‘La Croix-Rouge comme réalité nationale et internationale, 1940’, address to the German Press representatives on the occasion of their visit to Geneva, in Huber, Max, Croix-Rouge : quelques idées, quelques problèmes, Payot, Lausanne, 1941, p. 162Google Scholar.

24 The ICRC, it should be noted, had previously conducted several visits to Nazi concentration camps. Following the 1934 visit by Louis Ferrière to National Socialist sympathizers held in Austria, after the failed July putsch, at Vienna police prison and Wöllersdorf camp, Burckhardt visited the concentration camps of Lichtenburg, Esterwegen and Dachau. During the summer of 1938, another ICRC representative, Guillaume Favre, paid another visit to Dachau. After the start of the war, in August 1940, two ICRC delegates, Pierre Descoeudres and Roland Marti, were authorized to visit Buchenwald, which had a section for a group of Dutch civilians from the Dutch East Indies. See J.-C. Favez, above note 12.


25 Note for Marti by Gallopin, 24 September 1942, ICRC Archives (hereafter ACICR) DAS ZA 12; J.-C. Favez, above note 12, pp. 60–67.


26 Note from the Amt Auslandsdienst to the ICRC, 14 January 1943, ACICR DAS ZA 73; see also note from Roland Marti (head of delegation in Germany), 17 February 1943, ACICR G 3/26.

27 J.-C. Favez, above note 12, p. 69. Raul Hilberg also notes that German deportees were allowed to receive food parcels, in The Destruction of the European Jews, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2003 (1961), p. 1689.


28 Hurwitz, Ariel, ‘The struggle over the creation of the War Refugee Board (WRB)’, in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1991, pp. 1731Google Scholar; Peck, Sarah E., ‘The Campaign for an American Response to the Nazi Holocaust, 1943–1945’, in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1980, pp. 367400Google Scholar; Wyman, David, L'abandon des Juifs, les Américains et la solution finale, Flammarion, Paris, 1987Google Scholar.

29 Confidential letter from Burckhardt to the American legation in Bern, 28 February 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 69 and ZA 20.

30 Daniel J. Reagan, commercial attaché at the US Legation in Berne, 18 March 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 20. The scheme obtained final approval from Saly Meyer, the Joint Distribution Committee's representative in Switzerland, in March.

31 Memorandum from Jean-Etienne Schwarzenberg (ICRC official in charge of relief activities in the concentration camps), original given to Livingston (British consul), 7 July 1944, ACICR SG 4; Livingston to Howard Elting (American consul in Geneva), 9 August 1944, ACICR G59/40 335; Zweig, Ronald W., ‘Feeding the Camps: Allied Blockade Policy and the Relief of Concentration Camps in Germany, 1944–1945’, in The Historical Journal, Vol. 41, No. 3, 1998, pp. 825851CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32 S. Farré and Y. Schubert, above note 2.


33 Albert Lombard to the delegation in London, 30 June 1944, ACICR ZA 28; note from the delegation in Washington to the Special Division for Assistance (Division d'assistance spéciale –DAS), 7 July 1944, ACICR G 59/7; confidential memorandum, 7 July 1944, ACICR SG 4; American representative to Huber, 2 May 1944, ACICR G 59 334.

34 See the Marti report, 8 August 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 84; see also DAS ZA 85.

35 Schwarzenberg to Roswell McClelland (War Refugee Board representative in Geneva), 21 August 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 19, and note for Rudolph Wasmer (director of the ICRC Relief Division), 18 August 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 72. ‘Rapport sur la distribution des marchandises du vapeur Cristina (août-septembre 1944)’, Documents sur l'activité du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge en faveur des civils détenus dans les camps de concentration en Allemagne (1939–1945), CICR, Genève, 1946, p. 71–72. For the English version see ‘Report by the Service CCC on the distribution of cargo from the SS “Cristina” (August and September 1944)’, in Documents Relating to the Work of the International Committee of the Red Cross for the Benefit of Civilian Detainees in German Concentration Camps Between 1939 and 1945 (hereafter Documents), ICRC, Geneva, 1975, pp. 61–62. See also correspondence from Schwarzenberg to McClelland, 1 November 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 69.

36 See inter alia the record of the meeting held on 18 September at the Métropole Hotel with representatives of the French Red Cross, 19 September 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 72; and J.-C. Favez, above note 12, p. 251.


37 Documents, above note 35, pp. 59–60.


38 Note from Schwarzenberg for Chenevière, 14 September 1944, ACICR G 44/00.

39 Note from Schwarzenberg to Lombard, 25 September 1944, ACICR G 44/Sec 215.

40 ‘Procès-verbal’ No. 4, 21 September 1944, ACICR DAS ZA 1.

41 ACICR DAS 179, DAS ZA 111.

42 The representatives were elected by the prisoners and were in charge, among other things, of distributing ‘collective shipments’ within the camps.

43 Note from the Service for Parcels to Concentration Camps (CCC Service) for Gallopin, 1 November 1944, ACICR G 44/Sec-215.

44 See correspondence from McClelland to Schwarzenberg after Rossel's visit to Auschwitz, 17 November 1944, ACICR G 59/40.

45 Henri Frenay to Burckhardt, 26 January 1945, ACICR DAS ZA 73.

46 Letter from the French Minister for Foreign Affairs to Burckhardt, 31 October 1945. See also Frenay to Burckhardt, 26 January 1945, ACICR DAS ZA 73. Frenay proposed exchanges by category, i.e. between German civilians and French nationals deported to Germany, starting with women and children.

47 Request made by the Czech, Polish, Yugoslav, Dutch, Belgian, Norwegian, Italian, Romanian and Greek National Societies. Philippe Koenig to Burckhardt, 28 February 1945, ACICR G 44/13-13 [ICRC translation].

48 Note from A.-R. Rigg, deputy director of the Relief Division, 16 February 1945, ACICR SG 4 [ICRC translation].

49 Blatman, Daniel, The Death Marches: The Final Phase of Nazi Genocide, transl. by Chaya Galai, Harvard University Press, USA, 2011Google Scholar; Kershaw, Ian, The End. The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944–1945, The Penguin Press, London, 2011Google Scholar.

50 Bauer, Yehuda, Jews for Sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933–1945, Vale Ballou Press, New York, 1994Google Scholar.

51 Dieckhoff, Alain, Rescapés du génocide. L'action Musy : Une opération de sauvetage de Juifs européens en 1944–1945, Helbing & Lichtenhahn, Basel/Frankfurt-am-Main, 1995Google Scholar; Daniel Sebastiani, Jean-Marie Musy (1876–1952), un ancien conseiller fédéral entre rénovation nationale et régimes autoritaires, doctoral dissertation for the University of Fribourg Faculty of Arts, February 2004.

52 Persson, Sune, Escape from the Third Reich. The Harrowing True Story of the Largest Rescue Effort Inside Nazi Germany, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, 2009Google Scholar. A total of 4,000 detainees were evacuated by train by the camp officers while the rest were forced to leave the camp on foot. The ICRC sub-delegation in Lübeck provided trucks for this operation.

53 Schwarzenberg to McClelland, 6 January 1945, ACICR DAS ZA 69.

54 R.W. Zweig, above note 31, p. 848.


55 See ICRC communiqué No. 259b, entitled ‘Improved conditions for civilian detainees in Germany’, 13 February 1945, ACICR DAS ZA 73.

56 It is hard to know the exact number of parcels. ICRC documents contain figures varying between 750,000 and 1.6 million. We have used the lowest estimate, which we believe is the closest to reality, rather than the later estimates, made when the ICRC faced criticism for the shortcomings in its work for concentration camp victims. Service memo from G. Stamm, 31 May 1945, ACICR DAS 2/6. According to Report, Annexes, above note 16, p. 13, the number of parcels for civilian detainees and deportees totaled over 1.6 million, i.e. 6,836 tonnes of food and clothing. But that figure includes the parcels distributed after the German capitulation.


57 Blatman, Daniel, ‘The death marches and the final phase of Nazi genocide’, in Caplan, Jane, Wachsmann, Nikolaus (eds), Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany. The New Histories, Routledge, London/New York, 2010, p. 167Google Scholar.

58 Report, Annexes, above note 16, p. 7.


59 D. Blatman, above note 49.


60 Note to Marti's secretariat, 24 March 1945, visit to Theresienstadt authorized by SS-Obergruppenführer Müller, head of the Sicherheitsdienst, ACICR G 59/12/368.

61 Note from Willy Pfister to Schwarzenberg, 28 June 1945, ACICR G 44/13-20.02.

62 Farré, Sébastien (with Schubert, Yan), ‘From Sachsenhausen to Schwerin. The ICRC and the Death Marches’, in Blondel, Jean-Luc, Urban, Susanne and Schönemann, Sebastian (eds), Freilegungen. Auf den Spuren der Todesmärsche, Jahrbuch des International Tracing Service, Vol. 1, Wallstein, Göttingen, 2012, pp. 282299Google Scholar.

63 Report by H. Landolt (delegate), undated, ACICR G 44-222.3.

64 Rapport sur l'activité du Service Transports Camions (STC) du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, Geneva, 1946.

65 See ‘Le journal de la délégation’, 21 April 1945, ACICR BG 003-73.

66 Note from Claude Empeyta (delegate), 11 May 1945, ACICR G 44/13-15.

67 Documents, above note 35, pp. 116–117; and J.-C. Favez, above note 12, pp. 262–266.


68 Report by Paul Kuhne, 19 June 1945, ACICR DAS 168; see also the list headed ‘Rapatriement’, ACICR DAS 174.

69 S. Persson, above note 52.


70 During the negotiations with Himmler, Musy encouraged him to make contact with President Burckhardt, to whom Himmler proposed a meeting in early February. After obtaining the backing of the American State Department and approval from de Gaulle, Burckhardt agreed to meet with Himmler, who ultimately delegated SS-Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner. Stauffer, Paul, ‘Sechs furchtbare Jahre …’: Auf den Spuren Carl J. Burckhardts durch den Zweiten Weltkrieg, Verl. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich, 1998, p. 321Google Scholar; Black, Peter R., Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Ideological Soldier of the Third Reich, Princeton University, New Jersey, 1984, p. 239Google Scholar. However, according to Favez (above note 12, p. 262), the meeting took place on Burckhardt's initiative.


71 Kaltenbrunner to Burckhardt, 29 March 1945, quoted in Documents, above note 35, pp. 70–71; Y. Bauer, above note 50, pp. 339–340.


72 Chauvy, Gérard, La Croix-Rouge dans la guerre, 1935–1947, Flammarion, Paris, 2000, pp. 177178Google Scholar and 267–268. According to Bauer (above note 50, p. 336) on 2 April Himmler refused to release the Frenchwomen from Ravensbrück to Bernadotte.


73 ‘Rapport d'un délégué du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge sur le rapatriement des détenues de Ravensbrück’, in Documents sur l'activité, above note 35, p. 108 (pp. 89–90 of the English version).


74 The Polish detainee was Countess Karolina Lanckorońska. See P. Stauffer, above note 70, p. 336; Lanckorońska, Karolina, Michelangelo in Ravensbrück: One Woman's War against the Nazis, Da Capo, Cambridge, Mass., 2007Google Scholar.


75 J.-C. Favez, above note 12, p. 264.


76 According to a note from Bachmann during his meeting in Innsbruck with Kaltenbrunner, the latter told him he had telegraphed Himmler on 20 April agreeing to the immediate transport of 1,000 French detainees from Mauthausen. About 2,000 Frenchmen were subsequently to be included in the operation. Report by Bachmann, 14 May 1945, ACICR G 44/13-7.

77 See report ‘Personnes transportées en Allemagne par les camions CICR’, ACICR DAS 168.

78 ‘Rapatriement de détenus civils’, in Revue internationale de la Croix-Rouge, No. 319, July 1945, pp. 461–467.

79 Report by M.W. Jeanfavre (delegate) on his mission to Trellenborg from 30 April to 3 May 1945 to receive internees arriving from Germany; report by Kuhne to Marius-Georges Stamm, 19 June 1945, ACICR DAS 168, and list headed ‘Rapatriement’, ACICR DAS 174.

80 J.-C. Favez, above note 12, p. 262; P. Stauffer, above note 70, p. 321; P.R. Black, above note 70, p. 239.


81 Report by Bachmann, 14 May 1945, ACICR G 44/13-7.

82 Report No. 4 by Dunant, 22 May 1945, ACICR G 59/3/th/63 and ACICR DAS/ZA 76; see also ACICR G 59/12/368 and 369 and note from Kuhne on ICRC activities in Theresienstadt, June 1945, ACICR G 59/368; see also Documents du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge concernant le ghetto de Theresienstadt, s.l., 1990, ACICR.

83 In Landsberg, on 26 April two ICRC delegates, Moynier and Hort, arrived in a camp that had been evacuated and abandoned by its guards. Only 500 detainees had been left behind, most of them sick and unable to undertake a forced march. During the first few days, Hort helped organise supplies and basic medical care. Report by Dunant, 15 May 1945, ACICR G 59/12/13-364.

84 The presence in the American detachment of Belgian journalist Paul Levy, his photographer Raphael Algoet, two correspondents, Marguerite Higgins of the New York Herald Tribune and Peter Furst of Stars and Stripes, and two other photographers, Brigadier General Banfill and Lieutenant Cowling, explains the various photos of Maurer's mission. See the series of photos of the ICRC photo library, v-p-hist-03094-1, 03103-2 to 7; report by Maurer, 18 May 1945 (the report exists in French and German), ACICR G 44/13-7; Abzug, Robert H., Inside the Vicious Heart – Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps, Oxford University Press, New York/London, 1985Google Scholar; Higgins, Marguerite, News is a Singular Thing, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, New York, 1955Google Scholar.

85 Stanislav Zámečník, ‘The Dachau Concentration Camp in the System of the National Socialist Dictatorship’, in The Dachau Concentration Camp, 1933 to 1945 (catalogue for the exhibition The Dachau Concentration Camp, 1933–1945), International Dachau Committee, Dachau, 2005, p. 24.

86 Report by Maurer, above note 84; Linden, John H., Surrender of the Dachau Concentration Camp, 29.04.1945. The True Account, Sycamore Press, Elm Grove, 1997Google Scholar.


87 Report by Haefliger, 24 May 1945, ACICR G 44/13-18.

88 Y. Bauer, above note 50, p. 341.


89 According to Haefliger, the ICRC forced him to resign for having called on the American troops. All trace of his work was erased from institutional memory. Belatedly recognized as the ‘saviour of Mauthausen’, Haefliger was decorated in 1977 for his action during the liberation of Austria and was awarded the peace medal in 1980 and various distinctions in Israel. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 and 1988, and rehabilitated by the ICRC president in 1990, see: (last visited 13 August 2012); Matt, Alphons, Einer aus dem Dunkel. Die Befreiung des Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen durch den Bankbeamten H., Schweizer Verlagshaus, Zurich, 1988Google Scholar; Starmühler, Johannes, Louis Haefliger und die Befreiung des Konzentrationslagers Mauthausen. Eine Betrachtung vermittelter Geschichte in Österreich nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, University of Vienna, 2008Google Scholar, dissertation available at: (last visited 11 August 2012).

90 Arsenijevic, Drago, Otages volontaires des SS, Famot, Genève, 1974Google Scholar. For the English version see Arsenijevic, Drago, Voluntary Hostages of the SS, Ferni Publishing House, Geneva, 1979Google Scholar.

91 Junod, Marcel, Le troisième combattant, CICR, Genève, 1989 (1947)Google Scholar. For the English version see Junod, Marcel, Warrior Without Weapons, transl. by Edward Fitzgerald, Jonathan Cape Ltd., London, 1982 (1951)Google Scholar.

92 Ibid., pp. 230–231.


93 Burckhardt takes up his post as Switzerland's chief representative in France only in May 1945.

94 Lasserre, André, ‘Les réfugiés de Bergen-Belsen et Theresienstadt ou les déboires d'une politique d'asile en 1944–1945’, in Revue Suisse d'Histoire, Vol. 40, 1990, pp. 307317Google Scholar; Favez, Jean-Claude, ‘Le proche et le lointain. L'accueil et l'asile en Suisse au printemps 1945’, in Revue Suisse d'Histoire, Vol. 38, 1988, pp. 390402Google Scholar.

95 Burckhardt to Divisional Colonel Gugger (army head of personnel), 29 March 1945, ACICR BG 003 26 58.

96 Report by J. Barth, 25 April 1945, ACICR DAS ZA 76.


98 The Soviet government's goal was to pressure the Swiss authorities into repatriating the Soviet internees in Switzerland. It finally released the ICRC staff along with a group of other Swiss citizens in mid-October. See D. Arsenijevic, above note 90, pp. 263–270.


99 Letter from Kohn to the ICRC on 26 April 1945; see also undated note from Jung, ACICR DAS 2/6.

100 Report by Kohler on the visit to the camp at La Plaine, 4 May 1945, ACICR G 44/13 22.

101 Note for the delegation in Berlin, 16 February 1945, ACICR DAS ZA 73.

102 Paul Lobstein to the ICRC, 26 June 1945, ACICR DAS 2/6.

103 Kogon, Eugen, L'Enfer organisé. Le système des camps de concentration, La jeune Parque, Paris, 1947, pp. 119120Google Scholar.

104 The first parcels, which were relatively light (1.845 kg), contained basically sugar and dairy products (600 g of jam, 430 g of sweetened concentrated milk, 80 g of Ovo-sport, 150 g of biscuits (Soso), 250 g of smoked sausage, 225 g of cheese (Gerber-anémone), 100 g of chocolate). ‘Content of a standard parcel for Norwegian internees’, note from Rigg for Schwarzenberg, 13 April 1943, ACICR DAS ZA 72. The contents had apparently been improved by the autumn, when the standard parcel contained three 100 g packets of biscuits-cake, two packets of soup (15 cubes per parcel), six packets of vegetable powder for soup (165 g, i.e. two of beans, two of peas and two of lentils), 165 g or three tins of Globus goulash, one bottle of Pritamin, a packet of plum marmalade and 500 g of noodle soup. ‘Composition of the standard parcel (second order)’, 12 November 1943, ACICR DAS ZA 12.

105 Procès-verbal, 27 April 1945 ACICR DAS ZA 1.

106 Report by Rubli, 27 April 1945, ACICR G 44/R-217.

107 Report by Dunant, 15 May 1945, ACICR G 59/12/13-364.

108 Weinding, Paul, ‘For Love of Christ: Strategies of International Catholic Relief and the Allied occupation of Germany, 1945–1949’, in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 43, No. 3, 2008, pp. 477491Google Scholar; Weinding, Paul, ‘"Belsenitis”: Liberating Belsen, Its Hospitals, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and Selection for Re-emigration, 1945–1948’, in Science in Context, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2006, pp. 401418Google Scholar; Harrison, Mark, Medicine and Victory. British Military Medicine in the Second World War, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004Google Scholar.

109 Lavsky, Hagit, ‘The Day After. Bergen-Belsen from Concentration Camp to Center of the Jewish Survivors in Germany’, in German History, Vol. 11, 1993, pp. 3659CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

110 Pfirter, Anny, Souvenirs d'une mission du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, Geneva, 1955Google Scholar; Steinert, Johannes-Dieter, ‘British Relief Teams in Belsen Concentration Camp: Emergency Relief and the Perception of Survivors’, in Genocide Studies, Vols 1–2, Nos 1–2, 2006, pp. 6272Google Scholar. See also Doherty, Muriel Knox, Letters from Belsen 1945: an Australian nurse's experiences with the survivors of war, Allen & Unwin, N.S.W., 2000Google Scholar.

111 Documentation médicale à l'usage des délégués, Vol. I, March–June 1946, CID 362-191.557 [ICRC translation].

112 Steinert, Johannes-Dieter, ‘Food and the Food Crisis in Postwar Germany, 1945–1948: British Policy and the Role of British NGOs’, in Trentmann, Frank, Just, Flemming (eds), Food and Conflict in Europe in the Age of the Two World Wars, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2006, pp. 266287Google Scholar; Cohen, Jean-Daniel, ‘Between Relief and Politics: Refugee Humanitarianism in Occupied Germany 1945–1946’, in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 43, No. 3, 2008, pp. 437449Google Scholar; Reinisch, Jessica, ‘Introduction: Relief in the Aftermath of War’, in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 43, No. 3, 2008, pp. 371404Google Scholar. More particularly on the ICRC, Junod, Dominique-Déborah, La Croix-Rouge en péril, 1945–1952 : La stratégie du CICR, de la Seconde Guerre mondiale au conflit de Palestine-Eretz-Israël, Payot, Lausanne, 1997Google Scholar (for the English version see Junod, Dominique-Déborah, The Imperiled Red Cross and the Palestine-Eretz-Yisrael Conflict 1945–1952: The Influence of Institutional Concerns on a Humanitarian Operation, transl. by Martha Grenzeback, Kegan Paul International, London/New York, 1996)Google Scholar; Rey-Schirr, Catherine, De Yalta à Dien Bien Phu. Histoire du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, 1945–1955, Editions Georg, Geneva, 2007Google Scholar.

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