The Red Cross and the Holocaust


One of the reasons why so many died during the holocaust is because ‘good’ people, decided to look the other way.

The Red Cross knew what was happening and decided to do very little. I know some people will say”It was war time, what could they do?” And I understand that question and appreciate the reasoning behind it.

However in 1933, 6 years before the war began a Jewish refugee had already alerted the International Committee  of the Red Cross  to mistreatment of prisoners in Dachau, this was ignored.


The German Red Cross or DRK was a member of the Red Cross movement. On 11 June 1933 Nazi Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick Frick was invited to speak at the Red Cross Day. He stated:

“The Red Cross is something like the conscience of the nation. … Together with the nation, the Red Cross is ready to commit all its strength for the high goals of our leader, Adolf Hitler”

Max Huber who was the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross from 1928 to 1944. Expressed the attitude  of the ICRC towards the DRK’s exclusion of the Jews. Max_HuberIn a 1939 letter  he expressed the view ‘the primary obligation of neutral treatment as foreseen in the Geneva Convention was to the victims of war, and not to the helpers. He argued that as it was impossible to prescribe rules which were in conflict with the laws of a country, it was better to take a flexible approach than to risk the break-up of the universal Red Cross movement’.

Dr. Karl Franz Gebhardt was  the director of the German Red Cross, during WWII and personal physician to Heinrich Himmler.  He oversaw human medical experimentation of concentration camp inmates. He was the main coordinator of a series of surgical experiments performed on inmates of the concentration camps at Ravensbrück and Auschwitz.

Gebbhardt in his capacity as the leader of the German Red Cross had offered in April 1945 to take Goebbels’s children out of the city with him, but he was dismissed by Goebbels.


In June 1944 the ICRC were allowed to visit Theresienstadt .If they would have done a proper inspection they would have seen the horrors. But the visit was superficial and they were fooled by the Nazi in an elaborate hoax. The ghetto  was “beautified.” Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting .


The ICRC were made to believe it was more of a holiday resort then a place where atrocities took place. This is just my view on it but do me it seems like the it was all a ‘ticking the box, exercise for the ICRC, nothing else.


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