IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

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IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

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INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS

DOCUMENTS


on the activity of the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of civilians held in concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)


SECOND EDITION

GENEVA
June 1946

Series II. N o 1.

TABLE OF CONTENTS



PART I
Pages
INTRODUCTION 3
World War I 5
Period 1918 to 1939 7
World War II 10
First phase 11
Second phase 14
Third phase 16
Fourth phase 22

PART TWO
DOCUMENTS 27
First phase 28
Second phase 39
Third phase 50
Fourth phase 76

PART THREE

REPORTS OF DELEGATES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE
RED CROSS ON THEIR ACTIVITY FOR CIVILIAN
PRISONERS IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN GERMANY 89
I. Report on a visit to the Camp Commandant of Aus-
chwitz (September 1944) 91
II. Report on the talks of the ICRC delegation in
Berlin with the German authorities 92
Pages
III. Report on the repatriation of prisoners of the camp
Ravensbrück 105
IV. Report on the visit of a delegate-at Ravens camp
Brück to try to prevent the evacuation and the
evacuation of Oranienburg 111
V. Report on the evacuation of the camp of Oranienburg 120
VI. Report on the feeding of the evacuees of Oranienburg
and Ravensbrück 123
VII. Report on the camp at Theresienstadt 130
VIII. Report on political prisoners who are in
prisons in Berlin 133
IX. Report on Mauthausen 134
X. Report on the Liberation of Mauthausen 136
XI. Roadmap to an ICRC delegate-conveyor 143
XII. Report on the Dachau camp 149
XIII. Report on the camp Turckheim 152

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS

DOCUMENTS


on the activity of the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of civilians held in concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)


PART TWO

DOCUMENTS

Can be found below, in full or summarized, arranged chronologically, the essential parts, extracted from the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which relate to the activity performed by him during the Second World War for civilians to hands of the enemy and mainly for those detained in Germany in a concentration camp.

In reading these documents, it should be remembered that the International Committee needs to talk to all Governments and National Societies of Red Cross and trustful relations followed, and that in the interest of his own actions for victims of the war. So he adopted in respect of all his correspondents, a polite form - inspired also uses diplomatic - imposed on it by its moral authority and its responsibilities.

We must, on the other hand, keep in mind that many steps in favor of prisoners clothed in the form of verbal interventions, often personal, which is obviously impossible to report here.

Only one has been deleted passages that do not relate directly to the subject matter or considered of secondary importance. Deletions are indicated by each ellipsis.
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FIRST PHASE

From the beginning of the war, the International Committee submitted to the Governments of the belligerent proposals to remedy the absence of treaty protection of civilians at the hands of the enemy.

These proposals aimed to get belligerent Powers at the beginning of the war, the adoption of the Tokyo Draft or, failing him, the application by analogy to civilian internees, the provisions of the Geneva Convention of 1929 on prisoners of war.

Action by the Committee were to result, in this first phase of the war, the widespread application to civilians on enemy territory - this was while in this category - the provisions of the 1929 Convention, insofar as they were applicable to civilians.

Circular letter to the ICRC a belligerent Powers

Geneva, September 4, 1939.

At the outbreak of a serious armed conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has its permanent headquarters in Geneva since 1863 and is recruited exclusively from among Swiss citizens, has the honor to inform Your Excellency that it starts available to the Government ... to contribute, on a humanitarian level, according to its traditional role and the extent of his powers, to remedy the evils wrought by the war ...

Civilians enemies within the territory of each of the belligerent States, or a territory subject in any capacity whatsoever, the sovereignty of these states, are found, in time of war, protected by any international convention. Their situation was resolved during the war of 1914-1918, by bilateral agreements concluded by the end of the war and now obsolete. At the moment, it is determined that a draft Convention approved by the XV International Conference of the Red Cross, meeting in Tokyo in 1934, to which your Government was represented.

Also, the International Committee of the Red Cross offers he to the Government ... to establish a statute applicable to such civil status

1 In the following documents, the International Committee of the Red Cross is designated by the abbreviation: ICRC, however, except in the texts quoted verbatim.
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which could be based on bilateral agreements mentioned above. Another solution could also consist of early adoption and at least temporarily, for the only confl [i] t current and its duration only, the provisions of the draft Convention mentioned above, which your Excellency will find enclosed a copy.

The International Committee of the Red Cross dares to express the firm hope that your Excellency will inform as soon as possible of the provisions that the Government ... believe to be in line with the considerations and suggestions that can show you.

Explanatory note to the delegates of the ICRC, on the treatment of civilian internees

Geneva, September 12, 1939.

Belligerents, some by formal statements, the other in fact, apply by analogy to civilian internees (which are still in favor of any agreement) the terms of the 1929 Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, except for provisions (sales, etc..) that can be applied only to soldiers.

The delegate will then, for visits to civilian internees, among others achieve the same standards as for prisoners of war camps.

It would be particularly useful to clarify the following points:

a) which bodies are dependent information related to enemy civilians;

b) what categories of civilians who were interned enemies, those who were put under probation service and those who were not worried;

c) measures taken against enemy civilians belonging to different categories above and living in remote areas of the Metropolis (protectorates, colonies, etc.).

d) plan in which civilian internees are subject (conditions of confinement, ability to send and receive parcels and relief packages and money), the occupations to which they may engage;

e) measures taken in respect of refugees and stateless persons from an enemy country;

f) if possible obtain lists of places of internment and designation of areas of containment;

g) if possible obtain lists of civilian internees. To facilitate the identification of stakeholders, it would be highly desirable that

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comportassent lists at least the following: full name, date and place of birth, occupation and address of last residence. If these lists have not yet been established, the delegate could suggest a distribution of forms of correspondence the office processing center would, to some extent, a recovery;

h) it would be highly desirable that the Delegate would informat from the competent authorities of the measures provided for the exchange of letters containing family news exclusively between members of one family, residing or detained in various belligerent countries. Correspondence can it be exchanged directly? If this is not the case, could it be transmitted through the central office of the International Committee of the Red Cross would ensure segregation, censorship and delivery at destination in case this eventuality should also be rejected, one could consider the distribution of forms to interested correspondence, forms that would be sorted, censored and transported to their destination by the central office, where, as a last resort, they would be transcribed and translated into the language of the destination country ;

i) it is desirable that the delegate could obtain information, as precise as possible, the localities that were evacuated, with the indication of the categories of civilians (national, neutral or enemy) that would have benefited from these evacuations. It would also be helpful to know the communities or regions to which these evacuations were conducted, would there be to consider the distribution of forms of correspondence for evacuees to be able to reassure their families as quickly as possible to abroad?;

j) the conditions under which non-mobilized enemy civilians could they be repatriated to their country of origin if they wish?

Verbal response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich's remarks technical assistant to the ICRC letter of 4 September 1939, submitted by the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Berlin

Berlin, September 28, 1939.

Civilians of enemy nationality, located in German territory, are subject to regulations on the treatment of foreigners of September 5, 1939.

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The German Government would be prepared to discuss the conclusion of a Convention for the protection of civilians on the basis of "Tokyo Draft" 1.

Already civilian prisoners are under the same regime as prisoners of war.

The visit of civilian internment camps, correspondence and relief supplies will be allowed to the same extent as for prisoners of war. The visit of delegates should be preceded by written permission from the High Command of the army.

Currently, civilian internees are in institutions that are subject to the army. There are no plans for change in this procedure.

The lists of civilian internees are filed on the same agency as prisoners of war.

With respect to information relating to enemy civilians who are not internees, the German Department of the Interior has jurisdiction.

Information regarding the enemy civilians interned are given by the Central Bureau of Information.

Enemy civilians were not interned by categories, but it is only of security measures that are taken for each individual case. This is the only remains of men. The mailing addresses of institutions of confinement can be communicated.

The lists of civilian internees handed to the International Committee of the Red Cross include the information requested (name, surname, date and place of birth, occupation and address of last residence).

For correspondence of interned enemy civilians, the same requirements as for prisoners of war are valid. Forms, except the cards are not provided.

Enemy civilians who wish may return to their countries, provided their country of origin grants reciprocal. This also applies, under the same conditions for civilians mobilized.

On the German side, we would like the German civilians interned in the colonies could return to their country if they wish. There would be no objection to the belligerents undertake not to use each other militarily mobilized civilians who would be returned to their country of origin.

By a letter dated November 30, 1939, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich confirmed that "the German side, it was estimated that the" Tokyo Draft "could be the basis for the conclusion of an international agreement on the treatment and protection of civilians caught in enemy or occupied territory. "
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Memorandum of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Governments of the possibility belligerents agreements to provide, during the present hostilities, some improvements to the plight of war victims

Geneva, October 21, 1939.

In its letters of September 4, addressed to the belligerent Governments, and in the briefs and technical notes handed to them by its delegates, the International Committee of the Red Cross proposed to the belligerent states to adopt, or under agreements ad hoc agreements for the duration of hostilities, or by agreements may result from unilateral declarations concordant or complementary, certain principles that could generally improve the situation of victims of war ...

The International Committee of the Red Cross considers necessary to inform the Governments - in confirmation and further information already provided by its delegates - the situation as it results from interim replies of Governments, provided that they have already expressed their views.

Civilians of enemy nationality who are on the territory of a belligerent.

It was important above all to adopt, as a basis for agreement, the Draft Convention adopted by the XV International Conference of the Red Cross in Tokyo in 1934, Titles I and II (see Attachment 1: Project told Tokio). This implies, therefore, subject to reciprocity, the possibility of repatriating certain categories of civilians who wish to return home.

If you can, now, to adopt the Title II Project says the Tokio, or a similar solution - which would be the best solution to the problem of civilians in enemy countries - it is desirable that the situation of civilians interned in enemy should find an interim solution by the assimilation of these cases of civilian internees to that of prisoners of war. This could be total assimilation, provided that these are not provisions of the Convention of 27 July 1929 applicable to members only (sales, etc..).

Assimilation can be made including the following three cases:

a) Treatment of civilian internees. - This treatment would be that provided for prisoners of war by the Convention of 27 July 1929.

Note: The German authorities currently apply to the civil provisions of the 1929 Convention.

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b) Submission of lists of names of civilian internees and their information in accordance with Articles 77 and 79 of the Convention of 27 July 1929.

Note: No belligerent Government has taken to date, commitments in this regard. However, as a result of special efforts made by the International Committee of the Red Cross, it has successively received British authorities in Hong Kong, the Department of National Defence of Canada and the Falkland Islands Government, the names German civilians interned.

c) Visits to civilian internment camps.

Note: All governments consulted seem to be willing to allow the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit these camps.

Civilians of enemy nationality who are on territory occupied by a belligerent.

It is highly desirable that Title III of the Project said in Tokyo was adopted by the belligerents as the provisional Regulation, Title III would mark this undeniable progress on the provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907.

Response of Foreign Ministry in Paris, the proposals of the International Committee of the Red Cross concerning the protection of civilians in enemy hands

Paris, November 23, 1939.

You kindly draw the attention of the French Government on the situation of civilians of enemy nationality interned or detained by the opposing party. You noted that the fate of the civilians has been no international agreement but that, however, the XV International Conference of the Red Cross, meeting in Tokyo in 1934, adopted a draft Convention developed by the International Committee of the Red Cross, on the condition and the protection of civilians of enemy nationality who are on the territory of a belligerent or in territory occupied by him. The XV Conference recommended project to the attention of the Governments signatory to the Geneva Convention and instructed the International Committee of the Red Cross to make all necessary steps to deliver it in the shortest possible time.

You add that the Committee is seeking the belligerent States, subject to reciprocity, their adherence to the principles of the "Tokyo Draft" and you indicate that pre-

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nurses steps taken, it follows that the German Government is prepared to take this project as the basis of an agreement with enemy states.

You suggest, however, that until the French Government can judge, in his case, given its membership in this text, the application of the Geneva Convention of 1929 on the treatment of prisoners of war be extended by analogy and subject to reciprocity, to civilian internees.

I have the honor to inform you that the French Government is more prepared to accept the views expressed by the International Committee of the Red Cross on the need to settle by international status the status of civilian internees that, in turn, and the beginning of hostilities, he voluntarily took steps to ensure that all enemy aliens detained on its soil to be treated according to the principles of humanity.

The French Government fully recognizes the relevance, to establish the status of civilians caught in enemy territory, the principles established under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross Project in Tokyo said. However, he felt that the text in question would still require careful study and, before they can become international agreement, the discussions, which, especially in the current circumstances may demand a long period and to delay all the solution of problems involving civilian internees.

Therefore, while agreeing in principle to continue consideration of the Tokyo Draft, the French Government considers it preferable to retain the second suggestion that you have wanted to do. He was therefore prepared, in regard to itself, and on condition of reciprocity on the part of the German Government, to be applied to civilians of enemy nationality interned within its territory the principles of the Geneva Convention of 27 July 1929 on the Treatment of Prisoners war as, of course, that these principles may be applied to civilians.

The French Government wishes to emphasize however that will be unable to comply strictly with the provisions of the 1929 Convention relating to the provision of lists of names of civilian internees and their information. The variety of categories of civilians of enemy nationality interned in French territory would indeed insurmountable difficulties for mandatory disclosure. Moreover, because of the special position in which there is a large number of internees against Germany, the French Government believes it could eventually result to the internees themselves and their families in Germany have serious drawbacks of disclosure of information about them. It offers

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therefore not be on the lists the names of internees shall consent formally.

Note the German Consulate in Geneva on the repatriation of enemy aliens, 27 November 1939 (abstract).

The German Consulate refers to the interview of November 16 with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross during which information was given the great interest that the Reich Government next door to the repatriation of citizens of the Reich, interned in enemy countries. It was noted with satisfaction that the International Committee shares the view of the Reich Government on this issue and has already taken steps for its expeditious solution.

The German Government agreed with the Government of the United States, that the mass internment of enemy aliens should, wherever possible, be avoided. Also, the German authorities have detained them at the beginning of the war, only a limited number of enemy nationals. It should, on the other hand, stressed that the enemy states are already strongly committed to the path of mass internments, a measure that raises the rest of the ever-increasing information on treatment unnecessarily inflicted severe to nationals of the Reich.

Letter from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in London

Geneva, December 7, 1939.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has helped attract the attention of the Governments of the belligerent Powers at the beginning of hostilities, the need to address the situation of civilians of enemy nationality who are on the territory of a belligerent or in territory occupied by him. He proposed to the belligerent Powers to enforce, temporarily, by ad hoc agreements, the project that the XV International Conference of the Red Cross, meeting in Tokyo in 1934, adopted on this, or at least some title of the project.

In a memorandum dated October 21, we have allowed ourselves to return to this point in connection with other issues that could find an interim solution by ad hoc agreements between the belligerent Powers.

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The International Committee of the Red Cross suggested in the memorandum cited above that, until the project can find Tokio its implementation, in whole or part, the Convention of 27 July 1929 on the treatment of prisoners of war be applied civilians of enemy nationality interned in the territory of a belligerent. We mentioned in the memorandum that the German Government had already granted to civilians interned the benefit of the 1929 Convention, provided that the provisions thereof may be applied to civilians.

For its part, the French Government by letter dated November 23, while agreeing in principle to continue consideration of the texts, it was willing, for his part, and on condition of reciprocity on the part of the German Government , to be applied to civilians of enemy nationality interned in French territory the principles of the Convention of 27 July 1929 on the treatment of prisoners of war, provided, of course, that these principles may be applied to civilians. The French Government has indeed made a reservation regarding the disclosure of the names of internees. For various reasons, the French Government entered on the lists referred to in Articles 77 and 79 of the 1929 Convention that the names of those internees who consent to be formally added to the lists to communicate.

We thought it useful to the Government of His Majesty aware of these facts are likely to improve in a significant extent, the plight of civilians interned enemy and engage the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask your excellence if His Majesty's Government would also be willing to also apply the principles of the Convention of 1929 for German civilian internees who are in the UK.

As the two Governments, which have already ruled in favor of the principles of the Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war interned civilians, made the reservation very natural that the application can not affect the provisions that are can be applied to civilians, the International Committee of the Red Cross has taken the liberty to inform the Government that they will soon submit a note on comments on the overall implementation of the Convention for internees civil and on certain points which seem to require special consideration. Later we will allow ourselves to submit this document also.

The International Committee of the Red Cross hopes that the British Government may wish to consider our suggestion favorably and would be happy to know what happened that could be given.

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Response of Foreign Ministry in London with the proposals of the International Committee of the Red Cross (translation).

London, April 30, 1940.

1) I am directed by Viscount Halifax to refer to the letters that were sent by the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, about the possibility of applying civilian internees provisions of the Convention signed in Geneva in 1929 relative to prisoners of war.

2) I must inform you that the civilians of enemy nationality detained in the UK are normally handled in accordance with the Convention on Prisoners of War of 1929. However, as the International Committee will understand, some differences in detail in the plan are inevitable. Thus, civilian internees may not be fed and clothed in the same way that prisoners of war, they receive no pay and can not, on the other hand, being forced to work. For many years, lists of German civilians interned in the United Kingdom were sent to the Information Bureau for prisoners of war and representatives of the Swiss Legation and the International Committee had the opportunity to visit the internment camps in the UK. The German civilian internees are allowed to write two letters a week and enjoy the facilities offered by the postal service for prisoners of war.

3) The German Government has probably already aware of these facts, through the Swiss Government.

4) On Her Majesty's Government in the UK is currently considering the possibility of concluding a formal agreement with the German Government on this point, and the proposal that Mr. Huber was kind enough to not be neglected on this occasion .

The International Committee of the Red Cross received yet the Governments of Italy, Canadian, Australian, Egyptian and Dutch East Indies, favorable responses to its proposals for the implementation of the 1929 Convention to civilian internees.

The Committee also recommended to the Governments of neutral States who interned nationals of belligerent States to apply by analogy the provisions of the 1929 Convention.

In this first phase of the war, the vast majority of civilians in enemy hands is kept free.

However, a trend is emerging intern soon.

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The Reich Government informed the International Committee of the Red Cross, October 21, 1939, "the French civilians in Germany were not interned until now, but they are likely to be because France's internal German civilians. "

The German Government stands ready "to provide lists of civilian internees under supervision of the Wehrmacht, subject to reciprocity and to indicate places of internment."

December 29, 1939, the International Committee of the Red Cross informed the French Foreign Ministry "in Germany that its delegates were allowed to visit civilian internees French, British and Polish." He noted that this is a progress towards the assimilation of civilian internees to prisoners of war. The Committee requests that the French Government authorized its delegates to visit the Deposits of civilians in France. He said that the British Government has also authorized its delegates to visit the German civilian internees deposits in Britain. By memorandum dated February 17, 1940, the German Government is willing, with guarantee of reciprocity, to make the following commitments:

1) no reprisals for acts which civilian internees are not personally responsible;

2) no mass internment;

3) the internment of Britons only take place after thorough investigation;

4) every Briton who wants it can get permission to be repatriated, with commitment on his part not to take up arms during the war. The repatriation will be denied to civilian internees against whom legal action is pending;

5) the civilian internment camps could be visited.

By letter dated January 19, 1940, the Reich Government admits the reserve of the French Government does not release the names of civilian internees with their consent, provided that they are not "influenced". He showed himself dis-

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asked to give a slight balance to civilian internees and to allow them to work for wages, on a reciprocal basis.

These various statements allow the International Committee of the Red Cross, in his "instructions to its delegates" of February 17, 1941, to expose "the belligerents, each as a result of formal statements, other, in fact, apply by analogy to civilian internees provisions of the Geneva Convention of 1929 - to the extent they are applicable to civilians. Delegates will have to visit civilian internees, observe the same standards as camps for prisoners of war. "

SECOND PHASE

Gradually, as the war grows, new categories of civilians fall into enemy hands.

Civilians in enemy territory - released or detained "because of their nationality" - are additional civilians in occupied territory, the hostages, deportees, detained or interned in concentration camps "for security reasons" (Schutzhäftlinge ).

Letter from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich, on the repatriation of certain categories of civilian internees (translation)

Geneva, August 5, 1941.

The International Committee of the Red Cross receives more and more frequent appeals from government authorities and civil authorities asked him to devote his full attention to the repatriation of civilians who find themselves in occupied territory or in enemy country.

Because of the duration of hostilities and the hardness growing economic conditions, the situation of civilians of enemy nationality detained in a belligerent state is becoming daily more difficult and their presence is also the Detaining Power to a charge that n ' is not negligible. Under these conditions, the International Committee of the Red Cross considers it his duty to ask the belligerent states if they do not consider that the time has come

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consider the possibility of an agreement for the repatriation of certain groups of civilians and, first, enemy nationals who are detained for reasons other than national security.

By its circular dated September 4, 1939, and by his memory of 21 October of that year, the International Committee of the Red Cross has already had the honor to draw the attention of Governments belligerents on the urgency of this issue and propose as a basis for discussion the draft International Convention adopted by the XV International Conference of the Red Cross in Tokyo in 1934. Sections 2 and 3 of the project, copy attached, deserve special attention.

This proposal met with no objection in principle on the part of Governments belligerents, some governments have even welcomed the project with favor.

The fact that no agreement has been reached so far is mainly due to technical difficulties, which today are perhaps more insurmountable.

If the Reich Government decided to give sympathetic consideration to the suggestion of the International Committee of the Red Cross, should be defined groups of civilians coming into play and explore the practical realization of this repatriation.

The classification could be as follows:

1) Civilian non-institutionalized, wishing to be repatriated, which include mostly women and children, and men who are no longer of military age.

2) civilian internees whose situation is unique: doctors, priests, pastors, deacons, nuns and nurses.

3) Other civilian internees, in particular women and children.

The practical organization of repatriation would be then to consider all aspects (financial, fashion and transportation routes, safe-conducts, etc..).

The International Committee of the Red Cross would be grateful to the Reich Government to make known its views. The Reich Government would be prepared to load the International Committee of the Red Cross to study this set of problems and further arranged to allow the departure of the aforementioned groups of British civilians, held either in the territory of the Reich, or in the occupied areas?

The International Committee of the Red Cross request along with British and Italian Governments if they would be willing to authorize the release and repatriation of the corresponding groups of German and Italian civilians on the one hand, and British second. The International Committee of the Red Cross would be willing, if

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expressed the desire in him, to take all steps and do, according to the present circumstances, all necessary steps to achieve this recovery. If the International Committee of the Red Cross would receive positive responses, he would immediately examine the practical aspects of the problem (finance, transportation routes, safe-conduct), and that in those countries where there are internees. The International Committee of the Red Cross would also be willing to organize convoys of returnees and charter vessels, which would travel under the emblem of the Red Cross. The identity of passengers aboard would then be verified by a delegate of the Red Cross.

The International Committee of the Red Cross would be happy and grateful if the Reich Government was willing to communicate his views on a matter of principle whose solution it seems highly desirable.

Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich to the ICRC, March 12, 1942 (summary)

The German Government responds to ICRC proposals for the establishment of camps for families. The German government hopes to solve this issue dear to his heart. When he eventually decided to intern British civilians, he always took care to soften the possible regulation of internment in not separating mothers from their children, the fathers of their son. In occupied France, couples are interned in Vittel.

Letter from the German Red Cross, ICRC, 29 April 1942 (abstract)

The German Red Cross informed the ICRC that it was unable to obtain the information it asked for the non-Aryans who were evacuated from the occupied territories, all information about them are rejected by the competent authorities. The German Red Cross now therefore requests the ICRC to refrain from sending him requests for information it is not able to meet. In the future, it will have the ability to conduct investigations of non-Aryans of foreign nationality who are on the Reich.

ICRC letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich, of 20 May 1942 (abstract)

The International Committee of the Red Cross shall request lists of names of civilian internees camp of Drancy,

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Compiègne and North Africa, who were deported to Germany, the current place of detention, the addresses where you can send them help and if they are allowed to correspond with their families. (This request went unanswered.)

Note the ICRC delegate in Berlin from May 24, 1942 (summary)

The delegate was able to visit, following the instructions of the International Committee, the Dutch camp hostages s'Hertogenbosch. He sends a note of the German Government refutes the assertion that the hostages would be abused. Their many advantages have been accorded the contrary, no limitation is made to the parcel and correspondence.

Personal letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Chairman of the German Red Cross, on the taking of hostages in Holland (translation)

Geneva, June 1, 1942.

If, by this I am speaking to you personally is that it is a matter which is to us the utmost importance. I also believe that you fully understand our situation and the motives which we obey.

From information in the press that has recently conducted in the Netherlands made numerous arrests of hostages; we also consider transferring to another camp (St Michiels) Dutch hostages interned at Camp s' Hertogenbosch, where they are in reasonably bearable.

The International Committee of the Red Cross can not remain indifferent to this news. I will not deal here with the general appearance and humanitarian problem. We are confident that the German authorities do not take lightly measures as serious and they are not decided until the gravity of crimes and attacks against the Wehrmacht require the most stringent sanctions. I would limit myself to recall at this juncture, to omit nothing, said the project Tokio (XV International Conference of the Red Cross, 1934) and in particular the following passage:

"If, exceptionally, it would appear indispensable for an occupier to take hostages, they should always be treated humanely. They must on no account be killed or subjected to corporal punishment. "
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This section of the Tokyo Draft - project that also has not entered into force - is based on Article 50 of the Hague Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War, Article prohibiting collective punishment inflicted on the population of occupied territories, as a result of individual acts of which they can not be held responsible.

I confine myself here to the particular case of the Dutch, but stressed a point which is of paramount importance for our work for many of Reich nationals who are in territories overseas.

We have consistently provided to the authorities of the Reich detailed information on the activity of our delegates in favor of German internees remaining in the country at war with Germany. Most recently, we were able to communicate to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the remarkable results of the mission undertaken by our delegate in Dutch Guiana, where it could obtain significant improvements in favor of Reich nationals detained in this country for two years .

The work that our delegates are doing overseas in favor of German nationals can have no practical results and sustainable if the German authorities, for reasons of reciprocity, consider these results in the treatment of nationals of those countries that are enemies in German hands. The value of our work is, on the other hand, severely compromised if the reports we send to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the results of a mission, not only were followed by no relief, but, as for example in the hostage issue, had even coincide with a more rigorous Authorities Reich.

We are actually in the process of strengthening our delegations in Latin American States; considerable and difficult tasks await us, also in the interest of thousands of German nationals who are there. With regard to Brazil, we have already received a major proposal of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs on assisting the Germans in this country. We do not want nothing more ardently than to, as before, everything in our power to improve the lives of these often painful victims of war, who never fought. But how could we, us and our delegations, count on the understanding and goodwill of the authorities of the Detaining Power, if they are able to argue that they grant the facilities do not find a rule , cons of part-German side?

So I send you, Mr. President, the earnest entreaty to use all your influence with the relevant circles for

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they reflect the difficulties and prerequisites of reciprocity that govern the work of our delegates in the various warring states. It is important to avoid, as far as possible, all measures that could lead to worsening of the overall situation, including negative impact for German citizens located overseas.

You know the importance of our delegations in almost every country in the world and the enormous expense to which we are dealing only with great difficulty. We hope that this universal organization can continue to serve your compatriots in enemy countries, but I can not conceal my fear that our efforts are seriously hampered if the results obtained do not evoke an echo in the Reich, in the the sense described above.

I add in conclusion that we know the views of the Reich Government, aimed at resolving this problem by mutual repatriation of all civilian internees. No doubt this idea should be welcomed, I believe, however, have expressed some doubts about the future of realize. Even if, for example, the Belgian and Dutch in exile said they were ready to repatriate all Germans, including men of military age, the authorities of the Reich would still be able to make arrests later in the occupied territories. This assumption has probably provided the Governments of the reason for their aforementioned first refusal, which was brought to our attention. Although we have not done anything in this field so far and that we ignore the opinion of the Governments concerned, I fear that the German Government's proposal is not accepted. What matters, however, is getting tangible relief for this category of victims of war and arrive at practical solutions.

This is why we consider our duty to seek to exercise a moderating influence whenever the situation threatens to worsen and to try anything that is likely to cause a relaxation.

It is in this sense that I beg you to interpret these lines of personal and kindly, as before, to show your usual understanding of our unique situation between the belligerents, a situation which is largely based on the application the principle of reciprocity.

Response of the Chairman of the German Red Cross to the letter of the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross from 1 June 1942 concerning the hostages Dutch (translation)

Berlin, July 7, 1942.

Your letter of June 1, I was deeply concerned. You know how the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross I

44

at heart and, therefore, how much I share your thoughts and concerns you inspire your role as an intermediary and facilitator to the incidents that occurred in Holland and you report.

Your concerns seem to me entirely justified, even if you fear the consequences could have negative repercussions for our own citizens.

Although my findings on the issues we do not allow me until now to give you an answer that satisfies us all, however, I share your hope that a worsening of the fate of my countrymen, for the present and the future can be avoided, measures of this kind still causing reprisal. And all the more so, there still is a distinction between the needs to which the German authorities are placed in an occupied territory as the Netherlands and the treatment of civilian internees for which the Conventions in force provide a clearly defined plan.

We are indebted to the International Committee of the Red Cross for each relief, however small, that his tireless efforts have so often provided the fate of detainees. You will therefore understand how sorry I am, precisely in this area, not being able to offer through effective German Red Cross regarding the incidents mentioned in your letter. Believe, I pray, that only compelling military necessity may have forced the competent authorities to take these steps and, for now, it is impossible even to invoke certain principles that we hold much at heart.

Note ICRC's delegation in Berlin from July 21, 1942 (summary)

The International Committee, who learned by the Polish Red Cross, the arrest of Polish reserve officers, asked the delegation to Berlin to get the lists of names of those officers and get permission to visit the camp where they are held.

Letter from the German Red Cross, ICRC, 20 August 1942 (abstract)

In confirmation of his letter of April 29, 1942, the German Red Cross states that it can provide information on non-Aryan prisoners who are on the territories occupied by the Wehrmacht. Regarding other civilian detainees in the occupied territories, the competent authorities refuse to provide information about them.

45

ICRC letter to the German Red Cross, August 24, 1942 (summary)

1) The civilian internees from countries occupied by Germany have no Protecting Power. It seems the ICRC that they can not be deprived of the right of the Convention of 27 July 1929. How is the defense of their private interests, their own defense in court?

2) The Spanish Republicans interned in Mauthausen, according to the German Government, are not under the control of the Wehrmacht, but the police. ICRC demands that they be treated as prisoners of war, they can send and receive correspondence, it also asks the list of those interned.

Instructions to its delegates of the ICRC concerning civilians interned or imprisoned in Italy, Germany, Egypt, France occupied the September 15, 1942

The International Committee of the Red Cross stresses the need to extend its support for such persons. It is obvious that the facilities that the delegate may obtain from a belligerent will ask the same privileges with the other party. The ICRC is involved in certain areas where the Protecting Power does not usually. It is in this sense that the ICRC carries out surveys on individual civilians not interned in enemy countries, with the assistance of National Red Cross. Similarly, he managed, with the consent of the belligerents, to establish a system of correspondence allowing civilians to stay in contact with their country of origin.

In the absence of a special convention (Tokyo Draft), it appeared necessary to assimilate civilian internees and prisoners of war to apply the provisions of the Geneva Convention. Internees offenders must also be in favor of Chapter III, Articles 47 and following, of the 1929 Convention. The ICRC must strive to implement the 1929 Convention, by analogy, in all cases where it is physically and legally possible.

Note ICRC's delegation in Berlin

Geneva, September 24, 1942.

We send you enclosed a note on a topic that - we do not hide it - causes us serious concern. As you can imagine, we are beset on all sides of applications for many cases of deportation, these requests relate first and foremost of the Israelites,

46

Note but this also relates to the arrests of national non-Israelites in the occupied countries, such as hostages.

So far, we have sent to the German Red Cross of investigations concerning individual prisoners, it was all we could do. However, during his last visit, a Hartmann told us that the German Red Cross was obliged to refuse any investigation concerning the Jews. Regarding the non-Israelites deported, Mr. Hartmann did not refuse the investigation of a so categorically, and we have received from the German Red Cross a few responses, including a small number - thirty - were positive; However, several responses saying that the German authorities refused to respond to our surveys indicated that the other person was evacuated east. It is difficult to determine exactly the percentage of positive responses, many of the names reported not allowing to determine with certainty whether or not Israel.

However, we believe that this problem is much too serious for the Committee is approached by means of individual investigations. The large number of arrests and deportations, particularly in France, is a humanitarian problem which the International Committee of the Red Cross can not ignore. For the International Committee, these are civilian nationals of belligerent countries in the hands of the enemy. As we set out in the attached Note, we consider not to deprive them of our concern and it is for this purpose that we give you this note by asking you to use as a base for an interview with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, if you deem it appropriate, you will kindly give it to your interviewer. We realize the difficulties and resistance that your process will encounter ...

Finally, we want to tell you that we thought we serve the best possible argument basing this attempt on the principle of reciprocity. Indeed, our delegates in Britain and the United States got to visit detainees in the camps are administered by the police or judicial authorities. Our delegate in Venezuela also visited the German sailors who are, we believe, of "saboteurs". There is obviously no direct reciprocity, but if the German authorities did not give us certain facilities that we demand in the attached note, we may see all the doors close when we ask in the future similar authorizations .

Thank you in advance for what you think you can do in this matter, and the report that you will contact us after your visit to the Wilhelmstrasse.

1 Head of External Relations Department of the German Red Cross.
47

Appendix to the preceding Note (translation)

On several occasions, the authorities of the Reich attracted the attention of the ICRC on the situation of German nationals who, for reasons of national security, have been arrested in countries that are at war with Germany . To follow the wishes expressed in this regard by the German Government, the Committee whenever instructed its delegates to take steps with the states in question and to seek, wherever possible, to obtain improving the situation of these detainees who are not in favor of the status of civilian internees themselves. United States as in Britain, we were allowed to visit those persons arrested and detained by police in the places of their detention. Similar approaches are being considered in some States in Latin America recently entered the war, including Brazil and Venezuela.

The ICRC is particularly anxious to continue its activity in this direction and it is developing in this area in accordance with its traditional policy and the mandates entrusted by the International Conferences of the Red Cross . The Committee is always at the disposal of the Reich Government in case his services and it may seem desirable for such cases.

In this issue, the International Committee draws the desire to assure to the said category of persons, in agreement with the Detaining Power, the facilities provided for them, both by extending civilian internees of the 1929 Convention on treatment of prisoners of war, by the application of sections of the Tokyo Draft, which had received the approval in principle of all delegates of Governments and Red Cross Societies represented at that Conference. Moreover, during the current conflict, the German Government has declared its willingness, subject to reciprocity, to implement the provisions of the said project.

Now before us now, about foreign nationals being arrested by German authorities in the occupied territories, in cases similar to the cases mentioned above, which had been submitted by Germany. The Reich Government certainly understands that our past activity and universal character was only possible in principle through the principle of reciprocity. The fact that we remain identically available to all belligerents, we gained confidence that put us in a position to take care of all the victims of war, without distinction. That's why we allow ourselves to use the Foreign Ministry Reich about foreign nationals who were arrested in the occupied territories and, since then, are interned or deported to Germany without one

48

can, in most cases, knowing their whereabouts or their fate today.

We would, in this connection, submit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the following proposals:

1. - We would appreciate receiving individual information on the current home of the persons arrested, imprisoned or deported abroad, in order to inform their families and, in some cases, larger environments, insecure about their fate.

2. - Can we give these people the ability to send news to their families? Should a normal exchange of correspondence could be allowed, perhaps would it be to study the use of simple paper forms, like the cards captivity whose employment is granted to prisoners of war.

3. - The families of these detainees and National Societies of Red Cross could they have permission to send packages?

4. - ICRC delegates could they receive permission to visit them? This mode would be highly recommendable for reasons we have given above (visits to German nationals interned in enemy countries).

It seems all the more necessary to grant such facilities as the German Red Cross has just let us know she is no longer able to undertake individual investigations on these people - a considerable number of investigations families in different countries are always asking to undertake.

If the ICRC helps to explain his views in this case, it is because he puts his trust in the attitude of understanding and goodwill that the authorities of the Reich have continued to show for it .

In addition to its absolute neutrality imposes the duty to obey in all countries and under all circumstances the same principles and apply everywhere the same facilities in carrying out its task.

(The ICRC delegation in Berlin could not transmit to the Committee, dated December 22, 1942, that a negative response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this note: the department was unable to respond to requests regarding deportees.)

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, 21 November 1942 (abstract)

Following the steps of our delegation in Berlin, the Foreign Ministry said the French who had been

49

mistakenly interned at Mauthausen were transferred back to camps for prisoners of war.

The delegation hopes to achieve the same result for the Spanish Republicans interned at Mauthausen. She informed the Committee that "the Poles interned in concentration camps abound and that despite his best efforts can not intervene in such cases."

Note ICRC Red Cross and the German Foreign Ministry's Reich, December 1942 (abstract)

ICRC delegates were allowed to visit the internment camps for German civilians in Brazil sentenced for crimes against state security. These internees were forced to work without pay, the camp administration provides for their maintenance. Delegates were able to interview witnesses with the internees. They attracted the attention of the Brazilian authorities on the grounds of internees' complaints and improvements that should be made to their treatment.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin on the treatment of arrested officers in civilian clothes in the occupied territories (Belgians, Dutch, Norwegians, Poles, Yugoslavs), December 1942 (abstract)

According to the High Command of the German army, the Norwegian officers arrested preventively January 12, 1942, after the British hand over Trondjem, and interned at the Gestapo prison in Oslo, and then transferred to Schokken, are treated as prisoners of war. They were able to bring their uniforms.

The German High Command knows nothing about the internment of airmen and officers of the Belgian army in Belgium. The 2028 Dutch Stanislau, although qu'arrêtés by police, remain under the protection of the Convention of 1929.

The Yugoslavs are arrested preventively treated as prisoners of war. In contrast, the Poles arrested by the Gestapo are not treated as prisoners of war.

THIRD PHASE

Given the refusal of authorities to allow entry of the Reich Committee delegates in concentration camps, and provide the name lists of deportees, the International Committee of the Red Cross must contrive to circumvent the difficulty.

50

Through perseverance, the intelligence that manages to have in the camps, it provides addresses and interned by the game receipts, is one of the deportees who file allows him to send individual parcels in the camps and collective parcels.

It creates the Service parcels to concentration camps (CCC Service).

Whenever arrests and deportations of civilians are reported to him, he strives to know the names of the civilians and their place of deportation.

The International Committee is concerned about the plight of civilians Belgian, Danish, Yugoslavian, Dutch hostages, teachers deported from the University of Krakow, Polish and Norwegian officers in civilian clothes arrested and detained preventively; French political prisoners, refractory French service work, etc..

Tirelessly, he asked for all those interned and deported providing "minimum guarantees". He tries, unsuccessfully, to send them messages civilians. He harasses the German Red Cross requests for individual investigations. It answers some, stating that it can make the case that Aryans and is itself powerless, the refusal of German authorities to provide information. The invariable answer is: the people arrested were "for security reasons" and are subtracted, thus, out of control, which depend only on the police.

The International Committee also undertakes urgent representations to the authorities on which the Allied blockade measures for their relaxation in favor of inmates in concentration camps.

Relief reach Dachau, Ravensbrück, Oranienburg, Mauthausen. In August and September 1944, the cargo from ship "Cristina" are distributed in the camps.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, 17 June 1943 (summary)

The Committee shall send to the German Red Cross lists of people arrested in the occupied territories and who probably were sent to Germany, he asked the German Red Cross

51

request if possible to send the addresses of these people. This is French, Czechs, Greeks, Russians and Belgians. (This note received no response, see below the note from the German Red Cross on 5 October 1943.)

Call the International Committee of the Red Cross to belligerent Governments, 24 July 1943.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has always had and keep it as a guideline in the presence of horrors, suffering and injustice resulting from the war, to manifest one's moral position and helping his will by acts rather than words .

However, at the outset of hostilities in 1939, then March 12 and May 12, 1940, the International Committee, in calls and messages to the Governments expressed the view that tradition dictates the methods of war. The Committee recalls strongly the content of these documents to all belligerents.

Once again, before the violence of war, the International Committee of the Red Cross wants to adjure the belligerent Powers to respect, even in the face of military considerations, the natural right of man to be treated with justice without arbitrary, and not to be made responsible for acts he did not commit. It also requests the powers not to resort to acts of destruction unjustified or mainly deleterious methods of warfare prohibited by international law.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from July 29, 1943 (summary)

Following his actions, the Berlin delegation was authorized by the Foreign Ministry to visit the camps of hostages in Norway 1. She discussed the matter with the Ministry of receipts for parcels to concentration camps. The delegation continues its efforts to contact the camp of Oranienburg.

Note the International Committee of the Red Cross to the British Consul in Geneva requesting mitigation of the blockade to allow the sending of food parcels to concentration camps and prisons (translation)

Geneva, 24 August 1943.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has consistently endeavored to include as part of its business of prisoners origin

1 This permission was subsequently withdrawn before the visits have been possible.
52

foreign interned in German concentration camps. These prisoners are, mostly, citizens of occupied territories. Since, in the opinion of German authorities, the provisions of the 1929 Convention on prisoners of war does not affect this category of prisoners, we never received, with few exceptions, the authorization to enter concentration camps. Similarly, no list of names we have not been disclosed. According to reliable reports, however, these detainees have an urgent need for additional food. We believe therefore our duty to bring this need to the scrutiny of Governments and National Societies of Red Cross involved, so we can send these prisoners' civil standard of food parcels, similar to those received prisoners of war and persons treated as civilian internees.

The competent authorities in Germany have already granted to prisoners in concentration camps permitted to receive individual parcels, provided they are not detained for serious reasons and that their name and address in the camps are already known .

We were able to procure about 150 names and addresses, most Norwegians 1, but also Poles, Dutch, etc.. One can expect that others will reach us names and addresses as soon as the plan to make regular shipments of food parcels come into execution.
Avatar użytkownika
Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
Posty: 13751
Dołączył(a): Wt lis 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Pn lip 02, 2012 10:17 am

Thank you in advance for what you think you can do in this matter, and the report that you will contact us after your visit to the Wilhelmstrasse.

1 Head of External Relations Department of the German Red Cross.
47

Appendix to the preceding Note (translation)

On several occasions, the authorities of the Reich attracted the attention of the ICRC on the situation of German nationals who, for reasons of national security, have been arrested in countries that are at war with Germany . To follow the wishes expressed in this regard by the German Government, the Committee whenever instructed its delegates to take steps with the states in question and to seek, wherever possible, to obtain improving the situation of these detainees who are not in favor of the status of civilian internees themselves. United States as in Britain, we were allowed to visit those persons arrested and detained by police in the places of their detention. Similar approaches are being considered in some States in Latin America recently entered the war, including Brazil and Venezuela.

The ICRC is particularly anxious to continue its activity in this direction and it is developing in this area in accordance with its traditional policy and the mandates entrusted by the International Conferences of the Red Cross . The Committee is always at the disposal of the Reich Government in case his services and it may seem desirable for such cases.

In this issue, the International Committee draws the desire to assure to the said category of persons, in agreement with the Detaining Power, the facilities provided for them, both by extending civilian internees of the 1929 Convention on treatment of prisoners of war, by the application of sections of the Tokyo Draft, which had received the approval in principle of all delegates of Governments and Red Cross Societies represented at that Conference. Moreover, during the current conflict, the German Government has declared its willingness, subject to reciprocity, to implement the provisions of the said project.

Now before us now, about foreign nationals being arrested by German authorities in the occupied territories, in cases similar to the cases mentioned above, which had been submitted by Germany. The Reich Government certainly understands that our past activity and universal character was only possible in principle through the principle of reciprocity. The fact that we remain identically available to all belligerents, we gained confidence that put us in a position to take care of all the victims of war, without distinction. That's why we allow ourselves to use the Foreign Ministry Reich about foreign nationals who were arrested in the occupied territories and, since then, are interned or deported to Germany without one

48

can, in most cases, knowing their whereabouts or their fate today.

We would, in this connection, submit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the following proposals:

1. - We would appreciate receiving individual information on the current home of the persons arrested, imprisoned or deported abroad, in order to inform their families and, in some cases, larger environments, insecure about their fate.

2. - Can we give these people the ability to send news to their families? Should a normal exchange of correspondence could be allowed, perhaps would it be to study the use of simple paper forms, like the cards captivity whose employment is granted to prisoners of war.

3. - The families of these detainees and National Societies of Red Cross could they have permission to send packages?

4. - ICRC delegates could they receive permission to visit them? This mode would be highly recommendable for reasons we have given above (visits to German nationals interned in enemy countries).

It seems all the more necessary to grant such facilities as the German Red Cross has just let us know she is no longer able to undertake individual investigations on these people - a considerable number of investigations families in different countries are always asking to undertake.

If the ICRC helps to explain his views in this case, it is because he puts his trust in the attitude of understanding and goodwill that the authorities of the Reich have continued to show for it .

In addition to its absolute neutrality imposes the duty to obey in all countries and under all circumstances the same principles and apply everywhere the same facilities in carrying out its task.

(The ICRC delegation in Berlin could not transmit to the Committee, dated December 22, 1942, that a negative response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this note: the department was unable to respond to requests regarding deportees.)

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from November 21, 1942 (summary)

Following the steps of our delegation in Berlin, the Foreign Ministry said the French who had been

49

mistakenly interned at Mauthausen were transferred back to camps for prisoners of war.

The delegation hopes to achieve the same result for the Spanish Republicans interned at Mauthausen. She informed the Committee that "the Poles interned in concentration camps abound and that despite his best efforts can not intervene in such cases."

Note ICRC Red Cross and the German Foreign Ministry's Reich, December 1942 (abstract)

ICRC delegates were allowed to visit the internment camps for German civilians in Brazil sentenced for crimes against state security. These internees were forced to work without pay, the camp administration provides for their maintenance. Delegates were able to interview witnesses with the internees. They attracted the attention of the Brazilian authorities on the grounds of internees' complaints and improvements that should be made to their treatment.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin on the treatment of arrested officers in civilian clothes in the occupied territories (Belgians, Dutch, Norwegians, Poles, Yugoslavs), December 1942 (abstract)

According to the High Command of the German army, the Norwegian officers arrested preventively January 12, 1942, after the British hand over Trondjem, and interned at the Gestapo prison in Oslo, and then transferred to Schokken, are treated as prisoners of war. They were able to bring their uniforms.

The German High Command knows nothing about the internment of airmen and officers of the Belgian army in Belgium. The 2028 Dutch Stanislau, although qu'arrêtés by police, remain under the protection of the Convention of 1929.

The Yugoslavs are arrested preventively treated as prisoners of war. In contrast, the Poles arrested by the Gestapo are not treated as prisoners of war.

THIRD PHASE

Given the refusal of authorities to allow entry of the Reich Committee delegates in concentration camps, and provide the name lists of deportees, the International Committee of the Red Cross must contrive to circumvent the difficulty.

50

Through perseverance, the intelligence that manages to have in the camps, it provides addresses and interned by the game receipts, is one of the deportees who file allows him to send individual parcels in the camps and collective parcels.

It creates the Service parcels to concentration camps (CCC Service).

Whenever arrests and deportations of civilians are reported to him, he strives to know the names of the civilians and their place of deportation.

The International Committee is concerned about the plight of civilians Belgian, Danish, Yugoslavian, Dutch hostages, teachers deported from the University of Krakow, Polish and Norwegian officers in civilian clothes arrested and detained preventively; French political prisoners, refractory French service work, etc..

Tirelessly, he asked for all those interned and deported providing "minimum guarantees". He tries, unsuccessfully, to send them messages civilians. He harasses the German Red Cross requests for individual investigations. It answers some, stating that it can make the case that Aryans and is itself powerless, the refusal of German authorities to provide information. The invariable answer is: the people arrested were "for security reasons" and are subtracted, thus, out of control, which depend only on the police.

The International Committee also undertakes urgent representations to the authorities on which the Allied blockade measures for their relaxation in favor of inmates in concentration camps.

Relief reach Dachau, Ravensbrück, Oranienburg, Mauthausen. In August and September 1944, the cargo from ship "Cristina" are distributed in the camps.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, the June 17, 1943 (summary)

The Committee shall send to the German Red Cross lists of people arrested in the occupied territories and who probably were sent to Germany, he asked the German Red Cross

51

request if possible to send the addresses of these people. This is French, Czechs, Greeks, Russians and Belgians. (This note received no response, see below the note from the German Red Cross on 5 October 1943.)

Call the International Committee of the Red Cross to belligerent Governments, 24 July 1943.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has always had and keep it as a guideline in the presence of horrors, suffering and injustice resulting from the war, to manifest one's moral position and helping his will by acts rather than words .

However, at the outset of hostilities in 1939, then March 12 and May 12, 1940, the International Committee, in calls and messages to the Governments expressed the view that tradition dictates the methods of war. The Committee recalls strongly the content of these documents to all belligerents.

Once again, before the violence of war, the International Committee of the Red Cross wants to adjure the belligerent Powers to respect, even in the face of military considerations, the natural right of man to be treated with justice without arbitrary, and not to be made responsible for acts he did not commit. It also requests the powers not to resort to acts of destruction unjustified or mainly deleterious methods of warfare prohibited by international law.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from July 29, 1943 (summary)

Following his actions, the Berlin delegation was authorized by the Foreign Ministry to visit the camps of hostages in Norway 1 . She discussed the matter with the Ministry of receipts for parcels to concentration camps. The delegation continues its efforts to contact the camp of Oranienburg.

Note the International Committee of the Red Cross to the British Consul in Geneva requesting mitigation of the blockade to allow the sending of food parcels to concentration camps and prisons (translation)

Geneva, 24 August 1943.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has consistently endeavored to include as part of its business of prisoners origin

1 This permission was subsequently withdrawn before the visits have been possible.
52

foreign interned in German concentration camps. These prisoners are, mostly, citizens of occupied territories. Since, in the opinion of German authorities, the provisions of the 1929 Convention on prisoners of war does not affect this category of prisoners, we never received, with few exceptions, the authorization to enter concentration camps. Similarly, no list of names we have not been disclosed. According to reliable reports, however, these detainees have an urgent need for additional food. We believe therefore our duty to bring this need to the scrutiny of Governments and National Societies of Red Cross involved, so we can send these prisoners' civil standard of food parcels, similar to those received prisoners of war and persons treated as civilian internees.

The competent authorities in Germany have already granted to prisoners in concentration camps permitted to receive individual parcels, provided they are not detained for serious reasons and that their name and address in the camps are already known .

We were able to procure about 150 names and addresses, most Norwegians 1 , but also Poles, Dutch, etc.. One can expect that others will reach us names and addresses as soon as the plan to make regular shipments of food parcels come into execution.

However, the regulations enacted by the Anglo-American economic warfare does not permit the parcel-standard American Red Cross and the United Kingdom to persons other than prisoners of war and civilian internees recognized as such. Similar items are subject to the condition that the designated camps are regularly visited by delegates of the International Committee and lists of names are provided. This control mode is unfortunately impossible with respect to concentration camps, we wanted to make sure if another kind of control might be acceptable, that is to say whether it would be possible to get a package for each release signed personally by the recipient, which would serve as proof of receipt. As a test, we sent 50 packages of Swiss origin, each containing a release, these parcels were addressed personally to 50 detainees whose names we had, in different

1 It should be noted that already in April 1943, the representative of the Norwegian Red Cross in Geneva gave the ICRC a list of 250 Norwegian prisoners which, at that time, the packages were sent from Sweden on behalf of the Norwegian Government and through the Swedish Red Cross.
53

ent concentration camps and prisons in Germany. The result has exceeded our expectations. Within six weeks, over two thirds of the receipts, duly signed by the recipient, we have returned. This result is particularly striking that, given the constant changes in the camps, it was expected that a certain percentage of beneficiaries can be achieved.

Unfortunately, we do not have other packages which we can share with these civilian prisoners and we see no hope of obtaining other permits to export food in Switzerland. The International Committee therefore allows to express the hope that the leaders of the economic war please consider (as an exception) of the particularly difficult situation of these prisoners from the occupied territories who are detained in concentration camps, that they examine the possibility of deferring the requirements for visits to the camps and supply lists for control purposes and accept as sufficient control individual receipts.

The first step would be to send prisoners whose names are currently known (and whose number does not exceed 200) monthly food parcels that would be available to us by countries overseas. Should additional names we would be disclosed, we at annoncerions As the number of parcels would be increased proportionately. For now we are evaluating a few hundred at most the total number of beneficiaries.

The International Committee would be extremely happy to know the opinion of the competent authorities about the project he has just outlined.

Personal letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the British Red Cross, on the same subject as the previous one (translation)

Geneva, 26 August 1943.

Allow me to refer to your kind communication of 14 July and in particular its second paragraph concerning our efforts to provide relief to citizens of occupied territories, which are held in concentration camps and prisoners of war in Germany.

I would first like to express my sincere thanks for the interest that the British Red Cross has expressed with regard to our attempts to alleviate the plight of the classes of internees who are not benefiting our relief work. As you know, our efforts have not always been successful and we were recently reported from London intelligence data rather negative. However, we believe our

54

duty to do everything in our power to achieve our project, and we just recently sent a request to the Governments concerned to relax in favor of nationals of the occupied territories who are interned in Germany for the blockade regulations.

We give you herewith a copy of the note that we have available on this issue at the British Consulate in Geneva, to be transmitted to the competent authorities. 1 There is a very clear presentation of the situation and I would be extremely grateful use your influence over the decision to be taken.

The International Committee takes this matter extremely to heart, for he has learned from various quarters that the situation in the concentration camps is very alarming and that the mortality rate is very high. We received from different walks of urgent emergency calls and we believe we must attempt the impossible in seeking such relief overseas. Of course we are aware that the conditions in these camps differ from those prevailing in the camps of POWs and civilian internees and the possibilities of control of us are limited. But our efforts with the Ministry of Economic Warfare seem justified, because we believe that the receipts are received sufficient evidence that the packages were delivered to recipients.

Moreover, the relatively small number of packages entering into play - a few hundred a month - should allow our project to get approval, even taking into account the requirements of economic warfare in general.

We would be happy if you thought possible to bring this problem to the attention of the Authorities or Companies of the Red Cross of allied countries, including several (Norway, Holland, Czechoslovakia) have sent us, through their representatives Switzerland, the frequent prayer to rescue their compatriots who are in concentration camps.

Conference held on 16 September 1943, at ICRC headquarters, with a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich, about the hostages

The ICRC notes that the hostages, who are not prisoners of war or civilian internees, were unable to benefit from its protection so far. All his efforts to obtain permission to visit the concentration camps have failed.

1 See page 52.
55

The representative of the Foreign Ministry's Reich do not think that permission can be granted.

The ICRC noted that the ability to intervene in favor of these prisoners would provide mutual benefits to the state that would give these facilities.

In Brazil, the German internees are regarded as dangerous for state security, but the ICRC delegates, however, can visit them.

Note from the German Red Cross, the October 5, 1943 (summary)

The ICRC, which has still not received a response from the German Red Cross about the lists of deportees addressed to it, is informed by the Head of External Relations Department of the German Red Cross that the can make inquiries on individual cases submitted to it.

Note ICRC Red Cross in Belgrade, the October 6, 1943 (summary)

The ICRC calls on Red Cross in Belgrade to send him lists of deportees Yugoslav, that would be obtained through the families, to try to send them relief.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from November 12, 1943 (summary)

ICRC delegates have contacted the Camp Commandant of Oranienburg. They were able to visit the camp. The sending of relief parcels and clothing is allowed.

Letter from the President of the ICRC to the President of the Central Committee of the Polish Red Cross in London, one of st December 1943 (abstract)

The ICRC has received from the prisoners' Polish Oflag VII A list of about 500 Polish nationals who are in prisons and concentration camps and who seem to be relatives of the officers of the Oflag.

This list will allow the ICRC to step up its relief efforts.

Note of the ICRC delegation in London from December 16, 1943 (summary)

The Committee delegation to London expressed the negative response from the Foreign Office to demand the release of the blockade ICRC for detainees of concentration camps.

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President of the ICRC's response to a request for information from the Assistant Commercial Attache of the Embassy of France in Bern, about the young French people who refuse to work in Germany and are arrested and deported, of 30 December 1943 ( summary)

The ICRC has made every effort to assist persons in this category. Based on the fact that these persons were not arrested because of their nationality, the German authorities do not give them the salary under the 1929 Convention applied by analogy to civilian internees, and were not allowed ICRC delegates to visit the camps where they are detained. The Central Agency for Prisoners of War was unable to obtain a list of their names.

However, it is possible in principle to undertake individual investigations, provided you know the exact names of interested and all the details to facilitate the investigation. It should also clarify the origin of Aryan or not Aryan, no investigation of the Israelites can not lead.

Note the U.S. State Department sent to the ICRC delegation in Geneva by the American Red Cross, the January 24, 1944 (summary)

The American Red Cross the ICRC communicates a note by the State Department, which fixes the position of the Federal Government against German civilian internees held in the United States, to facilitate the efforts of the ICRC in favor of French deportees in Germany "The policy of the Government of the United States is to treat the German civilian internees held in accordance with the 1929 Convention, insofar as it applies to civilians. The German Government was informed of this policy on many occasions. "

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from January 25, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC delegation gives news of French officials deported to Germany: General Gamelin, the presidents Reynaud and Lebrun are in the region of Innsbruck.

Note ICRC Red Cross Belgium, January 25, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC informed the Red Cross of Belgium he strives, through its delegation in Berlin, to know the number

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Approximate Belgians who may be in the four major concentration camps of Oranienburg, Buchenwald, Dachau, Ravensbrück (the latter for women), so you can intensify its parcel.

ICRC letter to various French officials, the February 29, 1944 (summary)

In the course of 1943, the International Committee of the Red Cross was able to create a service for individual parcels to concentration camps and shipped a number of food parcels to prisoners of administration in Germany and occupied countries. Acknowledgments that came back proved that these packages have largely achieved their intended recipients.

As the International Committee of the Red Cross does not have funds for the costs of purchase and transportation of these parcels, he must claim the value-cons to persons or organizations who request the mailing.

However, if the Committee could get far enough funds to send packages to administrative detainees of various nationalities, he was however very difficult to find money to help the French administrative detainees, and he would be sorry to refuse sometimes to make shipments because applicants are not able to pay for it. That is all the more regrettable that the return of the receipt of a package is often the only sign of life that a detainee be able to give.

Note from the ICRC to the French Committee of National Liberation in Algiers from March 6, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC has relatively few names of French prisoners in concentration camps. Householders are forbidden, it sends individual parcels to persons whose addresses are known. It could reinforce the efforts, but the authorities do not admit of the blockade, in favor of the deportees, or remittances, or sending parcels overseas, because this category of victims of war shall not be deemed to prisoners of war.

Note from the ICRC at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich, of 10 March 1944 (abstract)

The ICRC seeks information from the German Government the fate of a hundred French officers who were recently arrested by the occupation authorities and then deported, and that he would like to send help.

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Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from March 12, 1944 (summary)

The Berlin delegation asked the ICRC to send assistance to five hundred Norwegians are to Sachsenhausen. They should be promptly rescued in food and medicine (cibazol and vitamins). The delegation gave three new names of inmates at Buchenwald for Norwegians that they will receive relief.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from April 30, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC delegation in Berlin sends a list of prominent Lithuanian including thirty-nine are detained in Dachau and eighteen to Struthof.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from May 12, 1944 (summary)

The delegation provides information on new camps Norwegians deported to Germany: Natzweiler and Sachsenhausen camps, five hundred Norwegians there. The Sachsenhausen camp was made better, but interned in it should be quickly rescued by shipments of food and medicine (cibazol and vitamins). Norwegians previously Marlag Milag were transferred to North Sonnenberg "camp top secret that we know nothing."

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from May 30, 1944 (summary)

The head of the ICRC delegation in Berlin visited the commander of the concentration camp and reported to the Service Struthof CCC presence in the camp of a thousand Poles, Norwegians, two hundred and sixty, one hundred and fifty to five Danes, Czechs thirty, three French and fifty-five Belgians. Norwegians and Danes are in a separate camp, the "Germanenlager". They are handled well and receiving packages of Denmark and Sweden. They need underwear for the winter, and food can be cooked at the camp. Every nationality is represented by a man of confidence.

Note ICRC's delegation in Washington on assistance to Israel, June 30 1944 (summary)

To provide effective assistance to the Israelites of the country under control of the Axis, it would be valuable to know what the "War Refugee Board" intends to do on the basis of the information and documents that the ICRC has been forwarded.

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The ICRC is always willing, as he has said many times, to do everything possible to help the deportees and internees of concentration camps, however this should be conducted as rapidly as possible, the best opportunities of the moment, if we do not want to miss opportunities for intervention that may no longer occur.

The ICRC has already stressed the need to receive shipments of food from overseas countries in order to undertake a relief operation in general the concentration camps. Indeed, its supply options in Switzerland or in other neutral countries of Europe are too small to allow it to send a monthly food parcels to help each person to whom it knows the address. Since then, the number of unfortunate that it could, in principle, help is greatly increased, while the possibility of supply in Europe have, however, significantly reduced. But the American authorities concerned have not yet made known their attitude to the ICRC in this regard and did not indicate whether they would consider making an exception to the rules of the blockade to allow the sending of supplies essential to the development of action relief for civilian detainees. The ICRC would like to know the decision of Emergency "War Refugee Board."

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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

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Personal letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Regent Horthy (translation)

Geneva, 5 July 1944.

I have the honor to address Your Highness on behalf of an institution to which I belong for almost twenty years, and in my own name.

From all parts of the world now manage the International Committee of the Red Cross issues, information and protests relating to austerity measures to be taken now against Jews of Hungarian nationality. The Committee is not able to respond to this correspondence, because it has no information that would be able to control. What has been brought to our attention we seem so at odds with the chivalric traditions of the great Hungarian people that seems almost impossible to believe even the smallest part of the information we receive.

On behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross, I want to send Your Highness please give instructions so that we are enabled to respond to these rumors and accusations. We would at the same time, on behalf of principles that the International Committee and has always upheld the great tradition of humanitarian

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silence of Hungary, adjure the Royal Hungarian Government to take all possible steps to prevent that from happening the slightest opportunity that can give rise to such monstrous rumors.

Horthy's personal response to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (translation)

Budapest, August 12, 1944.

I had the honor to receive your letter and I thank you. I gave the necessary instructions for the Presidency of the International Committee of the Red Cross receives truthful information on the situation of Jews in our country and the specific facts concerning the Jewish question in Hungary. According to information from the Royal Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Charge d'Affairs of Hungary in Bern gave Mr. Burckhardt, Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, information about the real situation. 1

Convinced, Mr. President, you had knowledge of such information, I will only emphasize that I am particularly aware of the importance of this problem. Unfortunately, it is not in my power to prevent inhumane acts, no one condemns more severely than my people whose thoughts and feelings are chivalrous. I loaded the Hungarian Government to take himself in hand the settlement of the Jewish question in Budapest. Hopefully this statement will not give rise to serious complications. 2

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, one of st September 1944 (abstract)

The delegation of the ICRC Berlin address, for sending individual relief, two lists of Danish prisons and deported to Oranienburg.

1 As of July 18, Charge d'Affairs of Hungary gave certain assurances about the plight of Jews in Hungary. He said that including the deportations of Jews in Germany had been suspended and that the Hungarian Government allowed the ICRC to distribute aid to all the Israelites found in the ghettos and camps. 2 The ICRC can not report here the activity he displayed back in favor of Jews, especially in Hungary and Romania. It reserves to do so possibly in a special publication.
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Note of the ICRC delegation in Belgrade, September 3, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC delegate in Belgrade gives the Committee the following statement about the Yugoslav political deportees: "All we can do is to investigate individual, but we rarely receive answers. "

ICRC letter to the World Jewish Congress about sending aid to Theresienstadt, the September 5, 1944 (summary)

ICRC thanks the World Jewish Congress for having forwarded a letter received from Theresienstadt, which confirms the receipt of 52 boxes of medicines and tonics shipped in time for the care of the Joint Relief Commission of the International Red Cross.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, the September 6, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC calls on the German Red Cross address two hundred deported from Vichy (including the Archbishop of Clermont-Ferrand) for sending help.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, the September 6, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC complained to the German Red Cross to inadequate responses to its inquiries about the deported French civilians. The answers are always elusive "... the hands of the police ... incarcerated, "and nothing more.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, the September 8, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC intends to organize a system for correspondence with their families and deported to remedy the interruption of postal relations between Germany and France.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Cardinal Suhard, Archbishop of Paris

Geneva, September 20, 1944.

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the letter which your Eminence has been kind enough to write me dated September 14 and that Mr. Abbot Rodhain me has himself given.

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Very alarming situation of political prisoners French in Germany, as portrayed in the moving message of your eminence, is the object of our vivid, consistent concerns.

As Your Eminence She herself says in his letter, the Red Cross does not, it would like, for this category of victims of war yet so worthy of interest, the same means of action Humanitarian towards other captives, such as prisoners of war and civilian internees themselves.

However, Your Eminence may be assured that the International Committee of the Red Cross fully share his concern and his concern and he will neglect nothing of what is in his power to try to alleviate the plight of these detainees. The Committee shall strive and endeavor to assist them with the seriousness and urgency that requires their distress.

I assume that Mr. Abbot Rodhain you will report in this regard, the interviews we had the privilege of having with him.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the President of the French Red Cross

Geneva, September 21, 1944.

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the letter you sent me, dated September 7, 1944, and which was given to me by the Comte de Grammont, we are pleased to have now the visit to Geneva.

As your delegate will have to realize, during the various interviews we had with him during his stay, the situation of your fellow political prisoners in Germany, is a particularly painful problems that hold our constant long attention.

As you probably know, the International Committee of the Red Cross has been able, after persistent lobbying by the German authorities, provide, within existing resources at his disposal, material relief to many inmates whose place of internment in Germany was known to him. This work, begun a few months ago already, in the midst of serious difficulties, will be pursued by us and, hopefully, extended as far as possible. Already, I assure you that the International Committee will increase its efforts in this direction.

The sad state here that for the very status of French civilian prisoners in Germany, and whose authorities and the French Red Cross wish that protection was now assured by the International Committee of the Red Cross,

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means of action of this moment is very limited. This is also in anticipation of such a situation the International Committee at the beginning of the war, in 1939, proposed to the several belligerents adoption and immediate implementation of the Draft Convention (known as Tokyo) for the protection of civilians in enemy territory or enemy-occupied . But this suggestion has been no response from most of the Governments concerned.

Although deprived of the support that would have given him the support of said Governments, the International Committee of the Red Cross has nonetheless tried, early in the conflict, to get to all civilians in enemy territory or occupied by the enemy, prisoners in any capacity whatsoever, a plan that satisfies certain humanitarian principles. In addition, and as I said earlier, the International Committee will repeat, in this sense, his actions, and do so urgently.

Eager as he is to bring together every chance of success, the International Committee of the Red Cross felt bound to draw your attention to the following:

Experience shows that in such negotiations, the element of reciprocity is an important factor. It is therefore possible that the opposing party, when it considers the proposal that we will send him in favor of French political prisoners, asked whether, in part, against the French Government accept that the International Committee is in the same direction in favor of German nationals that the French military or civilian authorities have considered or would consider having interned in France itself, or during the occupation of German territories. If I have indicated the possibility of such a request is to have this issue now, from the authorities and the French Red Cross, the subject of urgent consideration that we appears to have merit. It would be helpful if the various Allied authorities, for their part, are also considering this issue in a similar manner and, if possible, by mutual agreement.

If I allowed myself in this letter to indicate the difficulties that the International Committee of the Red Cross has encountered, it is, you will certainly understand, so that all possible courses of action are joined in the hope of reach the goal that will stretch all our efforts.

Note ICRC's delegation in Berlin from September 13, 1944 (summary)

For some time, the Service does not receive CCC-labels receipts for parcels addressed individually to the Sachsenhausen camp, while other camps continue to send them back. Is it possible that this check to the return receipts means that recipients have not received their parcels, or the

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they have received and have not they been able, for reasons of censorship or post, to return the receipts? On the other hand, it is possible that some shipments have not reached the camp as a result of bombing, for example. So that the delegation can monitor shipments, the Committee notes attached to this list of consignments destined for the camp since 1 st July 1944. The delegation is requested to inform the Committee under the impression it has collected, if possible personally, in this camp, it can continue its shipments; indeed, he is preparing new shipments to the camp for month yet. The survey requested is therefore a very urgent nature.

Note ICRC's delegation in Berlin from September 15, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC is pleased to announce that the letters sent to Dachau, thanks to the goods of steam "Cristina", gave unexpected results. Parcels sent collectively to the prisoners, and who left Geneva on 23 August, was received on September 3 at Dachau and receipts stamped by mail on September 7, reached in Geneva on September 11. In addition the performance of these householders is excellent as each receipt is signed by several people (four to five people). The Committee thanked the delegation for its efforts during his visit to the Dachau camp commander and that certainly contributed much to the good result.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Brussels from September 16, 1944 (summary)

The delegation in Brussels provides information on the ICRC Belgian deportees in Germany: in Germany there are about 8,000 political prisoners in Belgium, the ICRC's efforts have identified 1,600 deportees who each receive a few months two parcels a month.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Reich (translation)

Geneva, October 2, 1944.

Let me give you a note attached to preventively detained (Schutzhäftlinge) and recommend to your kind attention.

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If the International Committee of the Red Cross still insists on this issue, asking to be able to rescue this category of civilians, the first reason is that some of these people - the French example - are at the moment, totally separated from their families and can no longer receive packages from home relief. In addition, these civilians are no longer, as before, to give any sign of their lives. The International Committee of the Red Cross is therefore now the only institution that is able to offer these foreign prisoners a moral and material support, although very low when compared to the one he is able to bring prisoners of war and civilian internees.

To illustrate the fact that the International Committee of the Red Cross is everywhere and always concerned about the plight of political prisoners, whenever he had the opportunity, we can cite the example of Brazil, where the Committee was able to intervene from the beginning of hostilities between this country and Germany on a regular basis and help many German nationals arrested for political reasons and detained in prisons. In Britain too, the International Committee of the Red Cross could visit a camp for German prisoners who were not benefiting from the provisions of the 1929 Convention on prisoners of war.

The International Committee of the Red Cross provides, therefore, Mr. Minister, to express the hope that you will recommend the adoption of our proposal on relief to persons who are detained in concentration camps or prisons, for preventive reasons or police, and that you will give us your decision in this regard in the near future.

Note to the previous letter (translation)

Geneva, October 2, 1944.

The lack of effective protection, based on international law, civilians who are in a war on the territory of an enemy state, led to the development, in the interval between two world wars, said the project Tokio, which marks a substantial advance in the treatment of enemy aliens in this category. Unfortunately, this draft Convention, which was admitted by the Government of the Reich, at the beginning of the war, as a basis for discussion at the conclusion of an agreement, could not be enforced. However, the belligerent Powers agreed, early in the current conflict, to grant to enemy aliens in their territories a treatment similar to that accorded to prisoners of war under the

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1929 Convention, which however does not give all the benefits of civilians by the Tokyo Draft.

This treatment, based on the Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, was not granted so-called political prisoners. Under the name of "political prisoners" should be understood that the internment of civilians does not depend solely because they are nationals of an enemy state. Nevertheless, the International Committee of the Red Cross has continued to intervene with all belligerents in favor of this particular category of civilian internees, so they are treated the same way as civilian internees above mentioned.

Whatever the reasons for the detention and transfer of such persons from the occupied territories to the territory of the Detaining Power, should be considered as urgent the following minimum guarantees on the safety and treatment of political prisoners, irrespective of nationality or place of internment:

a ) notification of the names of detainees, their whereabouts, their health, transmission of messages between detainees and their parents;

b ) possibility of receiving relief in the form of food, clothing, medicines and books;

c ) authorization to receive visits from a neutral institution, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose delegates would have the task to learn about the living conditions of prisoners in relation to housing, food, hygiene and treatment.

In current circumstances, all civilians detained and separated from their homeland - and the number is growing - hold the attention of the International Committee of the Red Cross. For this reason, the Committee believes need to try every way to be able to provide an activity similar to that exercised in the belligerent countries on behalf of prisoners of war and civilian internees. The International Committee of the Red Cross therefore requests the competent authorities of the Reich consenting, at the earliest and at the very least, that:

1) the delegates of the International Red Cross be allowed to visit concentration camps and other detention facilities in Germany and the occupied territories where political prisoners from non-German nationality;

2) the International Committee of the Red Cross be authorized to distribute these prisoners food, clothing, and medicines, according to the needs identified by its delegates;

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3) lists are established, showing the names and addresses of political prisoners mentioned above, and that these lists are forwarded to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is a reminder that these proposals, if urgent they are, represent only a small part of the concessions granted to civilians interned in the belligerent countries. That is why he is confident that authorities will approve the Reich and requests these authorities to kindly let him know as soon as possible their views on that.

Checklist for the steps taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of detainees foreign political, and sent to the Consuls of Great Britain and the United States in Geneva

Geneva, October 16, 1944.

In September 1944, the French Red Cross and the Red Cross of Belgium were sent to the International Committee of the Red Cross, through a special delegation from Geneva, and more urgent appeal on behalf of the deportees and French and Belgian political prisoners located in Germany.

In response to this call and in response to the many steps he had already undertaken, the International Committee of the Red Cross spoke again to the German authorities in the following sense:

From the beginning of the war, the International Committee of the Red Cross has been concerned with the protection of civilians in enemy territory and offered to all belligerents adoption and immediate implementation of the project - said Tokio - Convention for the protection of civilians in enemy territory or enemy-occupied. This International Committee of the Red Cross has unfortunately been unsuccessful, most of the belligerents did not respond to this proposal 1 . The International Committee of the Red Cross has nevertheless continued its efforts to assist inmates in Germany prisons and concentration camps, including by sending them all in relief camps where the parcel was possible.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has asked the German authorities to allow at least:

1 The International Committee of the Red Cross points out here that with regard to civilian internees themselves, he was able to obtain later, for most of the belligerents that they agree to grant such internees treatment similar to that provided for prisoners of war, the Geneva Convention of 1929.
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1) the establishment and delivery to the International Committee of the Red Cross name lists (with indication of the address) of persons detained in prisons and concentration camps;

2) the sending of relief material and intellectual to those persons;

3) visit the concentration camps and other detention facilities, the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In its response to the Red Cross of Belgium and France, the International Committee of the Red Cross, while assuring them that he was continuing his efforts to achieve improvement in the lives of French and Belgian civilians deported or held in Germany, noted the need, recognized by these two companies themselves, to treat the problem as a whole and to act in favor of all civilian nationals of allied nations. He also noted that to ensure, as far as possible, a favorable response to the request he has presented to the German authorities, should tell them that it can spontaneously or in response to a request of their likely hand, the Belgian and French authorities and possibly other Allied authorities would be willing, at least in principle, to grant reciprocity.

The International Committee of the Red Cross meant by this that if the various Allied Governments, including the U.S. and British authorities, have in their power would capture or later German nationals under political detainees, regardless of the procedure possibly open court against some of them, these authorities would be willing to give them a treatment similar to that which the International Committee is currently asking authorities of the Reich, namely:

1) preparation and submission to the International Committee of the Red Cross lists of names of those detained;

2) permission to receive relief material and intellectual;

3) visit by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross places of internment in which these people would eventually be deported.

If the U.S. and British authorities considered possible to enter this path, for what concerns them, and more, to represent other Allied authorities the desirability for them to follow this suggestion of the Committee International Red Cross, he thinks that the measures it has already made and then renew it in Germany have a better chance of success.

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Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from October 17, 1944 (summary)

Taking advantage of a trip to Ravensbrück, delegates of the Committee asked to be received by the adjutant of the concentration camp. They discussed with him the question of sending potential drug for women doctors of different nationalities.

This shipment is permitted provided that it is a single householder, not packets addressed to each inmate in particular, by sending one nationality will be accepted and a receipt will return to Geneva.

ICRC letter to the Commandant of Auschwitz (Oswiecim, Upper Silesia), of 17 October 1944 (abstract)

The ICRC announced the sending of packages to the prisoners and French and Belgian request that any facility be given to them for distribution among their compatriots.

He would be obliged to indicate the Commander the approximate number of each nationality interned in the camp, which would allow the Committee to intensify its parcel.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Minister of Prisoners, Deportees and Refugees in Paris

Geneva, October 23, 1944.

... The International Committee of the Red Cross was very pleased that the Provisional Government of the French Republic had kindly responded affirmatively to the suggestion of the International Committee concerning reciprocity of treatment that this government was prepared to give the German civilians already arrested in France or those who happen to be arrested later in France and Germany. This reciprocity needs to include the following:

a ) delivered to the International Committee of the Red Cross a list of names of prisoners German civilians;

b ) permission to visit by delegates of the International Committee places of residence or detention;

c ) authorization to proceed with the immediate repatriation of women, men and older patients.

The first three have already been submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the German authorities, asking them to give a favorable response.

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In addition, the International Committee deems it appropriate that civilian detainees in question were informed of the charges that led to their arrest.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is used to indicate here that think better to use now to describe these people - except for civilian internees as recognized by the Detaining Power - the name "German prisoners the hands of the French authorities "rather than" political prisoners "or" political prisoners ", that might be understood by the German authorities in a narrower sense than they give themselves to civilians designated by them as name Schutzhäftlinge .

As for the immediate repatriation of women, men and older patients, the International Committee of the Red Cross has so far reserved this point for further negotiations and it is sure to submit it for approval by the German authorities as soon as he sees fit, and the question of correspondence in and out of these detainees. He will probably be more useful today, being informed of the positive provisions of the Provisional Government of the French Republic concerning these points.

CCC Service report on the distribution of goods the steamer "Cristina" (August and September 1944) 1

Geneva, October 30, 1944.

Courtesy of the American Red Cross, the ICRC's Relief Division has made available Service CCC, dated August 20, 1944, goods from the former steam "Cristina". There were two lots:

1) 50,775 kg. various raw foodstuffs;

2) 12,000 kg. Gross canned mixed.

The Joint Relief Commission, working on behalf of CCC Service, has crafted and shipped in two weeks a number of packages of a net weight of 54,756 kg. (25,600 packages of 2 kg. 150).

Shipments were made between August 24 and September 9, a pace of 1,700 parcels a day.

1 This is a report of an internal nature and limited, taken among the like. However, given its interest, it has been reproduced as an example.
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These shipments "Cristina" were sent by postal cars to concentration camps. For each camp, as well as civilian prisoners of each nationality, shipping included:

a ) packages individually addressed

b ) packages addressed to the prisoners of each nationality.

The camp commanders were informed of the quantities of packages shipped and every man of trust has received a letter and excerpts of the expert report of the Geneva Cantonal Laboratory on food quality, shelf life and maximum measures to take to avoid possible poisoning.

The distribution of parcels by nationality was as follows:

Addressed
individually Men of
confidence Total
Belgian 2404 1900 4304
Spanish - 300 300
French 5386 3200 8586
Greek 109 300 409
Dutch 966 1900 2866
Polish 1320 2900 4220
Norwegian 3115 500 3615
Czechs - 800 800
Yugoslav - 400 400
Italian - 100 100
13,300 12,300 25,600
During the month of September, delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross contacted the camps of Dachau, near Munich, Weimar-Buchenwald, Natzweiler (Alsace), Ravensbrück, near Fürstenberg, and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, near Berlin. They were convinced of the need to continue shipments.

One of these camps, a trusted man could write to us to confirm receipt of the International Committee of shipments. On the other hand, this man has confidence statement very interesting indications on the amount of parcels addressed to prisoners of each nationality and told the Committee of its findings on the proportions of items:

sufficient for the Norwegians and the Dutch;

should be magnified for the Poles and the French.

Acknowledgments.

So far the situation is as follows:

over 13,300 packages addressed individually, 2407 receipts were sent back to the International Committee;

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over 12,300 packages addressed to the prisoners, 3069 receipts reached in Geneva, representing a total of 8,000 new names of civilian prisoners.

Through collective shipments, addressed to the prisoners, the file Service CCC was usefully supplemented and increased. The first acknowledgment of Dachau have come to the International Committee, 7 September already.

Financial arrangements.

The cost of "reconditioning", packing, handling, shipping and insurance against ordinary risks of transport and the risks of war amounted to fr. 3.25 per package.

The corresponding amounts have been debited to the accounts of National Red Cross, except for the costs of sending packages to prisoners Spanish and Italian civilians. Indeed, the Service CCC does not have funds for these nationalities of civilian prisoners, the respective amounts have been debited to the account "safety margin" Service CCC.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin (summary)

Berlin, November 3, 1944.

The ICRC delegation in Geneva to Berlin sends the "new forms" received from the Buchenwald concentration camp for forwarding the addresses and we send packages to the deportees.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin from December 8, 1944 (summary)

An ICRC delegate visited the camp of Oranienburg to know if the form of acknowledgment proposed by the ICRC would be accepted. This is a receipt signed by the prisoners, for householders.

This form has been accepted by the camp commander, sent a dispatch to the Norwegians was signed by three henchmen.

The delegate hoped that the same authorization be given for other nationalities. The delegate asked somebody to send packages of receipts for all householders made recently so he could get the signature of the prisoners to receive these mailings at Oranienburg.

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Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Reich (translation).

Geneva, December 9, 1944.

... Since the project said Tokio is applied by the belligerent powers, subject to reciprocity, that on one point - either in regard to civilians being on belligerent territory and who are interned - the situation of civilians in occupied territories, especially that of people arrested for various reasons, sometimes deported outside the occupied territory, remains, in many respects, uncertain and often unsatisfactory. This is that the provisions of the Regulations annexed to the IV th Hague Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, are applied in different ways to respect the rights of the Occupying Power.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, seized by the two warring parties of the problem of protection of civilians arrested by the enemy, lets raise the question whether it would be possible to solve the problem of a manner consistent with the desires and wishes expressed by interested parties, by the simultaneous meeting in Geneva of plenipotentiary representatives of the Governments concerned that, without begin direct talks, would agree, through the International Committee of the Red Cross on a "modus vivendi" provisional everything related to civilians at the hands of the enemy.

Such agreements practical occurred repeatedly through a neutral body during the 1914-1918 war, and it is based on experiences at that time that section 83 was inserted in the 1929 Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

At the beginning of this war, the International Committee of the Red Cross attracted the attention of the belligerent Powers on the benefit of such introductions. Although, as far as the International Committee of the Red Cross is informed, no such meeting has taken place so far, the question before us - that is to say the treatment of civilian nationals from enemy states - provide an opportunity to conclude an agreement similar practice in application by analogy of Article 83 above. The Governments concerned are not currently in direct diplomatic relations through the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross felt bound to take the initiative for such a proposal. He stresses, however, it attaches the highest importance to the consideration of proposals submitted to the German Government in its statement of October 2, 1944 will be no delay. On the contrary, the accession of

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Powers concerned at these proposals and the beginning of an activity of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the basis stated, would create conditions favorable to an agreement, through simultaneous negotiations of the International Committee of the Red Cross with representatives of Powers concerned came to Geneva.

As discussed, according to the aforesaid note of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the principles advocated by him represent only the minimum of protection to civilians of enemy nationality who are under arrest should be eligible for humanitarian grounds. It is highly desirable that the discussions are not confined only to the treatment of these detainees, but they also address the question of the possible repatriation of certain categories such as women, the elderly, the sick and children. There would be also taken into account persons whose arrest seems to be justified, because the reasons that led to his arrest no longer exist.

Is so desirable that simultaneous examination of the problems of the release and repatriation of these prisoners, the difficulties which may arise in this regard should not in any way to prevent the conclusion of an agreement favorable and fast as possible, providing prisoners with the general facilities described in our note of October 2, 1944.

The International Committee of the Red Cross would be extremely grateful to the Reich Government to kindly respond favorably to these proposals.

Letter from the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva with representatives of Red Cross Societies of Yugoslavia, Poland, Holland, Greece, Norway, France (Ministry of Prisoners of War, visited Switzerland)

Geneva, December 19, 1944.

Some information received recently we learned that the German authorities seem to be aware that, according to the acknowledgments we received, we have prepared lists of deported from your country.

However, these authorities do not seem to want us to conduct such a census and we risk permanently compromising the few opportunities we have yet to refuel deported if we use acknowledgments, related to parcels that we mailed out to establish a list of deportees sought and found.

Confident that you share our desire to continue, as this is possible, our relief shipments if necessary to

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deported, so we inform you that we are now forced to give to the periodic submission of lists of deportees which we could obtain the names and addresses.

However, we do not want to deprive families of intelligence, so precious to them, a sign of life was received from a remote location. Therefore, any new received an International Committee deported, either through an acknowledgment of a package, either by correspondence or otherwise, will be communicated to the family without providing address where the deportee. Copy of this communication you will receive. You will be informed as before, we can get information about receiving parcels by a civilian prisoner, but more as a list. Furthermore, any individual request for information you may send us will be "stuck" and the Central Agency for Prisoners of War will reply as soon as new information will be managed.

We're sure you'll understand the reasons that compel us to introduce this new method of communication.

Letter from a man of confidence of the concentration camp at Oranienburg International Committee of the Red Cross (translation)

Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, 26 December 1944.

I acknowledge receipt of your mail Z 674 , Z 254 , 260 , 266 , Z 251 A , arrived very timely for Christmas and they were received with enthusiasm and cries of joy. On behalf of all beneficiaries, I will express the deepest gratitude. During the last shipment Z 251 , no notice came to me and I wonder if other items were not shipped in the meantime. For testing, I would appreciate me constantly aware. The unaddressed mail, well packed in boxes, was easier to distribute and has satisfied the majority of prisoners. Of course the other groups: Yugoslavs, Spaniards, etc.., Were very disappointed as they have received nothing since last September and the Dutch were unable to satisfy the vast majority of their compatriots. Want you at New Year, take greater account of the latter. Toiletries, clothes, socks and sweaters, we urgently need are not there yet.

FOURTH PHASE

The German Government résou [t] capitals to make concessions in favor of prisoners of concentration camps.

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The 1 st February 1945, it allows you to send the deportees from the territories of French and Belgian food parcels, clothing, medicines, and books, or as individual parcels, or as a collective parcels.

Finally, in March 1945, the agreements between the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross and General Kaltenbrunner concentration camps open to delegates of the Committee. And so begins the great crusade against hunger.

German Government's reply to the letter of the International Committee of the Red Cross of October 2, 1944, passed by the German Consulate in Geneva (translation)

Geneva, 1 st February 1945.

As instructed, the German Consulate has the honor to inform the International Committee of the Red Cross in response to its letter of 2 October 1944 which was submitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs with a personal letter Mr. President of Huber, the following:

The competent German authorities have carefully considered the presentations of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the Treatment of Prisoners as a preventive (Schutzhäftlinge).

Following this review, the following measures have been ordered on this category of detainees from the French and Belgian territories.
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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Pn lip 02, 2012 10:21 am

1) An exchange of new forms of Red Cross is allowed between the detainees and their families. The necessary preparations are completed. It is anticipated that this match will start very soon. In this way the names of detainees will be known by this means, they will be able to give news of their health.

2) Inmates may receive parcels containing food, clothing, medicines and books, either as individual packages for individual recipients, or collective consignments of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3) In case of legal proceedings, inmates are informed of the reason for the complaint. This is a fundamental rule of the German Penal Code, which also provides for the delivery of the indictment to the accused.

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As long as the names and addresses of inmates will be shared with families and the International Committee of the Red Cross by postal correspondence, the preparation and dispatch of special lists seem superfluous. On the other hand, the German authorities are in principle ready to provide responses to inquiries about individual detainees.

For compelling reasons, within the national defense, it is unfortunately impossible at present to allow visits camps and places inhabited by these prisoners. The issue of repatriation of prisoners, raised in the letter of the International Committee of the Red Cross September 9, 1944, is currently under investigation. It would be important for decisions to be taken, whether the International Committee of the Red Cross is able to foresee also a repatriation of those arrested in France, in Alsace and Lorraine.

Answer the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the previous letter of German Consulate in Geneva (translation)

Geneva, February 15, 1945.

In response to your letter of 1 February 1945, containing a communication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich on measures taken in favor of political prisoners from France and Belgium, allow me to convey to your Government, through you, this note the International Committee of the Red Cross.

On this occasion, the International Committee can observe, on the third point of the measures you have given us knowledge that in his opinion the possibility of a common legal defense of these detainees should be subject to measures urgent not only in criminal law proceedings in the narrower sense, but also in administrative proceedings, including police. The International Committee allows, on the other hand, to ask the Government of the Reich, as he did in his note of October 2, to kindly continue to consider the possibility that the camps could be visited by its delegates , especially for the practical organization of relief supplies and transmission of news.

The International Committee would not fail to note with real satisfaction that disclosure of the Reich Authorities, dated 1 February 1945, represents a significant advance in the status of political prisoners ...

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Note to the previous letter (translation)

The International Committee of the Red Cross has the honor to acknowledge the German Consulate in its communication dated February 1, 1945, constituting the response of the authorities of the Reich to the note on the treatment of civilian detainees sent to Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs dated October 2, 1944.

The International Committee is pleased to see that the authorities of the Reich, as well as French and Belgian authorities are willing to grant to the "pretrial detainees" following facilities:

1. Exchange of new forms of Red Cross. - The ICRC is deeply appreciates the decision of the German Government which is, undoubtedly, lead to the creation in this area a relaxing atmosphere.

Our experiences teach us, however, that this exchange of news can not supply the name lists. If however the establishment of such lists had to face serious practical difficulties, the ICRC intends to supplement the first shipment of a new identity card, that a person should himself undertake and which would correspond to maps of captured prisoners of war. (We would attach a copy of the proposed map.) In view of this form, the ICRC would be able to provide a list of inmates. Experience has shown indeed that such a file can not be satisfactorily established on the basis of incomplete and often illegible communications, even devoting a lot of care, time, and a large staff. The shipping news, and that the form should be completed as quickly as possible, either directly in Geneva or to ICRC delegations in Berlin and Uffing. The ICRC stands ready to provide the forms, our delegates in Berlin and the rest Uffing possess a number, written in German.

2. Parcel collective and individual. - To ensure maximum security to be able to take those items and, already, the technical measures to facilitate them, it is not only desirable but necessary to receive the basic information regarding places of detention camps and staffing as we receive them for prisoners of war. We would also like to know if the mail should be sent directly to the camps or distribution centers. Shipments of individual packages can they be made without limitations, or are they limited in the weight, content and number?

3. Criminal Procedure. - Although the ICRC is convinced that the criminal proceedings applied to "pretrial detainees" observes the

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normal forms and norms of criminal law, the Committee can make a wish granted their minimum guarantees, analogous to the 1929 Convention provides for prisoners of war. The status of these detainees is different, it is true, that of prisoners of war, in that the former do not belong to any military organization, the Military Criminal Code does not apply to them and they are not subject, as to penalties on general provisions in the 1929 Convention.

4. Individual information and investigations. - If the authorities of the Reich would not be able to provide lists of names, identity cards mentioned in figure 1, besides being singularly facilitate the task of the competent department of the Committee, constitute the technical condition indispensable to the establishment of any intelligence service and individual relief.

The ICRC is particularly grateful to the German authorities for having granted him permission to pursue investigations directly from competent agencies. It will use as unobtrusive as possible to this permission, and then only in urgent cases.

5. Visits of delegates. - Although aware of arguments that do not allow German authorities to consider at this time to positively address this issue, the ICRC urges the authorities to reconsider as soon as possible. It is precisely here that the Committee has received guarantees of reciprocity on the part of governments who hold German civilian internees. The Committee also believes that unbiased reports on its delegates would be able to wipe out certain noises that are likely to aggravate the plight of German civilian internees.

6. Repatriation. - It is with satisfaction that the ICRC finds that both the Government of the Reich that the French and Belgian Governments have expressed in principle favorable to the return of certain categories of civilians and "pretrial detainees." Therefore, the ICRC provides the German, French and Belgian repatriate the following categories:

1) sick, wounded, infirm old men and women and children. As for the sick and wounded, we could first apply to them the standards for prisoners of war. Children should, wherever possible, be repatriated with their parents, relatives or people who are responsible.

2) Persons against whom no prosecution was commenced, or which are the subject of any serious charge.

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3) A person may invoke limitation or lapse in respect of the facts that led to their internment.

The ICRC intends to begin as soon as possible with the repatriation of women and children, and to continue with the elderly and the sick. He is willing, if the competent authorities so desire, to examine, in agreement with the Swiss Government, the issue of transit and transportation of these persons to.

Finally, the ICRC helps to emphasize the desirability to arrange a simultaneous exchange of views with the various German offices competent in the matter, to agree as quickly as possible as to the repatriation measures and their implementation practice.

Accordingly, the ICRC reiterates the proposals he had the honor to submit to the German Government in its note of October 2, 1944, and requests to appoint a person who is officially in charge of engaging in Geneva talks planned.

Note the British Consulate in Geneva, the ICRC, February 14, 1945 (summary)

The British Consulate in Geneva, responding to the letter and the memorandum of the International Committee of the Red Cross on 16 October 1944, made known to the ICRC by the British Government, that the German civilian internees detained in Britain are guaranteed benefits "Red Cross" and that there is no analogy between them and civilians deported to Germany.

Letter from the President of the ICRC to the Consuls of the United States and Britain, of February 16, 1945

ICRC President calls on U.S. Consuls of Great Britain and Geneva, respectively transmit S. Exc. Mr. Stettinius and S. Exc. Mr. Eden, state secretaries, and by the quickest route, the following message:

"Head our delegation to Germany, returned to Switzerland for this moment short report describes situations POWs and internees as follows: evacuation east-west takes place in the toughest conditions on foot without food in cold weather. Rally of prisoners of war in transit camps denied without prejudice. New westbound always planned evacuation northwest in similar conditions.
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Civilian internees and prisoners discharged under the same conditions mentioned above and also deserve immediate relief. Delegation was able to and can control arrival of evacuees from all categories but is unable to deliver food and medical equipment dressings located in Lübeck reserves north and south Switzerland. Thus impose two primary transportation solutions through immediate relief a few hundred trucks available International Committee of the Red Cross with gasoline and other necessary accessories secondly protection against aerial action of side rail reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Employ all means at our disposal but pray at the immensity of the problem to help us in our task in the direction indicated. "
Note the German Consulate in Geneva, the ICRC on the repatriation of "pretrial detainees," the March 5, 1945

Communication addressed to the President of the ICRC, in response to its letter of 2 October 1944, suggested that the issue of repatriation of "pretrial detainees" (Schutzhäftlinge), raised in the letter of 9 December 1944 the ICRC, would be subject to a subsequent communication.

The issue has been studied since then, we can now declare that the Reich Government is ready to repatriate children, women and old French who are in Germany, provided that the German civilian internees are returned to France in their country. Proposals on the number of French who are taken into account and the practical implementation of evacuation will be submitted to the ICRC in the shortest time. It is understood that France also all the preparatory work will be undertaken immediately in order to realize this project.

Letter from SS General Kaltenbrunner confirming the agreements reached with the President of the ICRC (translation) 1

March 29, 1945.

Accordance with our agreement, I undertook, upon my return, with the competent authorities, examining the issues you

An interview with ICRC President Gen. Kaltenbrunner took place March 12, 1945. Commenting on the interview and the agreements that resulted to the delegates of the Red Cross organizations concerned and representatives of various organizations, 26 March 1945, the ICRC President stated that:
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asked. I am pleased to inform you that I saw all involved a great good will. Here in detail how I can fulfill the wishes you expressed: 1

[...]

II. Civilian internees.

1) The global exchange of all French and Belgian civilian internees against all German civilian internees, proposed by you, would greatly facilitate the French. We should release nearly 62,000 French against 15,000 interned German only. In addition, the categories are completely different. The Germans who are in French hands were interned because they remained in France, while the majority of French civilian internees held by the Germans are accused of committing serious acts against the occupying forces during the occupation of France.

However, we are willing to accept the global exchange of civilian internees to the following conditions:

a) All warranties will be given to drop the charges against the Alsace and Lorraine who have collaborated with us and acquired German citizenship, but in France, are still considered as French citizens, and they will be included in exchange, conditional to express themselves desire.

b) The charges against the collaborationist French in France will be permanently abandoned.

2) If the total return of interned civilians can not be achieved, there remains the possibility to agree on an exchange of equal numbers including Alsace and Lorraine. One could, in this case, start with the repatriation of old, the sick, women and children, as proposed by the International Committee.

In addition, consideration could be given individual exchanges, according to your proposals.

"The issue of prisoners of war, detainees and civilian internees was the subject of these talks, and now we can speak of achievements. The ICRC could visit the camps until civilian detainees. The few visits by ICRC delegates took place in the periphery of the camps. They were restricted to only contact with camp commandants. During recent conversations, cons, it was expected that the delegates could be sent to the camps, provided they remain there until the end of hostilities. "
Talks between representatives of the ICRC and representatives of German authorities on the modalities for implementing the agreements Burckhardt-Kaltenbrunner took place April 10 to April 24 and Constance to Innsbruck.
1 The ICRC does not reproduce here the passages relating to various categories of civilian detainees.
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3) The distribution by nationality and civilian internees in separate camps, as it is right now for the Norwegians and Danes, could be considered, to the extent technically possible.

4) The provision by the International Committee of the Red Cross food, clothing and medicine to civilian internees was authorized in principle by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in agreement with my services. The practical application of this measure has been the subject of talks with the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Berlin after talks which gave full satisfaction to all concerned.

[...]

IV. Polish prisoners of war made during the revolt of Warsaw Polish women and young people caught on that occasion.

Hospitalization of prisoners of war as well as women and young men captured by the Germans during the Warsaw uprising may be considered on condition of reciprocity, for example, if Britain and the United States declare their readiness to release German women they hold as members of the Wehrmacht or auxiliary services of the Wehrmacht (Auxiliary of Staff, nurses of the Red Cross).

V. Jews interned civilians.

Regarding the transfer of Jewish civilian internees in Switzerland, I could also see a rather favorable. In treating this problem, one should, in my opinion, consider any reciprocity or compensation, but it should show in what form and in what area the German Reich would expect compensation.

VI. For further study and technical issues listed above, I would suggest you ask your delegation to Berlin to get immediately contact the Foreign Ministry. In order to expedite the talks, I am sending a copy of this letter to your delegation in Berlin, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Commander of the concentration camp of Dachau (translation)

Geneva, April 11, 1945.

During my recent talks with the SS General Kaltenbrunner Obergruppenführer, all assistance was promised to the Committee

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International Red Cross for the supply of foodstuffs and medicines internees foreigners in Germany.

Allow me to that effect to recommend very strongly that our representative is responsible for organizing the supply of internees to your camp and its outbuildings.

To this end, four trucks and a personal car is made available with the fuel needed.

Please give our representative every facility for carrying out its task.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross at Camp Commandant of Mauthausen (translation)

Geneva, April 29, 1945.

During my talks with Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner, it was agreed that delegates from the International Committee would be appointed to visit the concentration camps where prisoners are foreign nationals and they remain there until the end of war. In a new interview, Apr. 24, Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner has expressly confirmed this agreement and said that necessary orders had been given. So if a camp commander refused to receive these representatives (delegates of the International Committee and nurses) it acts contrary to an order, or when the orders do not reach destination.

Please, therefore, to immediately put the bearer of this letter able to install the delegates discussed in the Mauthausen camp, I also request you to ensure that these officials may move freely within the camp and get in touch with all foreign prisoners. If these instructions are not followed, the International Committee of the Red Cross will hold you personally responsible for the consequences, in addition, inform world public opinion of your responsibility. If instead, you take all steps to facilitate implementation of agreements with Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner regarding the designation of our delegates and their stay in the camp under the conditions indicated, the International Committee of the Red Cross bear testimony of your goodwill.

Letter from the International Committee of the Red Cross to Commander of the concentration camp of Dachau

Geneva, April 30, 1945.

In line with agreements reached between the President of the International Committee of Red Cross and Obergruppenführer Kalten-

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brunner, we sent a column of 10 trucks to supply the following camps: Überlingen am Bodensee, Lichtenau, Biberach, Saulgau, Wurzach, Waldsee, Memmingen, Blaichach, Kaufbeuren, München. We shall have to give all necessary orders to the commanders of the camps to facilitate the distribution of these packages.

Telegram from the International Committee of the Red Cross to Mr. Stettinius, Secretary of State of the United States, President of the San Francisco Conference

Geneva, May 11, 1945.

Press Correspondents accredited San Francisco Conference that reported legitimate interest in media conference to spell prisoners and detainees allies in Germany and criticisms concerning ICRC activities this area, it made the following statement recognizing that you would be aware Conference San Francisco beginning : ICRC is primarily the Geneva Convention of 1929 applies to by contracting parties will only military war prisoners. Recognizing danger resulting lack any protection for civilians in territories occupied by enemy or enemies, ICRC endeavored since September 1939 get belligerents de facto application of the draft Convention adopted in 1934 by the fifteenth International Conference Red Cross and not yet ratified by Governments. Project implementation would have ensured all civil protection mentioned above. As there was no proposal ICRC resonate with belligerents it got only extension Geneva Convention to civilian internees that is to say to civilians living in enemy territory and interned at the beginning of the conflict simply because of their nationality. However, civilians in occupied territories and imprisoned for reasons other than citizenship and deported often remained private despite repeated efforts all protection ICRC in their favor. ICRC and was only allowed to visit prisoners in Germany Allied war and civilian internees whose home country was a party to Geneva Convention. The findings of its delegates were regularly brought to knowledge Governments concerned as well as his constant interventions in order to obtain all necessary improvements. In addition prisoners war and civilian internees allies could receive aid packages provided by origin countries with ICRC continued efforts successful despite transportation difficulties resulting war at sea and land route to camp until mid year 1944 about three hundred thousand tons food and clothing drugs. This action was seriously compromised from October 1944 through massive destruction railway lines due bombers, Germany

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ments and no road transport means that ICRC had yet requested urgently from early 1944 when the Allied Powers. These means be provided transportation began in autumn 1944 and only in limited quantities. Their use was authorized in Germany by Allied authorities only since March 1945 when qu'intensification air war made relief organization and handling war prisoners still more difficult. Regarding civilians imprisoned or deported and unprotected conventional ICRC could not get in any conflict penetrate inside concentration camps with few exceptions in the last few days before Allied troops arrived. Nevertheless ICRC strove at least rescue deported by sending food and medicine. Despite obstacles from German authorities and restrictions imposed by the ICRC Authorities blockade, several hundred thousand food and medicine packages were shipped to concentration camps many. ICRC also have obtained the last moment release certain categories deportees succeeded by his road convoys to evacuate Switzerland and Sweden several thousand people. Despite obstacles and all kinds and modest resources available to ICRC, this double action allowed, according to numerous witnesses deported, saving considerable amount of human lives.

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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Dołączył(a): Wt lis 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Pn lip 02, 2012 10:51 am

However, the regulations enacted by the Anglo-American economic warfare does not permit the parcel-standard American Red Cross and the United Kingdom to persons other than prisoners of war and civilian internees recognized as such. Similar items are subject to the condition that the designated camps are regularly visited by delegates of the International Committee and lists of names are provided. This control mode is unfortunately impossible with respect to concentration camps, we wanted to make sure if another kind of control might be acceptable, that is to say whether it would be possible to get a package for each release signed personally by the recipient, which would serve as proof of receipt. As a test, we sent 50 packages of Swiss origin, each containing a release, these parcels were addressed personally to 50 detainees whose names we had, in different

1 It should be noted that already in April 1943, the representative of the Norwegian Red Cross in Geneva gave the ICRC a list of 250 Norwegian prisoners which, at that time, the packages were sent from Sweden on behalf of the Norwegian Government and through the Swedish Red Cross.
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ent concentration camps and prisons in Germany. The result has exceeded our expectations. Within six weeks, over two thirds of the receipts, duly signed by the recipient, we have returned. This result is particularly striking that, given the constant changes in the camps, it was expected that a certain percentage of beneficiaries can be achieved.

Unfortunately, we do not have other packages which we can share with these civilian prisoners and we see no hope of obtaining other permits to export food in Switzerland. The International Committee therefore allows to express the hope that the leaders of the economic war please consider (as an exception) of the particularly difficult situation of these prisoners from the occupied territories who are detained in concentration camps, that they examine the possibility of deferring the requirements for visits to the camps and supply lists for control purposes and accept as sufficient control individual receipts.

The first step would be to send prisoners whose names are currently known (and whose number does not exceed 200) monthly food parcels that would be available to us by countries overseas. Should additional names we would be disclosed, we at annoncerions As the number of parcels would be increased proportionately. For now we are evaluating a few hundred at most the total number of beneficiaries.

The International Committee would be extremely happy to know the opinion of the competent authorities about the project he has just outlined.

Personal letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the British Red Cross, on the same subject as the previous one (translation)

Geneva, 26 August 1943.

Allow me to refer to your kind communication of 14 July and in particular its second paragraph concerning our efforts to provide relief to citizens of occupied territories, which are held in concentration camps and prisoners of war in Germany.

I would first like to express my sincere thanks for the interest that the British Red Cross has expressed with regard to our attempts to alleviate the plight of the classes of internees who are not benefiting our relief work. As you know, our efforts have not always been successful and we were recently reported from London intelligence data rather negative. However, we believe our

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duty to do everything in our power to achieve our project, and we just recently sent a request to the Governments concerned to relax in favor of nationals of the occupied territories who are interned in Germany for the blockade regulations.

We give you herewith a copy of the note that we have available on this issue at the British Consulate in Geneva, to be transmitted to the competent authorities. 1 There is a very clear presentation of the situation and I would be extremely grateful use your influence over the decision to be taken.

The International Committee takes this matter extremely to heart, for he has learned from various quarters that the situation in the concentration camps is very alarming and that the mortality rate is very high. We received from different walks of urgent emergency calls and we believe we must attempt the impossible in seeking such relief overseas. Of course we are aware that the conditions in these camps differ from those prevailing in the camps of POWs and civilian internees and the possibilities of control of us are limited. But our efforts with the Ministry of Economic Warfare seem justified, because we believe that the receipts are received sufficient evidence that the packages were delivered to recipients.

Moreover, the relatively small number of packages entering into play - a few hundred a month - should allow our project to get approval, even taking into account the requirements of economic warfare in general.

We would be happy if you thought possible to bring this problem to the attention of the Authorities or Companies of the Red Cross of allied countries, including several (Norway, Holland, Czechoslovakia) have sent us, through their representatives Switzerland, the frequent prayer to rescue their compatriots who are in concentration camps.

Conference held on 16 September 1943, at ICRC headquarters, with a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich, about the hostages

The ICRC notes that the hostages, who are not prisoners of war or civilian internees, were unable to benefit from its protection so far. All his efforts to obtain permission to visit the concentration camps have failed.

1 See page 52.
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The representative of the Foreign Ministry's Reich do not think that permission can be granted.

The ICRC noted that the ability to intervene in favor of these prisoners would provide mutual benefits to the state that would give these facilities.

In Brazil, the German internees are regarded as dangerous for state security, but the ICRC delegates, however, can visit them.

Note from the German Red Cross, 5 October 1943 (abstract)

The ICRC, which has still not received a response from the German Red Cross about the lists of deportees addressed to it, is informed by the Head of External Relations Department of the German Red Cross that the can make inquiries on individual cases submitted to it.

Note ICRC Red Cross in Belgrade, 6 October 1943 (abstract)

The ICRC calls on Red Cross in Belgrade to send him lists of deportees Yugoslav, that would be obtained through the families, to try to send them relief.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, 12 November 1943 (abstract)

ICRC delegates have contacted the Camp Commandant of Oranienburg. They were able to visit the camp. The sending of relief parcels and clothing is allowed.

Letter from the President of the ICRC to the President of the Central Committee of the Polish Red Cross in London, 1 December 1943 (abstract)

The ICRC has received from the prisoners' Polish Oflag VII A list of about 500 Polish nationals who are in prisons and concentration camps and who seem to be relatives of the officers of the Oflag.

This list will allow the ICRC to step up its relief efforts.

Note of the ICRC delegation in London, 16 December 1943 (abstract)

The Committee delegation to London expressed the negative response from the Foreign Office to demand the release of the blockade ICRC for detainees of concentration camps.

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President of the ICRC's response to a request for information from the Assistant Commercial Attache of the Embassy of France in Bern, about the young French people who refuse to work in Germany and are arrested and deported, 30 December 1943 ( summary)

The ICRC has made every effort to assist persons in this category. Based on the fact that these persons were not arrested because of their nationality, the German authorities do not give them the salary under the 1929 Convention applied by analogy to civilian internees, and were not allowed ICRC delegates to visit the camps where they are detained. The Central Agency for Prisoners of War was unable to obtain a list of their names.

However, it is possible in principle to undertake individual investigations, provided you know the exact names of interested and all the details to facilitate the investigation. It should also clarify the origin of Aryan or not Aryan, no investigation of the Israelites can not lead.

Note the U.S. State Department sent to the ICRC delegation in Geneva by the American Red Cross, January 24, 1944 (Summary)

The American Red Cross the ICRC communicates a note by the State Department, which fixes the position of the Federal Government against German civilian internees held in the United States, to facilitate the efforts of the ICRC in favor of French deportees in Germany "The policy of the Government of the United States is to treat the German civilian internees held in accordance with the 1929 Convention, insofar as it applies to civilians. The German Government was informed of this policy on many occasions. "

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, January 25, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC delegation gives news of French officials deported to Germany: General Gamelin, the presidents Reynaud and Lebrun are in the region of Innsbruck.

Note ICRC Red Cross Belgium, January 25, 1944 (summary)

The ICRC informed the Red Cross of Belgium he strives, through its delegation in Berlin, to know the number

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Approximate Belgians who may be in the four major concentration camps of Oranienburg, Buchenwald, Dachau, Ravensbrück (the latter for women), so you can intensify its parcel.

ICRC letter to various French personalities, dated 29 February 1944 (Summary)

In the course of 1943, the International Committee of the Red Cross was able to create a service for individual parcels to concentration camps and shipped a number of food parcels to prisoners of administration in Germany and occupied countries. Acknowledgments that came back proved that these packages have largely achieved their intended recipients.

As the International Committee of the Red Cross does not have funds for the costs of purchase and transportation of these parcels, he must claim the value-cons to persons or organizations who request the mailing.

However, if the Committee could get far enough funds to send packages to administrative detainees of various nationalities, he was however very difficult to find money to help the French administrative detainees, and he would be sorry to refuse sometimes to make shipments because applicants are not able to pay for it. That is all the more regrettable that the return of the receipt of a package is often the only sign of life that a detainee be able to give.

Note from the ICRC to the French Committee of National Liberation in Algiers, March 6, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC has relatively few names of French prisoners in concentration camps. Householders are forbidden, it sends individual parcels to persons whose addresses are known. It could reinforce the efforts, but the authorities do not admit of the blockade, in favor of the deportees, or remittances, or sending parcels overseas, because this category of victims of war shall not be deemed to prisoners of war.

Note from the ICRC at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich, of 10 March 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC seeks information from the German Government the fate of a hundred French officers who were recently arrested by the occupation authorities and then deported, and that he would like to send help.

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Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, March 12, 1944 (Summary)

The Berlin delegation asked the ICRC to send assistance to five hundred Norwegians are to Sachsenhausen. They should be promptly rescued in food and medicine (cibazol and vitamins). The delegation gave three new names of inmates at Buchenwald for Norwegians that they will receive relief.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, April 30, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC delegation in Berlin sends a list of prominent Lithuanian including thirty-nine are detained in Dachau and eighteen to Struthof.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, May 12, 1944 (Summary)

The delegation provides information on new camps Norwegians deported to Germany: Natzweiler and Sachsenhausen camps, five hundred Norwegians there. The Sachsenhausen camp was made better, but interned in it should be quickly rescued by shipments of food and medicine (cibazol and vitamins). Norwegians previously Marlag Milag were transferred to North Sonnenberg "camp top secret that we know nothing."

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, May 30, 1944 (Summary)

The head of the ICRC delegation in Berlin visited the commander of the concentration camp and reported to the Service Struthof CCC presence in the camp of a thousand Poles, Norwegians, two hundred and sixty, one hundred and fifty to five Danes, Czechs thirty, three French and fifty-five Belgians. Norwegians and Danes are in a separate camp, the "Germanenlager". They are handled well and receiving packages of Denmark and Sweden. They need underwear for the winter, and food can be cooked at the camp. Every nationality is represented by a man of confidence.

Note ICRC's delegation in Washington on assistance to Israel, June 30, 1944 (Summary)

To provide effective assistance to the Israelites of the country under control of the Axis, it would be valuable to know what the "War Refugee Board" intends to do on the basis of the information and documents that the ICRC has been forwarded.

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The ICRC is always willing, as he has said many times, to do everything possible to help the deportees and internees of concentration camps, however this should be conducted as rapidly as possible, the best opportunities of the moment, if we do not want to miss opportunities for intervention that may no longer occur.

The ICRC has already stressed the need to receive shipments of food from overseas countries in order to undertake a relief operation in general the concentration camps. Indeed, its supply options in Switzerland or in other neutral countries of Europe are too small to allow it to send a monthly food parcels to help each person to whom it knows the address. Since then, the number of unfortunate that it could, in principle, help is greatly increased, while the possibility of supply in Europe have, however, significantly reduced. But the American authorities concerned have not yet made known their attitude to the ICRC in this regard and did not indicate whether they would consider making an exception to the rules of the blockade to allow the sending of supplies essential to the development of action relief for civilian detainees. The ICRC would like to know the decision of Emergency "War Refugee Board."

Personal letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Regent Horthy (translation)

Geneva, 5 July 1944.

I have the honor to address Your Highness on behalf of an institution to which I belong for almost twenty years, and in my own name.

From all parts of the world now manage the International Committee of the Red Cross issues, information and protests relating to austerity measures to be taken now against Jews of Hungarian nationality. The Committee is not able to respond to this correspondence, because it has no information that would be able to control. What has been brought to our attention we seem so at odds with the chivalric traditions of the great Hungarian people that seems almost impossible to believe even the smallest part of the information we receive.

On behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross, I want to send Your Highness please give instructions so that we are enabled to respond to these rumors and accusations. We would at the same time, on behalf of principles that the International Committee and has always upheld the great tradition of humanitarian

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silence of Hungary, adjure the Royal Hungarian Government to take all possible steps to prevent that from happening the slightest opportunity that can give rise to such monstrous rumors.

Horthy's personal response to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (translation)

Budapest, August 12, 1944.

I had the honor to receive your letter and I thank you. I gave the necessary instructions for the Presidency of the International Committee of the Red Cross receives truthful information on the situation of Jews in our country and the specific facts concerning the Jewish question in Hungary. According to information from the Royal Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Charge d'Affairs of Hungary in Bern gave Mr. Burckhardt, Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, information about the real situation. 1

Convinced, Mr. President, you had knowledge of such information, I will only emphasize that I am particularly aware of the importance of this problem. Unfortunately, it is not in my power to prevent inhumane acts, no one condemns more severely than my people whose thoughts and feelings are chivalrous. I loaded the Hungarian Government to take himself in hand the settlement of the Jewish question in Budapest. Hopefully this statement will not give rise to serious complications. 2

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, September 1, 1944 (Summary)

The delegation of the ICRC Berlin address, for sending individual relief, two lists of Danish prisons and deported to Oranienburg.

In a July 18, the Chargé d'affaires of Hungary gave certain assurances concerning the fate of Jews in Hungary. He said that including the deportations of Jews in Germany had been suspended and that the Hungarian Government allowed the ICRC to distribute aid to all the Israelites found in the ghettos and camps.
2 The ICRC can not report here the relief activity he displayed in favor of Jews, especially in Hungary and Romania. It reserves to do so possibly in a special publication.
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Note of the ICRC delegation in Belgrade, September 3, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC delegate in Belgrade gives the Committee the following statement about the Yugoslav political deportees: "All we can do is to investigate individual, but we rarely receive answers. "

ICRC letter to the World Jewish Congress about sending aid to Theresienstadt, September 5, 1944 (Summary)

ICRC thanks the World Jewish Congress for having forwarded a letter received from Theresienstadt, which confirms the receipt of 52 boxes of medicines and tonics shipped in time for the care of the Joint Relief Commission of the International Red Cross.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, September 6, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC calls on the German Red Cross address two hundred deported from Vichy (including the Archbishop of Clermont-Ferrand) for sending help.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, September 6, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC complained to the German Red Cross to inadequate responses to its inquiries about the deported French civilians. The answers are always elusive "... the hands of the police ... incarcerated, "and nothing more.

Note from the ICRC to the German Red Cross, September 8, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC intends to organize a system for correspondence with their families and deported to remedy the interruption of postal relations between Germany and France.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Cardinal Suhard, Archbishop of Paris

Geneva, September 20, 1944.

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the letter which your Eminence has been kind enough to write me dated September 14 and that Mr. Abbot Rodhain me has himself given.

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Very alarming situation of political prisoners French in Germany, as portrayed in the moving message of your eminence, is the object of our vivid, consistent concerns.

As Your Eminence She herself says in his letter, the Red Cross does not, it would like, for this category of victims of war yet so worthy of interest, the same means of action Humanitarian towards other captives, such as prisoners of war and civilian internees themselves.

However, Your Eminence may be assured that the International Committee of the Red Cross fully share his concern and his concern and he will neglect nothing of what is in his power to try to alleviate the plight of these detainees. The Committee shall strive and endeavor to assist them with the seriousness and urgency that requires their distress.

I assume that Mr. Abbot Rodhain you will report in this regard, the interviews we had the privilege of having with him.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the President of the French Red Cross

Geneva, September 21, 1944.

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the letter you sent me, dated September 7, 1944, and which was given to me by the Comte de Grammont, we are pleased to have now the visit to Geneva.

As your delegate will have to realize, during the various interviews we had with him during his stay, the situation of your fellow political prisoners in Germany, is a particularly painful problems that hold our constant long attention.

As you probably know, the International Committee of the Red Cross has been able, after persistent lobbying by the German authorities, provide, within existing resources at his disposal, material relief to many inmates whose place of internment in Germany was known to him. This work, begun a few months ago already, in the midst of serious difficulties, will be pursued by us and, hopefully, extended as far as possible. Already, I assure you that the International Committee will increase its efforts in this direction.

The sad state here that for the very status of French civilian prisoners in Germany, and whose authorities and the French Red Cross wish that protection was now assured by the International Committee of the Red Cross,

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means of action of this moment is very limited. This is also in anticipation of such a situation the International Committee at the beginning of the war, in 1939, proposed to the several belligerents adoption and immediate implementation of the Draft Convention (known as Tokyo) for the protection of civilians in enemy territory or enemy-occupied. But this suggestion has been no response from most of the Governments concerned.

Although deprived of the support that would have given him the support of said Governments, the International Committee of the Red Cross has nonetheless tried, early in the conflict, to get to all civilians in enemy territory or occupied by the enemy, prisoners in any capacity whatsoever, a plan that satisfies certain humanitarian principles. In addition, and as I said earlier, the International Committee will repeat, in this sense, his actions, and do so urgently.

Eager as he is to bring together every chance of success, the International Committee of the Red Cross felt bound to draw your attention to the following:

Experience shows that in such negotiations, the element of reciprocity is an important factor. It is therefore possible that the opposing party, when it considers the proposal that we will send him in favor of French political prisoners, asked whether, in part, against the French Government accept that the International Committee is in the same direction in favor of German nationals that the French military or civilian authorities have considered or would consider having interned in France itself, or during the occupation of German territories. If I have indicated the possibility of such a request is to have this issue now, from the authorities and the French Red Cross, the subject of urgent consideration that we appears to have merit. It would be helpful if the various Allied authorities, for their part, are also considering this issue in a similar manner and, if possible, by mutual agreement.

If I allowed myself in this letter to indicate the difficulties that the International Committee of the Red Cross has encountered, it is, you will certainly understand, so that all possible courses of action are joined in the hope of reach the goal that will stretch all our efforts.

Note ICRC's delegation in Berlin, September 13, 1944 (Summary)

For some time, the Service does not receive CCC-labels receipts for parcels addressed individually to the Sachsenhausen camp, while other camps continue to send them back. Is it possible that this check to the return receipts means that recipients have not received their parcels, or the

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they have received and have not they been able, for reasons of censorship or post, to return the receipts? On the other hand, it is possible that some shipments have not reached the camp as a result of bombing, for example. So that the delegation can monitor shipments, the Committee notes attached to this list of consignments destined for the camp since 1 July 1944. The delegation is requested to inform the Committee under the impression it has collected, if possible personally, in this camp, it can continue its shipments; indeed, he is preparing new shipments to the camp for month yet. The survey requested is therefore a very urgent nature.

Note ICRC's delegation in Berlin, September 15, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC is pleased to announce that the letters sent to Dachau, thanks to the goods of steam "Cristina", gave unexpected results. Parcels sent collectively to the prisoners, and who left Geneva on 23 August, was received on September 3 at Dachau and receipts stamped by mail on September 7, reached in Geneva on September 11. In addition the performance of these householders is excellent as each receipt is signed by several people (four to five people). The Committee thanked the delegation for its efforts during his visit to the Dachau camp commander and that certainly contributed much to the good result.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Brussels, 16 September 1944 (Summary)

The delegation in Brussels provides information on the ICRC Belgian deportees in Germany: in Germany there are about 8,000 political prisoners in Belgium, the ICRC's efforts have identified 1,600 deportees who each receive a few months two parcels a month.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Reich (translation)

Geneva, October 2, 1944.

Let me give you a note attached to preventively detained (Schutzhäftlinge) and recommend to your kind attention.

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If the International Committee of the Red Cross still insists on this issue, asking to be able to rescue this category of civilians, the first reason is that some of these people - the French example - are at the moment, totally separated from their families and can no longer receive packages from home relief. In addition, these civilians are no longer, as before, to give any sign of their lives. The International Committee of the Red Cross is therefore now the only institution that is able to offer these foreign prisoners a moral and material support, although very low when compared to the one he is able to bring prisoners of war and civilian internees.

To illustrate the fact that the International Committee of the Red Cross is everywhere and always concerned about the plight of political prisoners, whenever he had the opportunity, we can cite the example of Brazil, where the Committee was able to intervene from the beginning of hostilities between this country and Germany on a regular basis and help many German nationals arrested for political reasons and detained in prisons. In Britain too, the International Committee of the Red Cross could visit a camp for German prisoners who were not benefiting from the provisions of the 1929 Convention on prisoners of war.

The International Committee of the Red Cross provides, therefore, Mr. Minister, to express the hope that you will recommend the adoption of our proposal on relief to persons who are detained in concentration camps or prisons, for preventive reasons or police, and that you will give us your decision in this regard in the near future.

Note to the previous letter (translation)

Geneva, October 2, 1944.

The lack of effective protection, based on international law, civilians who are in a war on the territory of an enemy state, led to the development, in the interval between two world wars, said the project Tokio, which marks a substantial advance in the treatment of enemy aliens in this category. Unfortunately, this draft Convention, which was admitted by the Government of the Reich, at the beginning of the war, as a basis for discussion at the conclusion of an agreement, could not be enforced. However, the belligerent Powers agreed, early in the current conflict, to grant to enemy aliens in their territories a treatment similar to that accorded to prisoners of war under the

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1929 Convention, which however does not give all the benefits of civilians by the Tokyo Draft.

This treatment, based on the Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, was not granted so-called political prisoners. Under the name of "political prisoners" should be understood that the internment of civilians does not depend solely because they are nationals of an enemy state. Nevertheless, the International Committee of the Red Cross has continued to intervene with all belligerents in favor of this particular category of civilian internees, so they are treated the same way as civilian internees above mentioned.

Whatever the reasons for the detention and transfer of such persons from the occupied territories to the territory of the Detaining Power, should be considered as urgent the following minimum guarantees on the safety and treatment of political prisoners, irrespective of nationality or place of internment:

a) notification of the names of detainees, their whereabouts, their health, transmission of messages between detainees and their parents;

b) possibility of receiving relief in the form of food, clothing, medicines and books;

c) authorization to receive visits from a neutral institution, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose delegates would have the task to learn about the living conditions of prisoners in relation to housing, food, hygiene and treatment.

In current circumstances, all civilians detained and separated from their homeland - and the number is growing - hold the attention of the International Committee of the Red Cross. For this reason, the Committee believes need to try every way to be able to provide an activity similar to that exercised in the belligerent countries on behalf of prisoners of war and civilian internees. The International Committee of the Red Cross therefore requests the competent authorities of the Reich consenting, at the earliest and at the very least, that:

1) the delegates of the International Red Cross be allowed to visit concentration camps and other detention facilities in Germany and the occupied territories where political prisoners from non-German nationality;

2) the International Committee of the Red Cross be authorized to distribute these prisoners food, clothing, and medicines, according to the needs identified by its delegates;

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3) lists are established, showing the names and addresses of political prisoners mentioned above, and that these lists are forwarded to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is a reminder that these proposals, if urgent they are, represent only a small part of the concessions granted to civilians interned in the belligerent countries. That is why he is confident that authorities will approve the Reich and requests these authorities to kindly let him know as soon as possible their views on that.

Checklist for the steps taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of detainees foreign political, and sent to the Consuls of Great Britain and the United States in Geneva

Geneva, October 16, 1944.

In September 1944, the French Red Cross and the Red Cross of Belgium were sent to the International Committee of the Red Cross, through a special delegation from Geneva, and more urgent appeal on behalf of the deportees and French and Belgian political prisoners located in Germany.

In response to this call and in response to the many steps he had already undertaken, the International Committee of the Red Cross spoke again to the German authorities in the following sense:

From the beginning of the war, the International Committee of the Red Cross has been concerned with the protection of civilians in enemy territory and offered to all belligerents adoption and immediate implementation of the project - said Tokio - Convention for the protection of civilians in enemy territory or enemy-occupied. This International Committee of the Red Cross has unfortunately been unsuccessful, most of the belligerents did not respond to a proposal. The International Committee of the Red Cross has nevertheless continued its efforts to assist inmates in Germany prisons and concentration camps, including by sending them all in relief camps where the parcel was possible.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has asked the German authorities to allow at least:

1 The International Committee of the Red Cross points out here that with regard to civilian internees themselves, he was able to obtain later, for most of the belligerents that they agree to grant such internees treatment similar to that provided for prisoners of war, the Geneva Convention of 1929.
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1) the establishment and delivery to the International Committee of the Red Cross name lists (with indication of the address) of persons detained in prisons and concentration camps;

2) the sending of relief material and intellectual to those persons;

3) visit the concentration camps and other detention facilities, the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In its response to the Red Cross of Belgium and France, the International Committee of the Red Cross, while assuring them that he was continuing his efforts to achieve improvement in the lives of French and Belgian civilians deported or held in Germany, noted the need, recognized by these two companies themselves, to treat the problem as a whole and to act in favor of all civilian nationals of allied nations. He also noted that to ensure, as far as possible, a favorable response to the request he has presented to the German authorities, should tell them that it can spontaneously or in response to a request of their likely hand, the Belgian and French authorities and possibly other Allied authorities would be willing, at least in principle, to grant reciprocity.

The International Committee of the Red Cross meant by this that if the various Allied Governments, including the U.S. and British authorities, have in their power would capture or later German nationals under political detainees, regardless of the procedure possibly open court against some of them, these authorities would be willing to give them a treatment similar to that which the International Committee is currently asking authorities of the Reich, namely:

1) preparation and submission to the International Committee of the Red Cross lists of names of those detained;

2) permission to receive relief material and intellectual;

3) visit by delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross places of internment in which these people would eventually be deported.

If the U.S. and British authorities considered possible to enter this path, for what concerns them, and more, to represent other Allied authorities the desirability for them to follow this suggestion of the Committee International Red Cross, he thinks that the measures it has already made and then renew it in Germany have a better chance of success.

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Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, October 17, 1944 (Summary)

Taking advantage of a trip to Ravensbrück, delegates of the Committee asked to be received by the adjutant of the concentration camp. They discussed with him the question of sending potential drug for women doctors of different nationalities.

This shipment is permitted provided that it is a single householder, not packets addressed to each inmate in particular, by sending one nationality will be accepted and a receipt will return to Geneva.

ICRC letter to the Commandant of Auschwitz (Oswiecim, Upper Silesia), October 17, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC announced the sending of packages to the prisoners and French and Belgian request that any facility be given to them for distribution among their compatriots.

He would be obliged to indicate the Commander the approximate number of each nationality interned in the camp, which would allow the Committee to intensify its parcel.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Minister of Prisoners, Deportees and Refugees in Paris

Geneva, October 23, 1944.

... The International Committee of the Red Cross was very pleased that the Provisional Government of the French Republic had kindly responded affirmatively to the suggestion of the International Committee concerning reciprocity of treatment that this government was prepared to give the German civilians already arrested in France or those who happen to be arrested later in France and Germany. This reciprocity needs to include the following:

a) delivery to the International Committee of the Red Cross a list of names of prisoners German civilians;

b) permission to visit by delegates of the International Committee places of residence or detention;

c) authorization to proceed with the immediate repatriation of women, men and older patients.

The first three have already been submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the German authorities, asking them to give a favorable response.

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In addition, the International Committee deems it appropriate that civilian detainees in question were informed of the charges that led to their arrest.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is used to indicate here that think better to use now to describe these people - except for civilian internees as recognized by the Detaining Power - the name "German prisoners the hands of the French authorities "rather than" political prisoners "or" political prisoners ", that might be understood by the German authorities in a narrower sense than they give themselves to civilians designated by them as Schutzhäftlinge name.

As for the immediate repatriation of women, men and older patients, the International Committee of the Red Cross has so far reserved this point for further negotiations and it is sure to submit it for approval by the German authorities as soon as he sees fit, and the question of correspondence in and out of these detainees. He will probably be more useful today, being informed of the positive provisions of the Provisional Government of the French Republic concerning these points.

CCC Service report on the distribution of goods the steamer "Cristina" (August and September 1944) 1

Geneva, October 30, 1944.

Courtesy of the American Red Cross, the ICRC's Relief Division has made available Service CCC, dated August 20, 1944, goods from the former steam "Cristina". There were two lots:

1) 50,775 kg. various raw foodstuffs;

2) 12,000 kg. Gross canned mixed.

The Joint Relief Commission, working on behalf of CCC Service, has crafted and shipped in two weeks a number of packages of a net weight of 54,756 kg. (25,600 packages of 2 kg. 150).

Shipments were made between August 24 and September 9, a pace of 1,700 parcels a day.

1 This is a report of an internal nature and limited, taken among the like. However, given its interest, it has been reproduced as an example.
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These shipments "Cristina" were sent by postal cars to concentration camps. For each camp, as well as civilian prisoners of each nationality, shipping included:

a) packages individually addressed

b) packages addressed to the prisoners of each nationality.

The camp commanders were informed of the quantities of packages shipped and every man of trust has received a letter and excerpts of the expert report of the Geneva Cantonal Laboratory on food quality, shelf life and maximum measures to take to avoid possible poisoning.

The distribution of parcels by nationality was as follows:

Addressed
individually Men to
confidence Total
Belgian 2404 1900 4304
Spanish - 300 300
French 5386 3200 8586
Greek 109 300 409
Dutch 966 1900 2866
Polish 1320 2900 4220
Norwegian 3115 500 3615
Czechs - 800 800
Yugoslav - 400 400
Italian - 100 100
13,300 12,300 25,600

During the month of September, delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross contacted the camps of Dachau, near Munich, Weimar-Buchenwald, Natzweiler (Alsace), Ravensbrück, near Fürstenberg, and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, near Berlin. They were convinced of the need to continue shipments.

One of these camps, a trusted man could write to us to confirm receipt of the International Committee of shipments. On the other hand, this man has confidence statement very interesting indications on the amount of parcels addressed to prisoners of each nationality and told the Committee of its findings on the proportions of items:

sufficient for the Norwegians and the Dutch;

should be magnified for the Poles and the French.

Acknowledgments.

So far the situation is as follows:

over 13,300 packages addressed individually, 2407 receipts were sent back to the International Committee;

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Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

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Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, October 17, 1944 (Summary)

Taking advantage of a trip to Ravensbrück, delegates of the Committee asked to be received by the adjutant of the concentration camp. They discussed with him the question of sending potential drug for women doctors of different nationalities.

This shipment is permitted provided that it is a single householder, not packets addressed to each inmate in particular, by sending one nationality will be accepted and a receipt will return to Geneva.

ICRC letter to the Commandant of Auschwitz (Oswiecim, Upper Silesia), October 17, 1944 (Summary)

The ICRC announced the sending of packages to the prisoners and French and Belgian request that any facility be given to them for distribution among their compatriots.

He would be obliged to indicate the Commander the approximate number of each nationality interned in the camp, which would allow the Committee to intensify its parcel.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Minister of Prisoners, Deportees and Refugees in Paris

Geneva, October 23, 1944.

... The International Committee of the Red Cross was very pleased that the Provisional Government of the French Republic had kindly responded affirmatively to the suggestion of the International Committee concerning reciprocity of treatment that this government was prepared to give the German civilians already arrested in France or those who happen to be arrested later in France and Germany. This reciprocity needs to include the following:

a) delivery to the International Committee of the Red Cross a list of names of prisoners German civilians;

b) permission to visit by delegates of the International Committee places of residence or detention;

c) authorization to proceed with the immediate repatriation of women, men and older patients.

The first three have already been submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the German authorities, asking them to give a favorable response.

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over 12,300 packages addressed to the prisoners, 3069 receipts reached in Geneva, representing a total of 8,000 new names of civilian prisoners.

Through collective shipments, addressed to the prisoners, the file Service CCC was usefully supplemented and increased. The first acknowledgment of Dachau have come to the International Committee, 7 September already.

Financial arrangements.

The cost of "reconditioning", packing, handling, shipping and insurance against ordinary risks of transport and the risks of war amounted to fr. 3.25 per package.

The corresponding amounts have been debited to the accounts of National Red Cross, except for the costs of sending packages to prisoners Spanish and Italian civilians. Indeed, the Service CCC does not have funds for these nationalities of civilian prisoners, the respective amounts have been debited to the account "safety margin" Service CCC.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin (summary)

Berlin, November 3, 1944.

The ICRC delegation in Geneva to Berlin sends the "new forms" received from the Buchenwald concentration camp for forwarding the addresses and we send packages to the deportees.

Note of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, December 8, 1944 (Summary)

An ICRC delegate visited the camp of Oranienburg to know if the form of acknowledgment proposed by the ICRC would be accepted. This is a receipt signed by the prisoners, for householders.

This form has been accepted by the camp commander, sent a dispatch to the Norwegians was signed by three henchmen.

The delegate hoped that the same authorization be given for other nationalities. The delegate asked somebody to send packages of receipts for all householders made recently so he could get the signature of the prisoners to receive these mailings at Oranienburg.

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Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Reich (translation).

Geneva, December 9, 1944.

... Since the project said Tokio is applied by the belligerent powers, subject to reciprocity, that on one point - either in regard to civilians being on belligerent territory and who are interned - the situation of civilians in occupied territories, especially that of people arrested for various reasons, sometimes deported outside the occupied territory, remains, in many respects, uncertain and often unsatisfactory. This is that the provisions of the Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, are applied in different ways to respect the rights of the Occupying Power.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, seized by the two warring parties of the problem of protection of civilians arrested by the enemy, lets raise the question whether it would be possible to solve the problem of a manner consistent with the desires and wishes expressed by interested parties, by the simultaneous meeting in Geneva of plenipotentiary representatives of the Governments concerned that, without begin direct talks, would agree, through the International Committee of the Red Cross on a "modus vivendi" provisional everything related to civilians at the hands of the enemy.

Such agreements practical occurred repeatedly through a neutral body during the 1914-1918 war, and it is based on experiences at that time that section 83 was inserted in the 1929 Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

At the beginning of this war, the International Committee of the Red Cross attracted the attention of the belligerent Powers on the benefit of such introductions. Although, as far as the International Committee of the Red Cross is informed, no such meeting has taken place so far, the question before us - that is to say the treatment of civilian nationals from enemy states - provide an opportunity to conclude an agreement similar practice in application by analogy of Article 83 above. The Governments concerned are not currently in direct diplomatic relations through the Protecting Powers, the International Committee of the Red Cross felt bound to take the initiative for such a proposal. He stresses, however, it attaches the highest importance to the consideration of proposals submitted to the German Government in its statement of October 2, 1944 will be no delay. On the contrary, the accession of

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Powers concerned at these proposals and the beginning of an activity of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the basis stated, would create conditions favorable to an agreement, through simultaneous negotiations of the International Committee of the Red Cross with representatives of Powers concerned came to Geneva.

As discussed, according to the aforesaid note of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the principles advocated by him represent only the minimum of protection to civilians of enemy nationality who are under arrest should be eligible for humanitarian grounds. It is highly desirable that the discussions are not confined only to the treatment of these detainees, but they also address the question of the possible repatriation of certain categories such as women, the elderly, the sick and children. There would be also taken into account persons whose arrest seems to be justified, because the reasons that led to his arrest no longer exist.

Is so desirable that simultaneous examination of the problems of the release and repatriation of these prisoners, the difficulties which may arise in this regard should not in any way to prevent the conclusion of an agreement favorable and fast as possible, providing prisoners with the general facilities described in our note of October 2, 1944.

The International Committee of the Red Cross would be extremely grateful to the Reich Government to kindly respond favorably to these proposals.

Letter from the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva with representatives of Red Cross Societies of Yugoslavia, Poland, Holland, Greece, Norway, France (Ministry of Prisoners of War, visited Switzerland)

Geneva, December 19, 1944.

Some information received recently we learned that the German authorities seem to be aware that, according to the acknowledgments we received, we have prepared lists of deported from your country.

However, these authorities do not seem to want us to conduct such a census and we risk permanently compromising the few opportunities we have yet to refuel deported if we use acknowledgments, related to parcels that we mailed out to establish a list of deportees sought and found.

Confident that you share our desire to continue, as this is possible, our relief shipments if necessary to

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deported, so we inform you that we are now forced to give to the periodic submission of lists of deportees which we could obtain the names and addresses.

However, we do not want to deprive families of intelligence, so precious to them, a sign of life was received from a remote location. Therefore, any new received an International Committee deported, either through an acknowledgment of a package, either by correspondence or otherwise, will be communicated to the family without providing address where the deportee. Copy of this communication you will receive. You will be informed as before, we can get information about receiving parcels by a civilian prisoner, but more as a list. Furthermore, any individual request for information you may send us will be "stuck" and the Central Agency for Prisoners of War will reply as soon as new information will be managed.

We're sure you'll understand the reasons that compel us to introduce this new method of communication.

Letter from a man of confidence of the concentration camp at Oranienburg International Committee of the Red Cross (translation)

Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, 26 December 1944.

I acknowledge receipt of your mail Z 674, Z 254, 260, 266, Z 251 A, arrived very timely for Christmas and they were received with enthusiasm and cries of joy. On behalf of all beneficiaries, I will express the deepest gratitude. During the last shipment Z 251, no notice came to me and I wonder if other items were not shipped in the meantime. For testing, I would appreciate me constantly aware. The unaddressed mail, well packed in boxes, was easier to distribute and has satisfied the majority of prisoners. Of course the other groups: Yugoslavs, Spaniards, etc.., Were very disappointed as they have received nothing since last September and the Dutch were unable to satisfy the vast majority of their compatriots. Want you at New Year, take greater account of the latter. Toiletries, clothes, socks and sweaters, we urgently need are not there yet.

FOURTH PHASE

The German Government résou [t] capitals to make concessions in favor of prisoners of concentration camps.

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February 1, 1945, authorizes the sending of deportees from the French and Belgian territories of food parcels, clothing, medicines, and books, or as individual parcels, or as a collective parcels.

Finally, in March 1945, the agreements between the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross and General Kaltenbrunner concentration camps open to delegates of the Committee. And so begins the great crusade against hunger.

German Government's reply to the letter of the International Committee of the Red Cross of October 2, 1944, passed by the German Consulate in Geneva (translation)

Geneva, February 1, 1945.

As instructed, the German Consulate has the honor to inform the International Committee of the Red Cross in response to its letter of 2 October 1944 which was submitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs with a personal letter Mr. President of Huber, the following:

The competent German authorities have carefully considered the presentations of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the Treatment of Prisoners as a preventive (Schutzhäftlinge).

Following this review, the following measures have been ordered on this category of detainees from the French and Belgian territories.

1) An exchange of new forms of Red Cross is allowed between the detainees and their families. The necessary preparations are completed. It is anticipated that this match will start very soon. In this way the names of detainees will be known by this means, they will be able to give news of their health.

2) Inmates may receive parcels containing food, clothing, medicines and books, either as individual packages for individual recipients, or collective consignments of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3) In case of legal proceedings, inmates are informed of the reason for the complaint. This is a fundamental rule of the German Penal Code, which also provides for the delivery of the indictment to the accused.

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As long as the names and addresses of inmates will be shared with families and the International Committee of the Red Cross by postal correspondence, the preparation and dispatch of special lists seem superfluous. On the other hand, the German authorities are in principle ready to provide responses to inquiries about individual detainees.

For compelling reasons, within the national defense, it is unfortunately impossible at present to allow visits camps and places inhabited by these prisoners. The issue of repatriation of prisoners, raised in the letter of the International Committee of the Red Cross September 9, 1944, is currently under investigation. It would be important for decisions to be taken, whether the International Committee of the Red Cross is able to foresee also a repatriation of those arrested in France, in Alsace and Lorraine.

Answer the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the previous letter of German Consulate in Geneva (translation)

Geneva, February 15, 1945.

In response to your letter of 1 February 1945, containing a communication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Reich on measures taken in favor of political prisoners from France and Belgium, allow me to convey to your Government, through you , this note from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

On this occasion, the International Committee can observe, on the third point of the measures you have given us knowledge that in his opinion the possibility of a common legal defense of these detainees should be subject to measures urgent not only in criminal law proceedings in the narrower sense, but also in administrative proceedings, including police. The International Committee allows, on the other hand, to ask the Government of the Reich, as he did in his note of October 2, to kindly continue to consider the possibility that the camps could be visited by its delegates , especially for the practical organization of relief supplies and transmission of news.

The International Committee would not fail to note with real satisfaction that disclosure of the Reich Authorities, dated February 1, 1945, represents a significant advance in the status of political prisoners ...

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Note to the previous letter (translation)

The International Committee of the Red Cross has the honor to acknowledge the German Consulate in its communication dated February 1, 1945, constituting the response of the authorities of the Reich to the note on the treatment of civilian detainees to Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs dated October 2, 1944.

The International Committee is pleased to see that the authorities of the Reich, as well as French and Belgian authorities are willing to grant to the "pretrial detainees" following facilities:

A. Exchange on new forms of Red Cross. - The ICRC is deeply appreciates the decision of the German Government which is, undoubtedly, lead to the creation in this area a relaxing atmosphere.

Our experiences teach us, however, that this exchange of news can not supply the name lists. If however the establishment of such lists had to face serious practical difficulties, the ICRC intends to supplement the first shipment of a new identity card, that a person should himself undertake and which would correspond to maps of captured prisoners of war. (We would attach a copy of the proposed map.) In view of this form, the ICRC would be able to provide a list of inmates. Experience has shown indeed that such a file can not be satisfactorily established on the basis of incomplete and often illegible communications, even devoting a lot of care, time, and a large staff. The shipping news, and that the form should be completed as quickly as possible, either directly in Geneva or to ICRC delegations in Berlin and Uffing. The ICRC stands ready to provide the forms, our delegates in Berlin and the rest Uffing possess a number, written in German.

Two. Parcel collective and individual. - To ensure maximum security to be able to take those items and, already, the technical measures to facilitate them, it is not only desirable but necessary to receive the essential information concerning places of detention camps and staffing, as we receive them for prisoners of war. We would also like to know if the mail should be sent directly to the camps or distribution centers. Shipments of individual packages can they be made without limitations, or are they limited in the weight, content and number?

Three. Criminal Procedure. - Although the ICRC is convinced that the criminal proceedings applied to "pretrial detainees" observes the

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normal forms and norms of criminal law, the Committee can make a wish granted their minimum guarantees, analogous to the 1929 Convention provides for prisoners of war. The status of these detainees is different, it is true, that of prisoners of war, in that the former do not belong to any military organization, the Military Criminal Code does not apply to them and they are not subject, as to penalties on general provisions in the 1929 Convention.

4. Individual information and investigations. - In case the authorities of the Reich would not be able to provide lists of names, identity cards mentioned in figure 1, besides being singularly facilitate the task of the competent Committee, constitute the essential technical requirement for the establishment of any intelligence agency and individual relief.

The ICRC is particularly grateful to the German authorities for having granted him permission to pursue investigations directly from competent agencies. It will use as unobtrusive as possible to this permission, and then only in urgent cases.

Five. Visits of delegates. - Although aware of arguments that do not allow German authorities to consider at this time to positively address this issue, the ICRC urges the authorities to reconsider as soon as possible. It is precisely here that the Committee has received guarantees of reciprocity on the part of governments who hold German civilian internees. The Committee also believes that unbiased reports on its delegates would be able to wipe out certain noises that are likely to aggravate the plight of German civilian internees.

6. Repatriation. - It is with satisfaction that the ICRC finds that both the Government of the Reich that the French and Belgian Governments have expressed in principle favorable to the return of certain categories of civilians and "pretrial detainees." Therefore, the ICRC provides the German, French and Belgian repatriate the following categories:

1) sick, wounded, infirm old men and women and children. As for the sick and wounded, we could first apply to them the standards for prisoners of war. Children should, wherever possible, be repatriated with their parents, relatives or people who are responsible.

2) Persons against whom no prosecution was commenced, or which are the subject of any serious charge.

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3) A person may invoke limitation or lapse in respect of the facts that led to their internment.

The ICRC intends to begin as soon as possible with the repatriation of women and children, and to continue with the elderly and the sick. He is willing, if the competent authorities so desire, to examine, in agreement with the Swiss Government, the issue of transit and transportation of these persons to.

Finally, the ICRC helps to emphasize the desirability to arrange a simultaneous exchange of views with the various German offices competent in the matter, to agree as quickly as possible as to the repatriation measures and their implementation practice.

Accordingly, the ICRC reiterates the proposals he had the honor to submit to the German Government in its note of October 2, 1944, and requests to appoint a person who is officially in charge of engaging in Geneva talks planned.

Note the British Consulate in Geneva, the ICRC, February 14, 1945 (summary)

The British Consulate in Geneva, responding to the letter and the memorandum of the International Committee of the Red Cross on 16 October 1944, made known to the ICRC by the British Government, that the German civilian internees detained in Britain are guaranteed benefits "Red Cross" and that there is no analogy between them and civilians deported to Germany.

Letter from the President of the ICRC to the Consuls of the United States and Britain, of February 16, 1945

ICRC President calls on U.S. Consuls of Great Britain and Geneva, respectively transmit S. Exc. Mr. Stettinius and S. Exc. Mr. Eden, state secretaries, and by the quickest route, the following message:

"Head our delegation to Germany, returned to Switzerland for this moment short report describes situations POWs and internees as follows: evacuation east-west takes place in the toughest conditions on foot without food in cold weather. Rally of prisoners of war in transit camps denied without prejudice. New westbound always planned evacuation northwest in similar conditions.
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Civilian internees and prisoners discharged under the same conditions mentioned above and also deserve immediate relief. Delegation was able to and can control arrival of evacuees from all categories but is unable to deliver food and medical equipment dressings located in Lübeck reserves north and south Switzerland. Thus impose two primary transportation solutions through immediate relief a few hundred trucks available International Committee of the Red Cross with gasoline and other necessary accessories secondly protection against aerial action of side rail reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Employ all means at our disposal but pray at the immensity of the problem to help us in our task in the direction indicated. "
Note the German Consulate in Geneva, the ICRC on the repatriation of "pretrial detainees," the March 5, 1945

Communication addressed to the President of the ICRC, in response to its letter of 2 October 1944, suggested that the issue of repatriation of "pretrial detainees" (Schutzhäftlinge), raised in the letter of 9 December 1944 the ICRC, would be subject to a subsequent communication.

The issue has been studied since then, we can now declare that the Reich Government is ready to repatriate children, women and old French who are in Germany, provided that the German civilian internees are returned to France in their country. Proposals on the number of French who are taken into account and the practical implementation of evacuation will be submitted to the ICRC in the shortest time. It is understood that France also all the preparatory work will be undertaken immediately in order to realize this project.

Letter from SS General Kaltenbrunner confirming the agreements reached with the President of the ICRC (translation) 1

March 29, 1945.

Accordance with our agreement, I undertook, upon my return, with the competent authorities, examining the issues you

An interview with ICRC President Gen. Kaltenbrunner took place March 12, 1945. Commenting on the interview and the agreements that resulted to the delegates of the Red Cross organizations concerned and representatives of various organizations, 26 March 1945, the ICRC President stated that:
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asked. I am pleased to inform you that I saw all involved a great good will. Here in detail how I can fulfill the wishes you expressed: 1

[...]

II. Civilian internees.

1) The global exchange of all French and Belgian civilian internees against all German civilian internees, proposed by you, would greatly facilitate the French. We should release nearly 62,000 French against 15,000 interned German only. In addition, the categories are completely different. The Germans who are in French hands were interned because they remained in France, while the majority of French civilian internees held by the Germans are accused of committing serious acts against the occupying forces during the occupation of France.

However, we are willing to accept the global exchange of civilian internees to the following conditions:

a) All warranties will be given to drop the charges against the Alsace and Lorraine who have collaborated with us and acquired German citizenship, but in France, are still considered as French citizens, and they will be included in exchange, conditional to express themselves desire.

b) The charges against the collaborationist French in France will be permanently abandoned.

2) If the total return of interned civilians can not be achieved, there remains the possibility to agree on an exchange of equal numbers including Alsace and Lorraine. One could, in this case, start with the repatriation of old, the sick, women and children, as proposed by the International Committee.

In addition, consideration could be given individual exchanges, according to your proposals.

"The issue of prisoners of war, detainees and civilian internees was the subject of these talks, and now we can speak of achievements. The ICRC could visit the camps until civilian detainees. The few visits by ICRC delegates took place in the periphery of the camps. They were restricted to only contact with camp commandants. During recent conversations, cons, it was expected that the delegates could be sent to the camps, provided they remain there until the end of hostilities. "
Talks between representatives of the ICRC and representatives of German authorities on the modalities for implementing the agreements Burckhardt-Kaltenbrunner took place April 10 to April 24 and Constance to Innsbruck.
1 The ICRC does not reproduce here the passages relating to various categories of civilian detainees.
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3) The distribution by nationality and civilian internees in separate camps, as it is right now for the Norwegians and Danes, could be considered, to the extent technically possible.

4) The provision by the International Committee of the Red Cross food, clothing and medicine to civilian internees was authorized in principle by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in agreement with my services. The practical application of this measure has been the subject of talks with the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Berlin after talks which gave full satisfaction to all concerned.

[...]

IV. Polish POWs made ​​during the revolt of Warsaw Polish women and young people caught on that occasion.

Hospitalization of prisoners of war as well as women and young men captured by the Germans during the Warsaw uprising may be considered on condition of reciprocity, for example, if Britain and the United States declare their readiness to release German women they hold as members of the Wehrmacht or auxiliary services of the Wehrmacht (Auxiliary of Staff, nurses of the Red Cross).

V. Interned Jewish civilians.

Regarding the transfer of Jewish civilian internees in Switzerland, I could also see a rather favorable. In treating this problem, one should, in my opinion, consider any reciprocity or compensation, but it should show in what form and in what area the German Reich would expect compensation.

VI. For further study and technical issues listed above, I would suggest you ask your delegation to Berlin to get immediately contact the Foreign Ministry. In order to expedite the talks, I am sending a copy of this letter to your delegation in Berlin, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Commander of the concentration camp of Dachau (translation)

Geneva, April 11, 1945.

During my recent talks with the SS General Kaltenbrunner Obergruppenführer, all assistance was promised to the Committee

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International Red Cross for the supply of foodstuffs and medicines internees foreigners in Germany.

Allow me to that effect to recommend very strongly that our representative is responsible for organizing the supply of internees to your camp and its outbuildings.

To this end, four trucks and a personal car is made available with the fuel needed.

Please give our representative every facility for carrying out its task.

Letter from the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross at Camp Commandant of Mauthausen (translation)

Geneva, April 29, 1945.

During my talks with Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner, it was agreed that delegates from the International Committee would be appointed to visit the concentration camps where prisoners are foreign nationals and they remain there until the end of war. In a new interview, Apr. 24, Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner has expressly confirmed this agreement and said that necessary orders had been given. So if a camp commander refused to receive these representatives (delegates of the International Committee and nurses) it acts contrary to an order, or when the orders do not reach destination.

Please, therefore, to immediately put the bearer of this letter able to install the delegates discussed in the Mauthausen camp, I also request you to ensure that these officials may move freely within the camp and get in touch with all foreign prisoners. If these instructions are not followed, the International Committee of the Red Cross will hold you personally responsible for the consequences, in addition, inform world public opinion of your responsibility. If instead, you take all steps to facilitate implementation of agreements with Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner regarding the designation of our delegates and their stay in the camp under the conditions indicated, the International Committee of the Red Cross bear testimony of your goodwill.

Letter from the International Committee of the Red Cross to Commander of the concentration camp of Dachau

Geneva, April 30, 1945.

In line with agreements reached between the President of the International Committee of Red Cross and Obergruppenführer Kalten-

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brunner, we sent a column of 10 trucks to supply the following camps: Überlingen am Bodensee, Lichtenau, Biberach, Saulgau, Wurzach, Waldsee, Memmingen, Blaichach, Kaufbeuren, München. We shall have to give all necessary orders to the commanders of the camps to facilitate the distribution of these packages.

Telegram from the International Committee of the Red Cross to Mr. Stettinius, Secretary of State of the United States, President of the San Francisco Conference

Geneva, May 11, 1945.

Press Correspondents accredited San Francisco Conference that reported legitimate interest in media conference to spell prisoners and detainees allies in Germany and criticisms concerning ICRC activities this area, it made the following statement recognizing that you would be aware Conference San Francisco beginning : ICRC is primarily the Geneva Convention of 1929 applies to by contracting parties will only military war prisoners. Recognizing danger resulting lack any protection for civilians in territories occupied by enemy or enemies, ICRC endeavored since September 1939 get belligerents de facto application of the draft Convention adopted in 1934 by the fifteenth International Conference Red Cross and not yet ratified by Governments. Project implementation would have ensured all civil protection mentioned above. As there was no proposal ICRC resonate with belligerents it got only extension Geneva Convention to civilian internees that is to say to civilians living in enemy territory and interned at the beginning of the conflict simply because of their nationality. However, civilians in occupied territories and imprisoned for reasons other than citizenship and deported often remained private despite repeated efforts all protection ICRC in their favor. ICRC and was only allowed to visit prisoners in Germany Allied war and civilian internees whose home country was a party to Geneva Convention. The findings of its delegates were regularly brought to knowledge Governments concerned as well as his constant interventions in order to obtain all necessary improvements. In addition prisoners war and civilian internees allies could receive aid packages provided by origin countries with ICRC continued efforts successful despite transportation difficulties resulting war at sea and land route to camp until mid year 1944 about three hundred thousand tons food and clothing drugs. This action was seriously compromised from October 1944 through massive destruction railway lines due bombers, Germany

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ments and no road transport means that ICRC had yet requested urgently from early 1944 when the Allied Powers. These means be provided transportation began in autumn 1944 and only in limited quantities. Their use was authorized in Germany by Allied authorities only since March 1945 when qu'intensification air war made relief organization and handling war prisoners still more difficult. Regarding civilians imprisoned or deported and unprotected conventional ICRC could not get in any conflict penetrate inside concentration camps with few exceptions in the last few days before Allied troops arrived. Nevertheless ICRC strove at least rescue deported by sending food and medicine. Despite obstacles from German authorities and restrictions imposed by the ICRC Authorities blockade, several hundred thousand food and medicine packages were shipped to concentration camps many. ICRC also have obtained the last moment release certain categories deportees succeeded by his road convoys to evacuate Switzerland and Sweden several thousand people. Despite obstacles and all kinds and modest resources available to ICRC, this double action allowed, according to numerous witnesses deported, saving considerable amount of human lives.

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INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS

DOCUMENTS


on the activity of the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of civilians held in concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)


PART THREE

REPORTS OF DELEGATES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS ON THEIR ACTIVITY FOR CIVILIAN PRISONERS IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN GERMANY (1945)

The International Committee of the Red Cross publishes the following reports from its delegates who could be entering the concentration camps as a result of agreements reached by the President of the International Committee of the Reich with the authorities or bring relief to evacuees of these camps.

The first report, however, one refers to a period before the one where the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross are seeking by making contact with the commanders of concentration camps - while visiting the camps their remains illegal - and by discussions on site, to penetrate the mystery surrounding these camps and to obtain lists of inmates, and insurance information to facilitate the shipment of relief.

The second report, 2 general, chronicles the tireless efforts and persistent tempted by the delegation from Berlin to obtain concessions from German authorities for prisoners of concentration camps - those parallel efforts pursued by his side President of the International Committee - which were, as we shall see, at least partially successful.

1 Report No. I, page 91.
2 Report No. II, page 92.
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The following reports illustrate the last phase of the war - one where the delegates are allowed in the camps, yet not without some heated discussions on the doorstep, and may include penetrating relief convoys.

Some relate to the repatriation of prisoners to the Swiss border one, other efforts of the delegates to avoid mass evacuations 2 (Oranienburg, Ravensbrück), others the food supply of three columns of prisoners evacuated. It will include delegates from the ICRC to work in Theresienstadt 4, 5 in Mauthausen, in Dachau 6, 7 in Colmar, where their presence avoided the worst prisons in Berlin 8, where they obtained the release of many prisoners.

Some of these reports are mere "road maps" of delegates-conveyors. Often written in action, they reflect the chaotic situation then prevailing in Germany and show the character of improvisation that had to take bold action relief, wedding virtually overnight the course of events even in their confusion, without a rational plan can always be established or followed.

From fixed points - the Swiss border, the central delegation of Uffing, deposits of food Wagenitz, near Berlin, Lübeck, Moosburg - the columns of trucks had to borrow makeshift routes and byways to achieve their goals, in conditions requiring conveyors and drivers dedication and composure at all times.

1 Report No. III, page 105.
2 Report No. IV, page 111.
3 Reports Nos. V and VI, pages 120 and 123.
4 Report No. VII, page 130.
5 Reports Nos. IX and X, pages 134 and 136.
6 Reports Nos. XI and XII, pages 143 and 149.
7 Report No. XIII, page 152.
8 Report No. VIII, page 133.
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I. - Visit to the Commandant of Auschwitz an ICRC delegate (September 1944)

... Along roads, tracks Polish to be more exact, leading to Auschwitz Teschen, we met groups of men and women, framed SS, wearing striped clothes of concentration camps and forming small Kommandos (labor units). These sometimes work Kommandos to agriculture, now mine.

These people, despite the outdoor work, have all the pallid, ashen. All march in step and in rows of four; guards, rifle in hand, are the SS Division Totenkopf ...

We finally arrive at Auschwitz and, after having had the patience, we are introduced inside the concentration camp. The camp itself, we find that six to eight very large red-brick barracks. These buildings look new, all windows are barred, the camp is surrounded by a wall of concrete slabs, high wall, topped with a garnish of barbed wire.

Interview with Commander: As at Ravensbruck and Oranienburg, the officers here are both friendly and reticent. Every word is calculated and we feel the fear of missing any information.

1) The distributions of shipments made by the Committee appear to be acceptable and even governed by a general valid for all concentration camps.

2) The commander says that the packages personally addressed to an inmate are always fully reimbursed.

3) There are men of confidence for each nationality (French, Belgian, no other nationality mentioned, but certainly many others).

4) There is a "Judenältester" (Dean of the Jews), responsible for all Jewish internees.

5) Prisoners and the "Judenältester" may receive collective relief; these items are freely distributed by them. Packets arriving at a personal name unknown to the camp are given to the prisoners' nationality in question.

6) The distribution of shipments made by the Committee seems certain. We have no proof, but our impression is that the commander told the truth when he says that these distributions are regularly and that any flight will be severely punished ...

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We hope to soon send you names and numbers of inmates of Auschwitz and their nationality. Indeed, a Commando of British prisoners of war working in a mine in Auschwitz in contact with these people. We prayed the prisoners' main Teschen to strive to get the prisoners of Auschwitz Kommando all relevant information.

Spontaneously, the prisoners' main British Teschen asked us if we knew about the "shower room". It is rumored that there is indeed a camp shower room very modern where prisoners are gassed in series. The prisoners' British, through his Kommando in Auschwitz, tried to get confirmation of this fact. It was impossible to prove anything. The detainees themselves have not spoken.

Once again, coming out of Auschwitz we feel that the mystery is well kept. Yet we carry the certainty that shipments are to do as much as possible and as quickly as possible. Again, say we believe that what is sent is returned in full to detainees.

II. - Report on discussions of the ICRC delegation in Berlin and the German authorities about his activities on behalf of detainees in concentration camps

... From the beginning, at least as long as the military constellation was favorable to the Reich, the German authorities were of the opinion that concentration camps were an internal affair, which only concerned the Reich and that, therefore, no foreign power and no international organization had to deal with it. Approaches and undiplomatic bluntness with behavior would endanger the whole action of the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of prisoners of war and civilian internees on the basis of the Geneva Convention. In the years 1943 and 1944, the delegation of the International Committee in Berlin has always been concerned to establish contact with the commanders of the various concentration camps to discuss with them the question of relief shipments for prisoners of these camps. Were procured thousands of names of deportees and they could learn and their parents in the occupied territories. The ICRC relief items in the concentration camps were holding an important place in terms of collective relief of prisoners who are in Germany.

But the leaders and the true masters of the concentration camps were strangers to us and we could not achieve. Contact with Authorities interior was extremely difficult to establish because there was, in principle, a deep distrust of any organization that was not of German origin, from the authorities of the Security Service and of SS.

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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Dołączył(a): Wt lis 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Pn lip 02, 2012 10:55 am

In early January 1945, I met a member of the Foreign Ministry, Dr. Reichel, who was the liaison between the interior and the ministry itself. With its excellent relations with all offices of the SS and Security Service, Dr. Reichel has made ​​us later identified services as an intermediary.

January 9, one of our delegates had a first interview with the Chief of security and defense for political prisoners, Obersturmbannführer Dr. Berndorf. Dr. Berndorf told him the name of the Obergruppenführer Glücks, Chief of Administration of all concentration camps in Germany. Talks with Obergruppenführer Glücks took place January 11 and the results obtained at that time awakened in us the highest hopes. As we noted earlier, our efforts were to provide the concentration camps with food, clothing and medicine, to the same extent that it provided the POW camps. It goes without saying that the ICRC should control its agents to determine if the items managed well to their destination and they arrived well in the hands of inmates.

You could not get to exercise such control that through the prisoners' reliable. The text of the agreements made by the ICRC delegate with Obergruppenführer Glücks was:

1. Each side says the ICRC a principal celebrity from each of the nationalities, which will function as the main man of confidence.

2. Schedule in each camp or secondary to various concentration camps also chosen a man of confidence for each nationality, whose name is notified to the ICRC.

3. Prisoners in the camps or secondary Annexes to send the prisoners' main camp acknowledgments relief parcels sent for him to do in Geneva.

4. We can send all non-perishable food and canned in tins, coffee and cigarettes.

5. Sending warm underwear and shoes is highly desirable.

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6. We can send all drugs except narcotics.

7. The collective parcels must be sent to the Dachau concentration camp, which should be considered as the main camp of the new organization after the concentration camps in Germany.

8. The Central Reich Security (RSHA) is responsible for transportation of relief packages to the various camps of Dachau.

9. All the commanders of concentration camps were ordered from the Central Reich Security to distribute relief packages to various nationalities, according to a plan proposed by the ICRC.

10. Visits to concentration camps and camps side by delegates will be announced in Reichsführer SS Himmler. This question remains open.

This agreement is valid for political prisoners of the following nationalities: French, Belgians, Dutch, Danes, Norwegians.

We will at a future meeting if the other nationalities can also be supplied.

By the agreement and past, the ICRC delegation was able to register his credit a success that exceeded even our expectations. Unfortunately, various promises were never kept. Thus, for example, that we never could get the list of trusted men. Householders and individuals made most often the subject of acknowledgments, but, as experience has shown us later, they failed in the hands of all political prisoners. The number of inmates in concentration camps we have never been provided despite several promises. The visit to concentration camps by the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross took place only in isolated camps and only in the last days of the war. Never a frank conversation with the prisoners of various nationalities have taken place, as I know, and yet it was one of the only ways to be informed on exactly the conditions in concentration camps.

On 2 February, the ICRC delegates went to the headquarters of the concentration camps at Oranienburg to discuss various issues relating to supply of food in concentration camps and especially drugs. Standartenführer Loling, chief physician of all concentration camps in Germany, showed any understanding desirable project of the International Committee to send medicines to

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doctors prisoners and dictated on the spot order to facilitate its application to all concentration camps. In this order it was specified that the receipts indicating the receiving end should be signed only by the foreign doctors prisoners. Dr. Loling took the opportunity to report to ICRC representatives in any efforts by the Security Service of the Reich to prevent epidemics in the concentration camps, which would endanger the health of the German people. At the same time, we had a conversation with Obersturmbannführer Hoess, and the representative of the Adjutant Obergruppenführer Glücks. We went out again the great importance the ICRC attaches to the visit of its delegates in the concentration camps. The Obersturmbannführer Hoess told us that it was the Reichsführer Himmler that any decision depended on the subject, yet he promised us once again to bring the matter to the Authority to which he belonged. Regarding the lists of the prisoners and staff of various concentration camps according to nationalities, we were assured that these lists were not yet arrived. The Obersturmbannführer Hoess apologized citing the poor conditions of transmission of mail and communications. Subsequently, we were often receive even this stereotyped response to our repeated requests.

Later, our talks with the Headquarters in Oranienburg concentration camps became quite common. In the various sessions with Obersturmbannführer Hoess and Standartenführer Loling, we settled many questions of detail, yet without reaching an agreement in principle to visit concentration camps by ICRC delegates. The Reichsführer SS Himmler was confined in silence.

Between 13 and 15 March, conversations were held between President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Carl Burckhardt, and Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner. Without awaiting the outcome of these talks, the delegation in Berlin undertook new steps with the Brigadeführer Schellenberg, head of information policies. The latter occupied a prominent position among the first leaders of Germany and its influence extended no doubt to the highest spheres. Conversations with Schellenberg allowed us to distinguish in the Government of the Reich two trends that are constantly faced: one was to make certain concessions, to wage war with humane and correct, to treat prisoners according to international conventions and to grant extensive rights to the International Committee of the Red Cross, while the other supported the theory that you must have hearts and guts of steel, and advocated the need to fight to the death with no

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regard to human feelings and without making concessions to foreign propaganda or ideology humanitarian, considered a weakness. Could be admitted among the first advocates of the theory Brigadeführer Schellenberg, who exerted his influence in this direction on the Reichsführer SS Himmler. In the opposite camp were Hitler and his adjutant Bormann.

We discussed various issues. Questions regarding the concentration camps were:

A. Repatriation of French women's concentration camp Ravensbrück.

Schellenberg says that this problem must be resolved before long, he added however that there would need to consider an exchange of these women with the women's Auxiliary of the Wehrmacht being in captivity in France.

Two. Resupply of concentration camps by the ICRC, the visit by its delegates, the organization of the correspondence.

Schellenberg was very familiar with the whole problem and he promised to assist in its solution. The various issues were however still be discussed with the Gruppenführer Müller, the Security Service.

Three. The Jewish problem.

At our request if the condition of the Jews could not be made better, and if there was a hope for an end to persecution against them, Schellenberg said that we were for various tax and promised to exert his influence in this direction .

We took leave of Brigadeführer Schellenberg with the impression of having found a man with a discussion that was possible and had a broad understanding of issues of concern to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

On 23 March, the ICRC delegates went home Obergruppenführer Müller, head of Sicherheitsdienst. This interview was also provided by Dr. Reichel. Unfortunately, we do not yet know at that time the outcome of talks between President Carl Burckhardt and General Kaltenbrunner. Nor could we discuss some issues quite thoroughly. Any discussion rolled on the problem of concentration camps and was discussed in particular the following points:

A. Relief shipments to concentration camps.

We went Obergruppenführer Müller attention to the results that we had already obtained. We gave him notice that the ICRC

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had already delivered thousands of tons of food in concentration camps, and the conditions of communication between weather significantly worsened, the ICRC had decided to organize convoys of trucks from Geneva to concentration camps, as the organized camps for prisoners of war. We begged him to grant him all his help as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Obergruppenführer Müller told us that all these problems had already been discussed by President Carl Burckhardt and General Kaltenbrunner and they received a favorable solution. Relief consignments were sent to all nationalities.

Two. Correspondence to concentration camps.

The Foreign Ministry had already authorized the ICRC to provide forms of Red Cross messages to inmates of concentration camps of French and Belgian nationality. We proposed to Obergruppenführer Müller to extend this permission to all inmates of concentration camps. Red Cross trucks would bring to the camps, along with food, forms of Red Cross messages, they would win, completed during their return trip. The Obergruppenführer Müller was of the opinion that censorship would be very difficult to establish because of lack of censors. The amount of news that could be transmitted in this way depend on the number of censors that the Reich could make available.

Three. The Jewish Question.

We asked permission to visit Theresienstadt, which we had been promised long ago. The Obergruppenführer Müller said that the visit was authorized and an ICRC delegate would camp in a few days. Müller hoped that this visit would finally end the enemy's false propaganda.

Four. Visit the camp of Bergen-Belsen.

We went out to Mr. Mueller that the German authorities had promised several times to arrange a tour of the camp, but the visit was always issued at a later date. Mueller said he also knew he had this problem but again the return visit. He said the camp of Bergen-Belsen would be dissolved, that all Jews in Germany would be reunited in a single camp and that relief shipments to Jews would be allowed in principle. It is through this statement that ended the session with the Obergruppenführer Müller.

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On 30 March, an ICRC delegate arrived in Berlin on a special mission to discuss the modalities Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner repatriation of French women interned in Ravensbrück. The interview with the Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner took place in Berlin. ... April 3, during a conversation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was attended Ambassador Schmidt, Chief Warrant Kaltenbrunner, Ambassador Windecker and ICRC delegates, were arrested on the repatriation procedure of 300 French women interned in the concentration camp of Ravensbrück. As agreed during talks with President Burckhardt Kaltenbrunner, an ICRC delegate had to install in each concentration camp. As time between an ICRC delegate had gone to Prague to settle in the Theresienstadt ghetto, we asked permission and instructions to that effect. Warrant Kaltenbrunner replied that he had yet to discuss this with Kaltenbrunner himself.

On April 4, I made a visit to the Headquarters of Oranienburg. We saw there all presiding officers: Standartenführer Loling, Obersturmbannführer Hoess with all staff as part of his administration. They discussed various matters of detail and there was a meeting with the prisoners. There was naturally no question of a maintenance free, because the confrontation occurred in the presence of all SS. Prisoners were visibly impressed and frightened; only the prisoners' Dutch dared speak a little more openly. We were very cautious in our questions, because we did not want in any way compromising the prisoners. And told me later the prisoners' Yugoslav, it was specified before the interview, exactly what questions the prisoners could answer or not. In particular, they were strictly forbidden to communicate the number of prisoners of various nationalities.

Letters of recommendation to all commanders of concentration camps were established on behalf of two ICRC delegates: these letters were of great service thereafter. Wishing to send a permanent delegate to the concentration camp of Buchenwald, I went Obersturmbannführer Hoess attentive to the promise made in this direction by General Kaltenbrunner and asked him an entry permit and a "residence permit" in the camp for this delegate. The Obersturmbannführer Hoess replied that he was in this case go first to his leader, Reichsführer SS Himmler, such an agreement it is unknown. I recommended to delegate to go anyway without permission in Buchenwald and seeking to enter the concentration camp. For my part, I wanted to do all

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necessary steps in Berlin to obtain approval as quickly as possible.

April 5, I went to Prague to put me in touch with the authorities of the Security Service of the city and to visit the Theresienstadt ghetto.

Took place on April 6 visit to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where we had to have important conversations with Dr. Weineman, head of Sicherheitsdienst the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia," and with the Oberführer Eichmann, an expert in all matters Jewish. It went from Berlin to Prague to discuss with ICRC delegates various matters concerning Jews. The Oberführer Eichmann played a key role in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Lublin. As I released it, it was the direct agent Reichsführer SS for all Jewish questions. In a reception was given to Hradschin, I had the opportunity to talk with these two men late into the night and examine the wide range of issues. What particularly interested in what the ICRC was not that housing conditions and facilities of the Theresienstadt ghetto as ghetto as to whether this was only used transit camp for Jews and how much of the deportations took place towards the is (Auschwitz). According to what I had seen in the Theresienstadt ghetto, the dean of the Jews, Dr. Eppstein, prisoners of the camp, had been deported to Auschwitz along with many others. Therefore, I asked Dr. Weineman, bluntly, when the deportations took place and in what proportions. Dr. Weineman replied that the last transports to Auschwitz dated about six months. These were 10,000 Jews who had been employed to expand the Auschwitz camp and who would, for the most employees in the administration. Thousands must have been employed in work of retrenchment. According to Dr. Weineman, there was no communication between these people and Theresienstadt. He added that he knew nothing else about their fate they had probably been taken by the Russians who had meanwhile penetrated into this region. He said that the transfer of these Jews had not taken place at his command but he obeyed an order from above.

During the evening, Eichmann developed his theories about the Jewish problem. In his view, Jews from Theresienstadt were much better off as regards food and medical care that many Germans. He says that Theresienstadt was a creation of the Reichsführer SS Himmler wanted to give Jews the possibility of a common life in the ghetto of the camp under Jewish leadership and with autonomy

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almost complete, we wanted to awaken the sense of racial community. Jews from Theresienstadt were then transported in a region where they live quite apart, separated from the general German population.

With regard to the general problem of the Jews, Eichmann was of the opinion that Himmler was being considered at that time the introduction of humane methods.

Eichmann personally do not entirely approve of these methods but, as a good soldier, he obeyed blindly the orders of course Reichsführer. At this meeting, I persuaded Dr. Weineman the need to establish an ICRC delegation in Prague. The delegate in this city should have the opportunity to visit the Theresienstadt camp at any time.

I mentioned also the concentration camp Theresienstadt, which was immediately adjacent to the ghetto, and I received a half-assent to such a visit. I would naturally have preferred that the delegate of Prague could establish his home in Theresienstadt. Dr. Weineman petitioned telegraph about it in Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner, but until I left, he got no answer.

Later in the evening, I expressed the desire to Eichmann to visit the camp of Bergen-Belsen. Eichmann said that the camp was a typhus epidemic broke out and the authorities of the Reich attendants in hygiene and health the fighting with all means at their disposal. He promised to visit the camp with me in the days ahead. This visit could not be performed because there was more I can reach Dr. Eichmann in Berlin.

On this promise of Oberführer Eichmann and the word of honor of Dr. Weineman that no Jew would be more remote from the Theresienstadt camp that I took leave of my interlocutors.

When I left Prague, April 8, to Berlin, the military situation had changed greatly at the expense of Germany. Russian troops advanced towards the capital. From the west, the Anglo-American advance was still more progress. A second convoy of 300 inmates at Ravensbrück concentration camp could not make their way south, indeed, the grave danger of attacks by aircraft at low altitude prevented us from taking responsibility for transport to 300 women severely weakened by a long detention. The road train with many trucks were used to transport food from Lübeck to the concentration camps of Ravensbruck and Oranienburg.

April 12, we were informed that, on orders from the Gestapo, all identification papers and records relating to prisoners in the camps and those who are political prisoners in prisons, had been destroyed. The purpose of this measure was sufficiently

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clear. The Security Police the Reich was to wipe out all compromising papers. This measure included the danger at the last moment we give himself over to mass executions. Political prisoners had become a herd anonymous. That we posed a clearly defined task: respond vigorously with the authorities of the Reich and the leaders of the SS who were known to us.

April 13, we had a meeting with the Minister Schmidt, to whom we communicated our concern. Mr. Schmidt made us receive the Gruppenführer (Lieut.-General SS) Müller and by officials of the Ministry of Justice of the Reich. We also promised his full support, and kept his word during the following days.

The very next day, we could see Ministerialrat Gruppenführer Müller and Dr. Franke, representative of the Ministry of Justice of the Reich. Both officials we formally declared that there would be no reprisals or summary judgment at the last moment. We sent written confirmation of these two conversations. Here is a copy of the letter we sent to Gruppenführer Müller:

Berlin, April 16, 1945.

Mr. General,
We hasten to thank you for the interview that you kindly give us 13 April 1945, and have the honor to confirm briefly the substance.

Moved by the plight of victims of war, we expressed the willingness to extend the relief that the International Committee of the Red Cross provides them, by analogy, to inmates in prisons as it is authorized, as a result of agreements Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner and Mr. Burckhardt, President of the ICRC, to the benefit of inmates of concentration camps. This measure in favor of political detainees should extend at least to outside issues that have been arrested in Berlin, or near, for political or military.

You kindly welcome to book our vow, but have drawn our attention to the fact that some detainees are not covered by the Security Police, but the Ministry of Justice of the Reich. In response to your suggestion, we went to this Department through the Minister Schmidt also where we met a spirit of understanding. Accordingly, we will send you please make a pass for our delegate, allowing him to personally distribute relief packages and enter this purpose at any time in prison.

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During our interview, we felt obliged to inform you of the anxiety that exists among this category of prisoners, as a result of insecurity among inmates that create the measures taken to defend the capital. Furthermore, it is rumored that the other day, records and identity documents were destroyed, which has sparked fears of giving secret instructions executive power extended to subordinate bodies of the judiciary.
It is with great satisfaction that we have taken note of your formal statement that retaliation would not be executed or special courts set up, which would result in irreparable damage.

We believe that in these difficult times of instructions to this effect, your subordinate services, help to facilitate our business to mitigate the material and moral consequences of war, in addition, your friendly attitude made us see the possibility of strengthen the moral situation of our delegates to the interests of German prisoners of war ...

A similar communication was addressed to Mr. Ministerialrat Dr. Franke, representative of the Ministry of Justice of the Reich.

The following day, the situation became critical to the concentration camps of Oranienburg and Ravensbruck. It was expected that, despite promises, extreme measures were taken against offenders. I endeavored, therefore, reach the Brigadeführer Schellenberg, to get through it, the consent of the Reichsführer SS Himmler that are placed camps of Ravensbruck and Oranienburg under the protection of a delegate International Committee of the Red Cross, which would ensure the delivery of these camps to Russian military authorities upon arrival. Unfortunately, I could see that WO Schellenberg, Brigadeführer itself being away from Berlin at that time.

April 20, I had about it a new interview with Mr. Schmidt, who introduced me again with the Gruppenführer Müller.

Mr. Mueller received me on the evening of April 20, 1945 at his headquarters near Great Wannsee. Müller, who usually showed himself unmoved, showed a visible nervousness. This is the sound of distant gunfire from Russian artillery that the latter decisive interview took place. Müller I reminded all the promises that were made. I referred to the agreements between Mr. Burckhardt and Kaltenbrunner; I told him that concessions from authorities of the Reich, made a late hour, would be perhaps a serious booster at a later time. I insisted that the promise is kept Kaltenbrunner, that ICRC delegates could enter the concentration camps. Müller I respond-

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said on this point: "The Russians are 10 kilometers of Oranienburg, how do you want your delegates arrive? "To which I replied:" That's our business. "I offered to return the Oranienburg concentration camps at Ravensbrück and an ICRC delegate and remove these SS camps. On this proposal, Müller replied that such a decision acted beyond its powers and that he must first consult with Himmler. He promised a reply before 10 o'clock the same evening. On the other hand, he allowed me to place under ICRC protection of the transit camp of the Jewish Schulstrasse 78, in Berlin and the Jewish Hospital of Iranische Strasse 2, also in Berlin.

At ten o'clock we had received no response from Müller. We decided, therefore, to send a delegate to Oranienburg for talks with local authorities. I gave him a letter for Obersturmbannführer Hoess. The departure of the delegate was delayed several hours by an air raid against Berlin. It was 3 o'clock in the morning he left the delegation, to cross the German lines to reach the camp of Oranienburg. On the morning of April 21, he already came back, after being received by the Obersturmbannführer Hoess and Standartenführer Keindl. Our delegate unfortunately could not enter the camp of Oranienburg, a contrary order of the Reichsführer SS Himmler had come against it.

A few hours later I was called by telephone by Hoess, he told me that, on the orders of Himmler, the Oranienburg camp was being evacuated to Wittstock. Prisoners should be a journey of 100 miles on foot. We were shown the various stages, and general management. Hoess insisted on sending Red Cross parcels, because the supply was very inadequate.

This unexpected communication posed new problems. Fortunately, we established a repository of packages for Red Cross to our secondary deposit of Wagenitz. On the other hand, it was urgent to contact Lübeck and to this city from the columns of trucks to the steps. Entire company was very risky because planes were strafing the roads that were on the other hand, completely cluttered with military columns from the front. The route to be followed by detainees in part crossed the "no man's land". This dangerous enterprise, however, was not delayed a moment, because we knew it was a matter of life or death for 50,000 inmates. Meanwhile, I received another phone Gruppenführer Müller confirming the evacuation of Oranienburg.

Around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, a delegate, accompanied by a driver, left the delegation to monitor the evacuation of the camp and to bring food Wagenitz.

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April 22, the driver pulled up to the delegation and confirmed that the relief operation had begun. We brought together a report of the ICRC delegate, saying that the evacuation was proceeding in inhumane conditions. On the roads, the detainees had the appearance of skeletons on. The stragglers were mercilessly executed by their SS guards. The delegate told us however that the arrival of ICRC delegates had produced a deep impression among the guards and also among the prisoners themselves. The active intervention of our representative had already prevented many misfortunes.

In these circumstances, I decided to send a final urgent appeal to the Superior Authority responsible for concentration camps, so, if possible, to prevent the evacuation of the camp at Ravensbrück in similar conditions. The only commanders that could still be achieved in the general disorder were Obersturmbannführer Hoess and the two commanders of the camps of Oranienburg and Ravensbruck. Hoess had phoned me that he went to Ravensbrück.

April 23, one of the ICRC delegates, accompanied by a driver, went to Ravensbrück. We gave him a letter to Hoess which reads:

April 22, 1945.

I just received a report of our delegates were able to distribute the packages to the columns of prisoners from the camp of Oranienburg / Sachsenhausen. We were able, despite many difficulties, these packets get our deposit Wagenitz. Unfortunately, it is only a modest relief, I hope, however, it will be possible to transport packages of our central depot in Lübeck to the different stages.

I take this opportunity to draw your attention to the plight that befell indescribable on prisoners as a result of the evacuation of the camp. These people are so weak that they have the greatest difficulty to crawl. We are told that the guards are guilty of excess and the stragglers were shot.

I am convinced that these excesses do not correspond to you and find your way approval. Unfortunately, I can not, for now, to reach the Reichsführer SS or some other responsible person; I would therefore contact the urgent appeal on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross, not to evacuate the camp of Ravensbrück if the evacuation should take place in such deplorable conditions at Oranienburg.

I send you a relevant Deputy, I beg you to allow him to enter the concentration camp Ravensbrück and

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if necessary, to entrust the responsibility of writing camp. For his part, he will give every guarantee as regards the supply of the camp.
Thus the die was cast. Everything humanly possible was done to ... Without displaying the slightest pretense, we can say that with our latest initiative, thousands of unfortunate prisoners have been spared. The appearance of the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the middle columns of such exhausted, hunted down and sentenced to certain death, for they constituted an invaluable moral support. Furthermore, columns of trucks arrived from Lübeck city with which, despite all the difficulties, we could make contact, as well as those from Wagenitz, could supply these hungry and transport the sick and exhausted prisoners to Schwerin in the region occupied by the Americans. The presence of delegates created the SS guards in a very strong impression. Psychological reasons are obvious: the war operations were drawing to an end, and many guards, no doubt, were overwhelmed by the fear of their responsibilities.

As I said the prisoners of Yugoslav camp Oranienburg, which was part of a column of prisoners, the appearance of columns of the Red Cross in the forest of Below had the effect of a miracle. A unanimous cry escaped the masses of such exhausted and hungry: "The International Red Cross! We are saved! "

III. - Report of a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the repatriation of prisoners of Ravensbrück

March 26, 1945, I leave with a convoy of cars in the International Committee of the Red Cross, Constance, went to Stalag IV D to Torgau to make packages for Red Cross. This fact, on March 28, I had to discharge my second task, in accordance with my orders: I "to Berlin to recover from the Committee a letter from the President of the International Committee to discuss and Kaltenbrunner Obergruppenführer with him on behalf of the International Committee. " This was to continue talks begun in Germany by the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross with the German authorities on the repatriation and exchange of war prisoners and deportees, their refueling Cross parcels Red and the visit to concentration camps by the delegates of the International Committee.

As the first interviews, 29 March, with the Federal Foreign Office only lead to a promise of the German administration to study the issue, I decided to go directly to the highest

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instances, if possible to Himmler, Interior Minister and Reichsführer SS, because I knew it at once the sole jurisdiction in this area and usually relatively accessible to this kind of interviews.

I leave Berlin northbound, March 30, intending to go to the Reichsführer SS and make a visit to Ravensbrück concentration camp which is on my way and I want to go out and bring in Switzerland, with my car, a first convoy of 300 women ...

At the camp entrance, the barrier is lifted. However, we stop our Ford painted white before the guardhouse where we are greeted by a German, from the Volga, as we learned later. Not knowing what little German, he called the chief of the column, which explains that the road to Templin is left along the camp he refuses to believe that we want to enter the camp and we are committed to making a detour. He can not understand our request to speak to the captain and says he is absent, having had to leave early. We parlementons for five minutes about whether or not I can go to headquarters by car and then I told him the Prussian I'll go straight to the commander and he gives me a guide, if convenient . He bows stiffly and, my driver and I, we head to a large building in front of the real entrance to the camp, and are bringing the car right outside the gates through which inmates must pass and through which we see the great Camp Street and a few huts.

The driver remains in the car as an observer while I am trying to send to Commander, Sturmbannführer Suhrens. I immediately offers a cigarette to the sub-duty officer and told him: "Take me immediately to the Commander. "He was preparing to obey and ahead of me, but turned suddenly and said he must first make sure the phone if I can be admitted. "I announced, but I'm late," I said, hoping to avoid checking my papers because I did not even hand in the simplest passes. But this gray man and the mine flourishing Unterscharführer SS, with the insignia of the regiment "Skull" can not be convinced. He telephoned the Commander, I give my name and grade as indicated: doctor-Lieutenant. While he continues his phone conversation, I'm about to climb the first steps of the marble staircase that an inmate of the camp is busy polishing ...

Arrived on the first floor, I knock on the office door and asked the Commander. It is not there, it's camp, they reply dryly. What I ordered: "Take me to him immediately, this is urgent! "A few moments of discussion about who should accompany me, then an SS invites me to follow him. The UVD

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phone always. We reach the gate is opened. The sentry immediately interested in my condition of civil claimed my ID, passes, permission, etc.. - All things I miss. He finally asked how I could reach so far and stated that this is unlikely, it must stop ... I take the Prussian manner that allowed me to pass the lines of iron and refuses any information, I have to make that account Commander and it's me "bring it" as soon as possible. But the sentry invoke its formal written orders. It expresses, however, exceptionally agree to let me go no further, provided immediately leave the camp, the spies with nothing to look there ...

He refuses my cigarettes, to have an adequate reporting. When finally I present as a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross is my man a little more polite, but I close all the more firmly around back to the other side of the grid. He asks in passing if I made some Red Cross parcels and declares himself satisfied, as there is in there good things, especially the chocolate is delicious. We pursue an ultimately unimportant maintenance on the camp and held and I during this time the opportunity to observe the activity of the gate of the camp ...
TBC
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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Dołączył(a): Wt lis 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Pn lip 02, 2012 10:56 am

Several groups held walk unattended in columns and rows of three or five, on the main floor of the camp. I try to discover in the direction of the crematorium clouds of smoke, but in vain. We see many women with civilian clothes, carrying crosses in the back coats with red crosses, yellow, are many, but the majority wear the uniform in gray and blue stripes. Almost all women have hoofs, most even stockings. It is probably detachments of workers who also work outside the camp.

At thirty yards from me about two women with white hair, stooped are busy removing weeds, scraps of paper on the floor. As I got closer I see they have the sunken cheeks, swollen bellies and swollen legs near the ankles, the skin has an earthy appearance. Suddenly came a whole column of these unfortunate hungry. In each row, one patient was supported or dragged by his comrades, a young SS guard, a wolf dog breed in hand, leading the column, while two other girls follow, constantly insulting these poor creatures. As this show makes me forget the conversation, the guard grabbed me politely, but firmly by the arm and said: "It is there that you will find the camp commander, do you advertise, please, under the Regulations, do not tell anyone that you have been so far. "" As for you, comrade. " he said to my guide's office, "species

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donkey, be careful because you might get into trouble. Today I'm in a good mood, it will, but ... "My guide asks me to leave immediately, but I still claim the Commander and I appeal to this end, a little further, a Obersturmführer appeared on the road. This also calls for my papers, declaring the law as having SS chief, and even if I came directly from "Sicherheitsdienst" (security service). So I must identify myself and he told me that the Commander can not see me, he is busy in the camp and that, without special permission from the Gestapo or Sicherheitsdienst, I could by no means enter the camp , however I would have some chance to see the Commander if I want to wait up to 16 hours. Can not wait that long because I have to go as quickly as possible to H., in the Reichsführer SS.

Despite many difficulties, my efforts are successful, and April 5, 1945, the trucks of the International Committee of the Red Cross, emmènent concentration camp of Ravensbrück to Switzerland deported 299 French and a Polish woman, who will then join their homeland.

Meanwhile, the trucks had traveled to Lübeck to Torgau in search of Red Cross parcels and make camp Oschatz. Duly equipped with a pass of the Central SS, I return April 3 at Ravensbrück to prepare for the transportation of prisoners. The camp commander receives me very kindly, posing as a good father of concern for her children as prisoners. He offered me cigarettes and American Swiss, promising me all possible assistance for such transportation and seems very pleased with this visit of the International Committee of the Red Cross. But questions about the number of inmates in the camp, the distribution of Kommandos, what to do in case of arrival of the Russians and other such questions, he refused to give any details. For him, the situation is by no means as bad as people say, he speaks of food stocks that they propose to do to hard times, new construction to deal with an overcrowded camp, etc..

At 20 pm. we quickly all around the camp, which teaches me nothing and should only deceive me. When I ask to see women designated for transport, the Commander escapes, but still gives me a list with all names.

In a canteen, I see the SS men who supped and, in a dorm that did not seem crowded, an SS guard who made the call. As it was all deceit, I hereby waive continue my tour, since I can not come into contact with inmates and that all my questions about abuse,

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diseases, punishment and torture, they reply that they are calumnies spread by enemies of the state.

I'm going back to H., where Count Folke Bernadotte came to discuss the fate of the Danish and Norwegian prisoners in concentration camps. I must first join the column of trucks is supposed to be there.

April 5, at 6 pm. morning, I go to camp and asks to see the Commander to attend the call of the 300 women who should accompany me to Switzerland. He's gone, nobody knows I have to make a transit; nobody wants to let me or take me to the Commander. A noncommissioned officer tells me that a strict order came to all enlisted men, that women should be treated with kindness and directed to the trucks on the main road, but that no one should enter the camp. At 7 h. appear the first hundred women. Vision of horror and misery that these poor creatures starving, neglected, frightened, suspicious, wicked clothing dressed foreigners. They may believe they will finally move away from their tormentors and be free and they take me for an agent in the pay of the SS who will lead them into the gas chamber. They can barely understand that they will leave for Switzerland, and those who allow themselves to be persuaded then beg me to take as their peers. Many of them are unable to climb into trucks without help. Most had edema of hunger, ankles and swollen bellies, edema of the eyelids. Each had received provisions for three days, but to drive away, they throw themselves on it with avidity in five minutes the sausage, butter and cheese are gone and half of their bread.

Among the last hundred was a 60 year old woman, unable to walk alone and supported by two young prisoners; alone, she could not even stand up. I asked, at the talks, it gives me for this first transport of women that robust and resistant, I did not take this woman whose health did not permit such a trip. But all his friends begged me to take him, promising to take special care. Seeing that she was recovering well after taking a tonic, I began to administer medication to lower blood flow and tonics to prepare for the trip. Fortunately, among the women, women doctors had won the camp a few medicines.

While the Canadian prisoners of war - which, as drivers have made me the most valuable services and who also showed moved and appalled by this distress, - helped me to

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raise these women drive, a stout SS and joined me, pushing me aside with his elbow, unceremoniously addressed me: "It would be better to die than those damn pigs continue to let them eat our bread and finally again let them return home, the dirty ... "He shouted. Perhaps he was for him and I told him: "No doubt, you will not have to suffer in coming months as these poor women, because the others are too civilized to treat even a mortal enemy so as cruel and unworthy. "

When boarding, we witnessed the tone, screams and animal names with these French, almost all ardent patriots, were rewarded by their guardians. The blows rained down on them ruthlessly. On the face, back, everywhere you could knock. Of course the crowd did not diminish as long, and only women could estimate SS practice of trying to get twenty women redundant in the same car.

None of the prisoners had received back the clothes that had been removed upon arrival at camp. None had a single paper, none saw the jewels and money they had on them at the time of their arrest. Old and young, they had to make the trip dressed in old clothes worn, almost tattered, much too long or too short, and many had their heads shaved.

We tried to make me believe that the objects "filed" had been placed elsewhere in security as a precaution, because of the bombing, to my remark that it seemed unlikely that one would have expected from as far evolution of war, I have not answered nothing. However, this did not prevent the Camp Commander to recommend me the most amiable tone not to add any credence to the gossip of the women, all, he said, criminals, scoundrels, scoundrels ...

Following the French released, several columns of prisoners left the camp to get to work. As this was still Kommandos selected, the sight of these columns was hurrying infinitely less depressing the show truly tragic that we had before our eyes.

Two young matrons SS took leave of some of their "protected" with friendly words, one even tried to wish them "bon voyage" in French, but the Bavarian an SS officer recalled to order without delay, "a German n 'not to allow too foolish ways of speaking ... "

Confidence, in these women, at the beginning if fearful, gradually increased, they began to believe they were going to freedom. Something must have changed because they would never have imagined such a transformation in their executioners. We

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screamed the least possible effort was made to seem civilized and especially sought to keep the three Swiss and Canadian prisoners away from these women. Six officers of Criminal Police, one of which belonged to the following Himmler, were, in that transport, servants to our surveillance and that of these women.

The women knew from where the clothes on their backs. However, I had to H., the opportunity to see, in a cellar, veritable mountains of clothes all the same, on which were still sewn yellow stars the Jews, the Kommando who worked at Ravensbrück H. was ordered to remove. H. A, before April 5, there was great entertainment. I have a Polish Ravensbrück, with which I was long illegal in communication, as well as a nurse at the German Red Cross, having observed these facts.

At 9:00, we left with our transportation Ravensbrück, with hopes of returning soon. After a long stay in Hof, which allowed the women to rest at last exhausted, relax, we arrived on the evening of April 9 in Switzerland. Here, only those 300 women, victims of an inhuman terror, finally understood that the hour of freedom had come for them.

Military operations have unfortunately prevented our return to Ravensbrück but, on the basis of our agreements, new transport could take place, from other camps.

Dated April 19, 1945, the Deputy Chief of all the concentration camps of Germany, Obersturmbannführer Hoess, informed the head of the ICRC delegation in Berlin, the Oranienburg concentration camp was to be evacuated from one moment to another and requested the ICRC delegation to bring food to evacuees.

An ICRC delegate was charged with this mission and left the following in the direction of Oranienburg to control the distribution of these packages and personal accounting conditions of life and disposal of political deportees.

On the night of April 22, 1945, an ICRC driver, from Wagenitz, appeared at the delegation in Berlin with a message announcing that the concentration camp at Oranienburg and the Kommandos were dependent on the camp in motion. Countless columns of political prisoners were heading on foot towards the west. These inmates were in great distress.

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As it was feared that the concentration camp Ravensbrück Women do should suffer the same fate, I was instructed to go to Sachsenhausen Ravensbrück, to obtain the surrender of the camp until the arrival of Russian troops.

I departed on the morning of April 23 carrying a letter to the Obersturmbannführer Hoess, who at that time as Chief of Internal Administration camps at Ravensbrück and Oranienburg. The route to Wagenitz Wannsee (50 kilometers) lasted over five hours (route we usually did in one hour) as the road was blocked by the Berlin-Hamburg refugees from Pomerania and around Berlin and s 'were going to meet the Americans. Make their way through this human stream flowing to the West was impossible, he had to be content to follow suit. There was everything on this road. Trucks and cars of the Wehrmacht (even artillery pieces) were mixed with "treks." These "treks" - which strangely reminiscent of the "Conquest of the Far West" of the last century - advanced slowly and so near each other, at regular intervals stopped bottling column. And amid this, refugee men and women of all ages and especially lots of children, trailing for most all types of vehicles (tanks arm, strollers, bicycles, wheelbarrows, etc.). Charged with meager belongings and often unnecessary things. This human herd was far from resembling the evacuations of last January when the Russians came to the Oder. At that time the evacuation was organized and was methodically ...

... But what about the evacuations of April. They are no longer organized convoys that we see. This is the complete mess. There are more leaders. We live day to day. The fugitives slept there and eat the victuals they brought with them or they are able to find locally. Sometimes it is a horse or an ox that died exhausted at the roadside. So we rushed to the poor animal and starts the kill. The weak are left behind.

It is with these columns as I reached the end of the afternoon Wagenitz ... and I took the road to Ravensbrück, where I arrived in the evening.

Immediately introduced to the Commander of the camp, Sturmbannführer Suhrens, I explained the reasons for my visit and my desire to have a talk with the Obersturmbannführer Hoess to whom I should submit a personal letter from the head of the ICRC delegation in Berlin . Suhrens informed me that Hoess was not there, he had had a car accident (?) And it was unlikely that we can achieve it. I explained the plight of evacuees from Oranienburg, describing the horrific scenes in-

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which had attended the night before an ICRC delegate, while drawing attention to the grave responsibility of leaders who tolerated such excesses.

I explained my plan: submission of Ravensbrück concentration camp in an ICRC delegate in drawing up a protocol; possibility of expelling (leakage) of all SS; interview with the confidants of the camp to ensure feeding deported; maintenance order in the camp until the Russians arrived.

Suhrens refused my proposal, saying he had received from the Reichsführer SS Himmler specific instructions on this subject: the camp was to be evacuated. Suhrens considering the military situation with optimism. The Russian would not only be stopped in its advance, but repressed in its steppes. The cons-offensive would be launched soon to lightning.

He had already established his escape plan, he handed me. On a wall map, he pointed the steps to be followed by columns of prisoners. Evacuation of 500 to 1000 women, "Oestliche" (Russians, Ukrainians, Romanians, Serbs, etc..) Towards Malchow. The steps were 25 to 40 km. per day. Unfortunately, the notes I had taken about it disappeared a few days later with a car. Suhrens assured me that the barracks and kitchens were already installed at different locations. Each woman was with her a Red Cross parcels. As for "Westliche" (French, Belgians, Dutch, Scandinavian, etc.). Including Polish, they would be evacuated either by train or by bus from the Swedish Red Cross (for the Nordics only), and by columns ICRC trucks that brought packages of Lübeck ...

In vain I sought to Suhrens not to evacuate "Oestliche" walk, but to leave the camp or transporting them in cars, trucks or train. Suhrens replied that it was impossible, that only patients - numbering about 1500 - would remain in camp.

During the interview, I tried several times to know the size of the camp. As I articulais the figure of 100,000, he said that the number was greatly exaggerated, that the camp had never reached this figure. I advanced the figure of 50,000. Again, he escaped ... Suhrens admitted only the following figures: 3000 would be evacuated by train, buses and trucks by 4000 Red Cross, 7000 would leave the camp on foot and about 1,500 sick and unable to walk would stay no matter what. Which would roughly 17,000 in total.

Despite my many questions, it was impossible to know even approximately the number of Commandos and their staff ...

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At nine o'clock the next day, the first columns of women in striped suits awaiting departure to the headquarters. They were heavily supervised by SS guns. Any further discussion was unnecessary. I went home, however, the camp commander, who received me very politely again. He spoke of the good spirit that prevailed among his wives ("meine Frauen," he said speaking of the remote) and was pleased to show me letters of recognition (sic) that the women had sent him. While I was talking with a woman appeared to him to SS Suhrens who asked a question that escaped me. SS replied "sind doch die Akten vernichtet". 1 As I turned toward the open window, I clearly observed in the reflection of the glass sign that Suhrens him. He then presented me and taking me to witness, asked him questions relating to evacuation of a Kommando of East Berlin, I believe, which took place a few days earlier. According to him, this evacuation was perfect in every way. The women had been "menschlich behandelt" 2, she said. Still, in his words, women who had had some trouble keeping had the opportunity to climb on the tanks that followed the columns and they had recorded "keine Verluste" 3. Suhrens raised his arms triumphantly and say "Sie Sehen! Sehen Sie! "4.

Having sent his subordinate Suhrens began to make me a long apology of the system of concentration camps and spoke of the remarkable results that had been achieved, and thanks to the work, the "Enlightenment" and the "Erziehung "5. Everything we had written and told about the concentration camps was a terrible "Greuelpropaganda" 6. I convinced him that indeed the concentration camps had a strange reputation abroad, that the mere fact of that word made people shiver. I pointed out further that this was perhaps due to the fact that no international body never had the opportunity to visit one of these camps. Suhrens replied that this depended on the authorization "höheren Dienst [st] ellen", 7 but to prove that the unfounded rumors that are spread out, he was ready to make me

1 "archives were destroyed."
2 "treated humanely".
3 "no loss".
4 "you see."
5 "instruction and education".
6 "atrocity propaganda".
7 "higher authorities".
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visit the camp. I took him at his word and a few minutes later we were inside the camp.

At first glance, not much difference with the POW camps, there is the large square in the center, different buildings are arranged around it, very close to each other. On the square, there is great commotion. We are currently proceeding with the appeal of women who will be evacuated. At the call of his name, each woman is placed in the column by four. The call is in Russian (it is therefore of Russian women). The prisoners themselves who are responsible for this work under the supervision of SS women. Elsewhere, it cleans and scrubs. We feel that the camp will be liquidated.

Suhrens made me see everything, the barracks, kitchen, infirmary, sanitary facilities, laundry, cells for women and other buildings yet. Looking closer, I noticed that the huts contained beds and three-story cube of the air was clearly insufficient. The kitchen is a modern facility such as we see in plants and in some camps for prisoners of war. At the infirmary, they are prisoners who work as nurses, they are all dressed in white. The hospital itself has several large rooms all well appointed (operating room, dressing, etc..). The library contains several thousand volumes, most in German. The "Arrestlokal" is a stone building with two floors, with covered courtyard. Several cells were opened and I was surprised to find the perfect installation of these cells and cleanliness that prevailed. Each cell contains a metal bed with two blankets, a chair, a sink with running water and a mirror, a toilet bowl flush. The camp does not have a chapel. To the east of the camp are several buildings which access was not permitted me. The "Sturmbannführer" Suhrens told me that they were textile factories working for the Wehrmacht.

Random (was it really a coincidence?) Suhrens calling to a woman, asked her if she was mistreated, how many times a day she was beaten and had she to complain about anything. Naturally, no one complained. Instead, they were only praises addressed especially to the Commander of the camp. And each response, Suhrens turned to me and said gravely: "Bitte" 1. SS women were also interviewed. Suhrens asked if they mistreated prisoners. They all responded with an air of offended 'aber das ist doch each

A "please. "
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verboten "1. "And if you beat them? "Continued to question Suhrens. "Werden wir bestraft Dann" was the answer 2.

On leaving the camp, I was about to ask Suhrens show me the gas chamber and crematorium. I have not done yet. Some time later - it was in the month of May, I met in a Berlin street a woman dressed in rags. In the back she showed signs of the concentration camps, the big X. She said she returned from Ravensbrück walk (about 100 km.) And that the camp had been issued by the Russians. It was an Austrian who had been brought to the camp for the mere fact, she said, to have a Jewish husband. As she railed against "those bloody SS", I asked him where were the crematorium and gas chamber. "Under the great place," she replied. So it was in this large square, the square on which was a great movie when I was there a month earlier. At that time, I was far from suspecting that it was under my feet that hundreds, perhaps thousands of unfortunate were gassed and cremated. I also asked her what she thought of Sturmbannführer Suhrens. "Ein Gauner wie die anderen" 3.

On our return to Vorlager it was announced that the Sturmbannführer Suhrens Standartenführer Keindel, commander of the camp of Oranienburg had just arrived. I asked immediately to see him.

Keindel received me so remote. I explained the purpose of my visit to Ravensbrück after the atrocities committed by the SS on the roads leading to the Oranienburg Wittstock. Keindel challenged the thing. And when I put him under the nose a copy of the letter that I had to rely on the Obersturmbannführer Hoess and I remarked that an ICRC delegate and two drivers had witnessed the killings, said he Keindel was perhaps possible that the SS soldiers had shortened the suffering of some prisoners who could no longer move forward and that this was in fact that of a human act. Keindel did not understand that we make so much noise for those few deaths, then they said absolutely nothing of "Terrorangriffen" whose victim was German and he spoke again of the bombing of Dresden. He admitted that some SS soldiers were perhaps going too fast but the need to recognize that most of them were "Volksdeutsche" (Hungarians, Romanians, Ukrainians, Latvians, etc..), And these people had a different mentality. I remarked that inmates of concentration camps had nothing to do with

1 "but we are forbidden. "
2 "then we are punished. "
3 "a scoundrel like the others. "
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bombing of cities and I adjured to stop these killings immediately, this not only in the interest of himself or his SS, but the entire German people. He promised to give orders accordingly and I took leave of him.

Suhrens accompanied me - because he had attended the entire interview - and down the stairs he took me by the arm and told me that its evacuation plan would play perfectly, as he had everything planned and organized everything and he added " bei mir nichts passiert "1. I was allowed to return whenever I wanted, I was even invited to come and see the marching columns and to visit places of step.

I hit the road for Wagenitz, but by taking the one used by evacuees from the camp of Oranienburg. On the course, I passed or met dozens of columns whose numbers ranged from one hundred and five hundred men. I stopped with me and each of them with the informais Kolonenführer (almost always Oberfeldwebel) the health status of men, if they had to eat and if there had been losses to deplore. There were, though far less than the previous days. I paid attention to the Kolonenführer facts that had to stop and lavished their advice which often were threats: immediate cessation of the killings, distribution of suitable food, inmates must sleep indoors, no major steps; all names SS is known to Allied authorities, everyone will have to answer for his crimes.

I am convinced that the apparitions of ICRC delegates, and drivers in the columns, have produced some effect on the SS, as it often happened only stops the SS are approached me and have said that 'they were not the SS, they had been forcibly recruited and that they hated to do this job. Still others said they were not Germans. I told them that their salvation depended invariably their conduct towards the prisoners.

To ensure objectivity, I must admit that some SS soldiers have served us by informing us what was happening in our columns or facilitating the distribution service packages. But it was a matter where isolated cases. One can also wonder whether it is through humanitarian dedication, fear or sheer opportunism that some SS did so.

For my part, I have not seen the presence of bodies along the road, but it was not uncommon to find on the road of clothing that belonged to deported. At regular intervals we saw here a striped jacket, a cap there, sometimes a blanket or coat. This was a clue, but not proof.

1 "with me no such thing as fear. "
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On different occasions I saw the SS out of the nearby forest and return to their column. Did they run unhappy?

Some columns requisitioned horses themselves exhausted refugees, then slaughtered and the meat distributed.

Continuing on the road Wittstock, rallying all the columns, I suddenly saw some twenty meters from the road for evacuees who made me sign. They were herded into a pen like cattle, they were about 500. I approached the fence and talked with a group of inmates. The SS stood guard around the enclosure did not move. Inmates informed me that they had not eaten for three days. That's when I attended and poignant scenes worthy of the greatest pity. Inmates fell on their knees and crying (they held out their arms to me) I begged him not to let them die. Slovak lawyer, father of seven, showed me a handful of wheat: it was all we had given them for three days. An American added a partial distribution (for only half of the workforce) had held the previous day (three small potatoes per man), but the Russians (the largest group) had engaged in an attack overnight on their classmates and had taken everything. I asked to speak immediately to the head of the column that appeared after half an hour. I did not conceal my indignation to learn that the inmates had almost nothing to eat for three days. He declared that this was wrong and when he learned that I had talked with prisoners, he became violently angry. He shouted: "I forbid you to speak to detainees. "I yelled to my turn and I was helped by the faithful and devoted chauffeur that I was indeed a great help throughout my tours. SS came to the rescue of their leader and adopted in a threatening attitude towards us. I must admit I did not feel safe. Calmly, I told them they had every reason to treat prisoners well if they did not want to aggravate their case when they had to account. I demanded that food distribution took place that evening. The Oberfeldwebel told me that the fact would be required. He refused to tell me the parking place of the column, the next evening. I remarked that I had an interview that morning with the Commander of the camp and that I will refer to his head. This apparently made him an impression.

I stopped still with various other columns. Everywhere it was the same vision. These unfortunate prisoners were sad to see, even in their misery, these men were great. The stronger helped the weaker and supported. Behind the columns a score of "slaves" painfully pulled the chariots on which were piled the luggage of those gentlemen the SS.

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At the end of Neuruppin, about fifteen miles from Wittstock, the columns were somewhat stretched. We met regularly with small groups of five to ten prisoners who were fed up. Custody of these groups was assigned to an SS. Often they were common criminals who were monitoring these groups. During the evacuation of the camp, they were wearing the uniform of the SS, they had guns and had received a mission to strengthen the guard of the SS. These characters were feared as much as the deportees of the real SS. Besides these criminals in the camps exercised the functions of "Blockwarte" and in some cases even had power of life and death over the inmates.

I carried (and supplied by the packages that I took in the car) several of these groups in my car Neuruppin to Wittstock. Meet the driver who had just completed a distribution of parcels in the forest of Below (camp location), I charged him to go collect his truck with all the dying.

When I arrived to Below, I was greeted by cheers and shouts of joy, driven by thousands of prisoners who waved his hand in my direction. I do not, however, was bringing parcels. It was the recognition of all these unfortunates to the Red Cross, whose name was pronounced in all languages. I talked with the prisoners and told them that other trucks parcels would still happen and that the Red Cross would not desert them. The announcement of this good news - immediately translated into Russian, Polish, Dutch, etc.. - Provoked a new manifestation of joy and gratitude.

I went to the Commander of the place. There, the Oberzahlmeister told me that prisoners spend in the forest of Below at least 5 days. The installation of a bakery would be ready in two days and so the evacuees would receive bread and drinking water also. A Red Cross to do the rest. If it seems odd that the SS were convinced that the Red Cross had a duty to feed the inmates. The camp commander told me also that the installation of an infirmary was also planned.

During this visit, I saw firsthand how brutally some SS treated the prisoners exhausted by a long walk. A junior officer gathered in columns of four prisoners who were to receive the Red Cross parcels. Considering that the formation of the column was not going fast enough, the SS - a big cigar in his mouth - was held to advance the great kicks in the belly. Not a prisoner made a gesture of astonishment or revolt. They certainly used to this treatment. Further, the SS attended the scene impassively.

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I stared at the brute, our eyes met. His eyes froze me sadistic criminal.

I decided to go Wagenitz to make contact with other members of the sub-delegation and with the intention of returning the following day. I unfortunately could not put this plan into execution, the Russians came to me with more Wagenitz allowed to leave. However, other delegates have certainly been able to do useful work, because I am convinced that the frequent appearances of ICRC delegates with SS have saved thousands of evacuees. He has only to remember the mass executions of the first day of the evacuation, which ceased soon after following our strong protests (the word is not too much). Distributions of packages have saved countless lives naturally, for sure, but it should be pointed out that the very presence of ICRC representatives in the middle of the columns produced a double psychological effect. On the one hand, the SS feeling controlled by the ICRC and the killings have stopped, on the other hand, prisoners felt they were not alone, there was someone behind them who had significantly taken a stand against the SS, who was opposing them, who supported them, the dispossessed them, and encouraged them to take another few days.

V. - Report of an ICRC delegate in the evacuation of the camp of Oranienburg (April 1945)

On the night of April 20 to 21, 1945 began the evacuation of the Oranienburg concentration camp as well as external Kommandos. In the early hours of April 21, when Russian troops were faced with Berlin, I provided the Camp Commandant Keindel the proposal of the ICRC delegation in Berlin to put the camp in an ICRC delegate. We wanted to prevent in this way that the SS will not engage in the last minute to excesses against prisoners. The camp commander refused our proposal based on the instructions had been given by the Reichsführer SS Himmler. These instructions provided at the approach of the enemy, an immediate evacuation of the entire camp with the exception of the Lazaretto.

Under pouring rain, all prisoners were started heading north. Five hundred prisoners were a "Pulk" or a "Trek" and were subject to the authority of an SS commander. A very tight guard was exercised by the SS shortly before had dressed many common criminals of the German Wehrmacht uniforms to use as support staff on call.

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The exact number of prisoners to evacuate could not be established due to the annihilation of Libraries and because of the executions had taken place before the evacuation. In my evaluation, and the statements of prisoners, about 30,000 to 40,000 people, mostly men but also women and even children, were on the roads. Two huge columns were heading Wittstock by the following routes: Oranienburg, Kremmen, Sommerfeld, Neuruppin, Wittstock, Oranienburg, Kremmen, Sommerfeld, Herzberg, Lindow, Rheinsberg, Zechlin, Wittstock. These instructions were given to me by an adjutant of the camp commander. My task was to bring food parcels from Red Cross trucks to the columns of prisoners, most of the time, were not being supplied by the SS. I conducted using this supply of reserves to Wagenitz. For four days and four nights trucks and drivers rolled and I were witnesses of the following:

The evening of the first day of walking, the French detainees said they had learned that the SS had intended to start the night the shooting of prisoners. They begged us to stay with them overnight with the Red Cross trucks to prevent, as far as possible, such excesses. Unfortunately we could not respond to this desire because we had to load the trucks at night.

On the morning of April 22, we found a length of 7 km. between Löwenberg and Lindow, the first 20 inmates were shot at the roadside, all had a shot in the head. As in our advance, we met an increasing number of prisoners were shot at the roadside or in ditches. In forests between Wittstock and Neuruppin we found so regularly in places where the detainees had spent the night or in places of halt, several corpses, partly thrown in the bonfires and burned half.

At the first village after Neuruppin towards Rägelin, an inmate stayed behind carried the following fact to our knowledge: April 22, a commander has piled up in this village its 500 prisoners in a barn for a stopover of several hours. At four o'clock in the afternoon the column resumed its march. Fourteen prisoners were left completely exhausted sleep in the barn. At five, another column came in the same barn and found the fourteen detainees sleeping. The SS then dragged the fourteen detainees stayed back behind the barn and shot them immediately on charges of desertion.

The third day of the evacuation, we met more corpses than the day before. Of prisoners of various nationalities have secretly declared that the SS and German criminals in uniform

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form of the Wehrmacht continued to kill with bullets to the head each inmate exhausted. Patients were also shot in the same way. The SS took advantage of every opportunity to shoot the "notables".

Until the third day of the evacuation, the bodies of prisoners shot remained at the roadside and in the woods, unburied. I learned from reliable sources that on 21 April already "Ortsgruppenleiters' Party had been ordered by the SS to bury the bodies in the enclosure of their common territory. This order was not executed because these "Ortsgruppenleiters" also fled at that time. April 23, detachments were organized to bury the victims.

The examination of a large number of corpses found that all victims had been liquidated by a gunshot to the head. At our request, prisoners told us that often the SS forced their victims to kneel or lie down, fifty yards behind the marching column, to be executed.

It was impossible to know the exact number of killed. On our journey we saw a total of several hundred people, but we did not have a complete overview of all the territory as evacuation from the north, a relatively large column of trucks of Lübeck also supplied inmates. I infer from numerous interviews with detainees about 15-20% of the concentration camp at Oranienburg was killed as described above. We were not able to know the names of victims. We could have - not safe yet - note the registration numbers, but it would have been meaningless, because the map libraries were destroyed by the SS.

On April 22 I traveled twice to the head of camp Höhn (head of the internal administration of the main camp of Oranienburg) to protest very strongly on behalf of the ICRC against the excesses committed by the SS. It promised to give immediate orders to all group commanders to stop the executions.

It follows many conversations I had with Gruppenkommandanten, Unterführer and also with the custodial staff, the feelings that animate the SS are a terrible evil. Some of the commanders wanted to prove to us that they even made a service to the sick and exhausted in the shooting down, so they no longer have to suffer, they felt that the SS was in reality very human or even more human than the Red Cross that it was extending the sentences of the sick and exhausted through the provision of food parcels! The only language that these primitive SS included at the approach of the enemy, they were threats. It appears from all evidence that all SS felt that they

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a work were fully justified in shooting the prisoners. For the Safeguarding of the Third Reich it was almost natural to kill Jews and enemies of the state by any means. I have witnessed in Neuruppin the ease with which these brutes could kill human beings: we had found near a bush at the roadside a political prisoner who for hours lay there and suffered, badly injured in the head by a bullet. The SS commander with whom I was trying to talk, interrupted the conversation, went to the inmate victim, shot him, soon returned and continued the conversation as if nothing had happened. It also seemed quite justified in the eyes of the SS to use force detainees to extremes. Even during the evacuation, the strength of some detainees was exploited mercilessly. The SS loading their effects on large truck trailers they grew by about 40 inmates exhausted. It was moving these slaves "car pushers" with sticks and whips.

Inmates who were crawling in long columns were in a state of complete spiritual and physical deprivation. They allowed themselves to push forward without showing a sign of willingness or resistance. We noticed they were revolting as if they were faced with a direct death threat. This state of mind is illustrated by the following example: When we were trying to get completely exhausted inmates in our empty trucks, they defended themselves by begging us not to kill them, they believed that he intended to lead them somewhere in a slaughterhouse, remembering the practice of SS in Oranienburg that once victims were loading trucks, rolled a few hundred meters into the camp to the then head directly to the extermination chambers.

VI. - Report of an ICRC delegate on the feeding of the evacuees of Oranienburg and Ravensbrück

The undersigned has found the last time to the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Berlin, Friday, April 20, 1945. Given the terrible consequences of the evacuation of POW camps and concentration, the delegation members felt it was necessary to prevent the evacuation of concentration camps of Ravensbruck and Oranienburg and we should try to influence the leaders of the SS Central in this direction. On the morning of April 21, 1945, the doctor of prisoners of war, Captain Burton, arrived from Altengrabow to Wagenitz with the delegation to report to us on the status of the camp Altengrabow

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and ask for our help. As the telephone line between Berlin and Wagenitz had been cut by planes flying at low altitude, I went with Captain Burton to ask Berlin to Nauen sending relief packages. By chance we met at Nauen two ICRC trucks which we ordered to go to Wagenitz. At this point, we had to Wagenitz about 3000 U.S. aid packages and packages of 5000 "WRB". Meanwhile, a mechanic from the Berlin delegation arrived in Wagenitz and informed us that the Oranienburg concentration camp was an escape route from 4 am. I made the truck go Altengrabow the French Red Cross came to Wagenitz with 1,000 parcels and kept the two trucks of the Red Cross that we had met for the supply columns of Oranienburg concentration camp.

Three ICRC delegates monitored the distribution to detainees, and they informed me of the exact route of the column, which aimed at Wittstock. Two roads were open, one by Löwenberg-Lindow, and the other by-Kremmin Neuruppin-Zechlin. The following day, the packets of 5000 "WRB" and about 1000 U.S. packages were distributed to prisoners by staff of the delegation of the International Committee.

At the same time, we received information about the mass shootings of prisoners unable to walk, the sick, etc.. The delegate and two of his colleagues have themselves seen the bodies and were able to see clearly that the victims had died as a result of shots fired in the neck or mouth. During the days that followed, our communications with the delegation in Berlin were cut because of the vanguards of Russian armored vehicles had arrived in Plauen and Nauen. Although we know that the Berlin delegation was seeking termination of the shootings, I sent on April 24 a representative of the Committee with two notes of protest to the Oranienburg camp, because I knew that were there the leader responsible for two concentration camps, the SS-Sturmbannführer Hoess and two camp commandants, and Sturmbannführer Suhrens Keindl. One of the two notes was intended to stop the shootings, the other notes required not to evacuate the women prisoners in Ravensbrück concentration camp.

Through the efforts of the delegates, the shootings stopped almost completely, in fact in recent days. Monday, April 23, I sent Captain Burton, the prison camp of Altengrabow, who had returned in the meantime, look for new relief packages, and told him to get his car from the French Red Cross to Lübeck. I told him for the ICRC delegate in Lübeck a report on the situation and relief to the concentration camps and prisoners. Through the efforts of Delegate

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Lübeck, Captain Burton was able to return the next day at the head of a column of 16 ICRC trucks. So, I had more concern to me about this camp. The 16 trucks returned to Lübeck by Malchow, after taking care of sick prisoners in Malchow concentration camp.

Tuesday, April 24, 130 prisoners of war arrived in Berlin to Wagenitz delegation, asking us to welcome them and, if possible, to feed them. Since these POWs were already malnourished, I found it prudent to retain them Wagenitz, where I could feed them, since there were still 1,200 relief packages. The Russians meanwhile being able to channel, 1 km. south of Wagenitz, I asked an interview with the German commander of the regiment that fought there, demanding the promise of an extraterritorial space of 600 m. around the castle. Through the efforts of British POWs, who had organized a police force, we could obtain no German soldier penetrate into this space. But the German troops had set up a cannon at 600 m. behind the castle and Russian troops were shooting this gun with a "Stalin organ" and their artillery. We hoisted on the castle tower the Swiss flag and the flag of the Red Cross, but the castle was in the firing line, it was inevitable that from time to time a series of shots, mostly from a " Stalin's organ ", fell full upon the castle and its surroundings. We had to mourn the loss of two Polish civilian workers and there were also some wounded, slightly affected.

Thursday, April 26, the SS doctor, Dr. Baumkötter, arrived from the concentration camp at Oranienburg Wagenitz, and I signaled the imminent danger of epidemics among the inmates and the absolute lack of medicines. Meanwhile, we received the news of the evacuation of Ravensbruck concentration camp and the opinion that the relief effort through parcel had started from Lübeck.

Emphasize here the surprising fact that the SS troops admit, for granted, fueling our camps at the time of the evacuation and that since that moment, nobody has prevented most of us deal with concentration camps, while that 'before we ran the greatest difficulties when we tried to interest us in any way whatsoever to the camps ...

Meanwhile, the Russians had approached the castle to a distance of 500 m. In the northern part of Germany there was no other delegates of the Red Cross and the undersigned was the only doctor there ICRC delegate. That's why I decided, on April 27, to renounce the idea of ​​spending the Russians and I went to Lübeck, accompanied by a delegate and secretary of the

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delegation. The delegate's task was to bring even parcels Wagenitz to rescue, if any, prisoners and internees, even under the Russian occupation, if necessary. The same evening, the delegate tried to return to Wagenitz, but unable to reach the castle, he eventually made it back to Lübeck, after distributing relief packages to its inmates.

After looking at the ICRC delegate and Dr. Arnoldson, the Swedish Red Cross, on the general situation, I set off April 28 in Schwerin to Parchim, near Wittstock and Malchow, to prevent further abuse of SS troops against the detainees and to ensure, wherever possible, the supply thereof.

Meanwhile, the inmates had all arrived in Oranienburg Wittstock and continued their march, April 28, in the direction of Schwerin. The concentration camp at Ravensbruck also was heading towards Schwerin - provided that inmates were not transported by truck to the Red Cross in Lübeck - and was in the region Malchow-Criwitz. Detainees were generally in a terrible state. I saw many dead bodies on the road, however the ones I saw were those of victims who died of hunger and weakness. I could not see the presence of corpses of prisoners shot by SS troops on the other hand, prisoners confirmed to me that since Tuesday, April 24, that is to say, since our intervention, the shooting had stopped.

On the main square of Parchim, I found a column of about 2,000 inmates making a stop. Among them, eight died during the stop. When the commander saw me, he rushed towards me, saying he had never shot anyone. I warned him well to ensure it is still well and ordered him to stay sick and helpless in the city on this, he hastened to consult the Mayor.

To the same place I met a column of 5,000 prisoners who were crawling with difficulty. Before the column, on a small car loaded with trunks and painfully drawn by six to eight inmates, sat a woman apparently in "good society". I interpellai the commander of the column and asked him who that person was. He replied that he was the wife of an SS officer who had fallen ill during the flight. When I asked what it was, he replied very seriously that she suffered from indigestion for overeating raisins (sic).

Putlitz around, I ran back a column of about 5,000 prisoners guarded by SS troops. By fetching the Commander, I noticed in a ditch nine detainees under their extensive coverage, inanimate. An SS that I had not seen approached them with his stick and knocked the job that did not react

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more. I just had time to stop the car and out to prevent him from killing the nine men with his revolver, he had already pulled out of its case. I hailed the individual, asking her marital status. Instead, he replied: "These are poor people, quite innocent. But I can not leave them in the ditch. "I told him he was crazy, he should disappear as quickly as possible, and I'll take care of those nine inmates and their accommodation in the nearest village. This is a small contribution to the chapter: SS soldiers and their mentality.

At the same time, that is to say between April 29 and May 2, about fifteen trucks of the International Committee of the Red Cross went to Lübeck in charge of relief packages for Wittstock and Below, near Wittstock , where prisoners were resting for a few days. Such as prisoners, meanwhile, had started again, the head of the column headed ICRC trucks on different routes they followed, in this way, security and supply of the detainees were provided for the better and as far as possible.

Distribution of relief packages: The columns generally walked in rows of five, I saw a man often in groups of five was a relief package. In general, we can say that apart from cigarettes and other luxury items more or less desirable, prisoners kept their aid packages, as soon as they were personally distributed to prisoners by the delegate, the head of column or staff assistant of the ICRC. A Wittstock, a column of trucks had made a deposit to bring new relief packages. If prisoners were to continue their march, each soldier received an SS package, while the inmates were not receiving a packet for five men, that is to say the rest of the balance. Unfortunately, I never could surprise a SS in possession of a relief package, but the above method was confirmed to me from several quarters. Besides, where would come the raisins that had caused indigestion in women of the SS officer?

The SS, fearing to be seen, no longer dared to inflict abuse of detainees. Judging by the behavior of single SS for us, I must assume they interpreted the words "International Committee" to mean a commission of inquiry on war crimes. I never, in my life seen men more servile and obsequious. The German population in villages and small towns were generally passive and merely watch. A Parchim only when the above incident on the market square, a gentleman "good" came to me in despair and said, "But so do something for these

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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Dołączył(a): Wt lis 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Pn lip 02, 2012 10:57 am

People! "When I told him we were doing everything in our power and that people must help us, he disappeared into the crowd.

The last days were marked by constant attack aircraft on small towns and roads. We could move only with great difficulty on roads crowded with refugees, prisoners and troops. Hundreds of burned-out cars, dead horses and dozens of human bodies, mostly of German refugees, lying on either side of the road. I saw and dressed inmates who had been injured by the attacks in a dive. Given that prisoners usually went by order of small local roads and were camping in the forests, losses due to attacks by planes were probably not very significant among them. For my part, I have not seen any prisoner killed by an airplane flying at low altitude.

In the region of Blumenthal-Pritzwalk, I met the Stalag Altdrewitz, who wanted to try to cross the Elbe, near Dömitz, with the German guard. The food situation was very critical of the prisoners on the other hand, you had to send new relief parcels to concentration camps and in the first place to create a repository of Schwerin relief parcels to detainees. I therefore decided on Tuesday, May 1, to return to Schwerin, to put me in touch with Lübeck, one way or another. Arrived late at night in Schwerin, I slept at the chemist from Stalag II E. The military organization of the city was already collapsing, and the members of the military administration dressed in civilian clothes and left their positions. The agitation was great, because in the meantime the Russians had advanced into the region of Wismar. Telephone communications with Lübeck being impossible, I left Schwerin on May 2, but an hour later I was forced to return because of a severe air attack. Prisoners and prisoners of war received me with cries of joy, having reached their new that Americans would come in Schwerin in two hours. I went to Colonel von Bülow, commander of the Stalag IIA, to avoid trouble at the surrender of prisoners of war and prevent complications arising from military operations. Then I returned to Stalag, there was held a meeting with the prisoners and deans, to organize police troops who were to maintain discipline in the camp. On this occasion, an organization of "Gaullists," formed under the influence and direction of a French officer of Stalag Neubrandenburg, who had received full powers to General de Gaulle, made me the greatest service.

Each nation set up its own guard and organized patrols in the camp. At 2:00, Wednesday, May 2, we reached the new

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that Americans were entered in Schwerin. They did not advance to the same Stalag, located about 4 km. east of the city. I went with the senior men with British and French and Yugoslav confidence to Schwerin where we had an interview with the American commander of the regiment. The area between Schwerin and the river which flows east of the city in Lake Schwerin - area where is located also Stalag - was declared a neutral zone to avoid incidents with Russian troops. Until May 3, poured into this area from the east, two inmates of concentration camps to camp around the Stalag. Hundreds of thousands of German soldiers were captured during these two days, and, on the same road Crivitz-Schwerin, on which all this was happening, arriving all the time hundreds of thousands of German refugees. May 4, the Russians had reached the line and the influx of refugees, prisoners and soldiers, ceased.

On the evening of May 2, I presented myself to the American military governor, meanwhile arrived, and gave him an overview of the situation and the number of prisoners from concentration camps and already arrived in the area of ​​Schwerin. I told him that 40,000 were already there and he had to wait another 30,000. The Military Governor replied that Schwerin was overcrowded and could do nothing, I then asked him to take a tour to get an idea of ​​the state prisoners. The tour made him seem a [i] big impression. We were informed that a considerable number of prisoners were east of the future dividing line, still guarded by SS troops. The SS does not seem to want to accept being captured and were still torturing and shooting prisoners. I obtained the Military Governor yet to send the same night troops to disarm the SS and release detainees. Also, I got that also put himself at disposal of U.S. troops to maintain order in the huge rally held encamped around the Stalag and to direct him towards the newcomers. Nevertheless, we had some injuries, because many inmates, who had found weapons, they argued, under the influence of hunger, for a simple potato, etc.. Neither the American troops, nor myself were not able to adequately supply the inmates. However, as many tanks and trucks loaded with food traveling on the road to Schwerin from Crivitz, I could distribute to each group of inmates food for at least three days. I sent for all drugs in the truck and carried them in the Stalag. There were enough doctors among prisoners. Unfortunately, negotiations to secure better housing for inmates dragged three more days and we could not prevent many of them their march continuassent

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west on their own initiative, to settle in villages beyond the line. By permission of the Military Governor, however, I received permission to requisition May 5 two large groups of buildings, barracks, etc.. In one of them, the barracks-Adolf Hitler, there was a lazaretto German reserve. Military doctors after discussion began at our disposal to give inmates the necessary medical care.

Unfortunately, severe arthritis in his right shoulder and fever forced me to abandon my work.

Meanwhile, the struggle on the road to Lubeck to Schwerin had ended. I still had to send relief parcels in Schwerin, which is why I went to Lübeck on May 5, where the ICRC delegate undertook this task, and soon I was obliged to enter the hospital .

In Schwerin, I left the head of the ICRC's column which gave me invaluable assistance during the days of Schwerin. On the other hand, I was greatly assisted by two British prisoners of war (which never left me more since I left Wagenitz), by the prisoners' French and Yugoslav prisoners of Stalag II E, and also by all the prisoners of small detachments of French workplaces in which I found shelter and food.

VII. - Report of an ICRC delegate on its activity in the camp of Theresienstadt (April-May 1945)

I

Prague, April 23, 1945.

I visited Theresienstadt on 21 common in the afternoon. By contacting the camp director, I asked that the Council of Elders is convened to hear my statement and answer various questions that I had to ask. I will relate, as closely as possible, this phase of my short stay in the Ghetto.

I made the following statement:

"The International Committee of the Red Cross has asked me specifically to your interests. I spent my time since my first visit on April 6 until today the execution of this mission.

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The Protectorate Government has assured me that unless strategic necessity, no one would be moved from the camp until its liquidation. This care will be provided by the International Committee in collaboration with Jewish institutions. Please help me my mission by providing administration and around the city during the transition period, as you have done and continue to do so under German. You will likely receive in Theresienstadt coreligionists evacuated from other camps or civilian internees, prisoners of war or wounded. You must remember that, whatever the living conditions here, you will find more comfort and less risk on the road to the evacuation ... "

At the end of this interview, which took place in the presence of the camp leader and his lieutenant, and an inspector of the detective police of Prague, I informed the chief of the army that pending written responses, my intention was to visit Theresienstadt. For two hours and without any objection from officers and German civilians who accompanied me, I was able to inspect everything, during the visit of April 6, had aroused my curiosity. The visit absolutely free of buildings in the city and camp schedules, I bring a print identical to that we had during our visit on 6 and the belief that no special staging had been prepared for us receive. The residents of Theresienstadt live every day as we had the opportunity to see three times. Right now, the quotas of other Jewish camps are run on Theresienstadt. They come naturally in a pitiful state, but is expected to bring them rapidly to those who came before them. Since April 6 Theresienstadt has seen its population increase by 4,000 people (young men aged 18 to 30 years).

During an interview earlier, the Minister of State Frank assured me that all Jews evacuated to pass near the Protectorate would be sent to Theresienstadt, I could, the same day, see the execution of this order in the city of Aussig where I went when leaving Theresienstadt.

Aussig trip: I was in Prague reported the train passages containing evacuated wounded prisoners of war or civilians, following the bombing of Aussig, were blocked in this region. Also, I enjoyed my trip to go to Theresienstadt Aussig and gather information. Station employees, military and police authorities do not give me great detail. Military convoys have been transferred; civilian convoys are still stalled on sidings (I have not seen near the station, anyway); convoys of Jews

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taken or take the walk as Theresienstadt. The two bombings of the week were serious. Parked trains have been hit hard ...

II

May 22, 1945.

After spending the day on 30 April at Theresienstadt, I came to settle on May 2 I left on May 10th, my mission is complete.

Although the Government's decision to place the Protectorate Theresienstadt (citadel and ghettos) under the sole authority of the International Committee of the Red Cross dated May 5, this situation actually existed on May 2, commanders of the two prisons m ' having abandoned their powers.

Contrary to my fears, outlined in my report of April 23, No internee had left Theresienstadt.

On the other hand, the transfer of 300 people (notables of ghetto) in a residence "safer", projected by the authorities of the Reich, has not taken place: Frank kept his word. It is also on his instructions and in accordance with his promise that 12,863 Jews from other concentration camps Theresienstadt were sent off during the month of April.

With the exception of the gardener employed by the Germans, killed by a German bullet and a Jewish internee killed in his bed by a Russian shell, no internee died a violent death at Theresienstadt.

Aussig trip. - Under this heading I mentioned in my report of April 23 the existence of wandering trains of deportees in the vicinity of Theresienstadt. May 4, I found them in train stations nearby and have led to Theresienstadt. Three trains arrived there on 6. They "milling around" for several weeks in 2500 men and 600 children at the start, we counted 1,800 men and 180 children, the others had died during the voyage. Some other small contingents arrived by road and have been quarantined.

An empty barracks has been home to some 600 French prisoners of war, Belgian, British, Canadian (healthy men).

Citadel. - From May 3, the evacuation of the citadel containing 5,000 political prisoners, mostly Czech (some notabilities French) began, through the organization of Czech doctors headed by Dr. Taska and under the responsibility

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ICRC. Everything went off without incident. All prisoners were evacuated on 8. On that date, day of the cessation of hostilities, I deleted the "guardianship" of the ICRC.

VIII. - Report of an ICRC delegate on political prisoners who are in prisons in Berlin (April 1945)

Regarding the situation of detainees in prisons in Berlin and surrounding areas, and among whom were still late March 1945, according to reliable information, about 1,500 foreign political prisoners, it required the delegation of vigilance and a special energy. These efforts were first subject to be able to extend this category of political prisoners (Schutzhäftlinge) agreements between Professor Burckhardt and Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner. However it was virtually impossible to obtain precise information formally and concessions. Subsequently, the delegation was informed quite accurately, with a proposed action, and prepared in part by a nominee "to his peril", to oppose the excesses that were expected in the various prisons.

Thanks to the efforts made by the delegation, which had been liaising with some of the commissioners of the Gestapo, members of the central management (Gestapo-Hauptleitstelle, Kurfürstendamm 106), it was possible to obtain, since the month of April 1945, prisoner releases in quite a number of special cases.

In other cases, the delegation was distributing food parcels. Thus the delegates had visited Mar. 25, to prison Kaiserdamm a Charlottenburg. As they were informed that some packages were selected, they protested.

From several quarters, we learned later, on 10 and 11 April, the central office of the Reich Security (Reichsicherheitshauptamt) had given orders to destroy all files and papers in all rooms of instruction, all prisons and camps. This measure was explicitly confirmed, April 12, by a member of the Gestapo who pointed out that the worst was feared for inmates.

On the occasion of a visit they made on April 13, to prison Kaiserdamm 1, ICRC delegates were able to realize that a terrible fear had invaded the inmates. On the same day they went to the Federal Foreign Office, where they attracted the attention of Minister Schmidt on these fears. This spared the same day an interview with the Gruppenführer and General Mueller, and another

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maintenance, to April 14, with Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice of the Reich, Dr. Franke (in the absence of the Reich Minister, Dr. Thierack ostensibly indisposed), in which we asked explanations about the fate of those imprisoned.

The Delegation declared itself ready to take the detainees under his protection and to ensure their supplies in large proportions, using food parcels. Tranquillising assurances given to the delegation, were confirmed in writing, on April 15, and these confirmations were sent by mail.

On 17 April, ICRC delegates heard at the prison from Alexanderplatz that since April 15, 1945, the prisoners released were ordered in considerable numbers. The accuracy of this assertion was proved during a visit made the same day in the prison camp Triftweg Friedrichsfelde visit during which food parcels were brought to the Russians, Czechs, Dutch, etc..

The Delegation had heard other hand, that that day had been executed [sic] 34 inmates of the Big Hamburgerstrasse, ICRC delegates began new approaches to the central office of the Reich Security (Reichsicherheitshauptamt) and with the Ministry of Justice of the Reich (Reichjustizministerium). It seems that on April 22, we have released the remaining detainees in prison.

Military operations that took place near Berlin and in the city, made it impossible for other steps of the delegation. When April 24th, ICRC delegates crossed the Avus, it was with difficulty they were freed.

IX. - Report of a delegate of the ICRC mission in Mauthausen

April 23, 1945, at 19 h. 30, arrived at Mauthausen. Our arrival in the evening seemed not to be to the liking of the duty officer who received us to the guard. They made us wait over half an hour, after which we were introduced to the Adjutant by letter SS. Up to this reception, twenty minutes more elapsed, we spent waiting in the rain and wind. The adjutant was okay but cold in his salvation, he begged us to still have a little patience as the commander was engaged in a major conference. Finally we were taken in the Head's study, which appeared after about fifteen minutes. He quickly ran through the letter of recommendation which had been given before. No more return, he communicated to us in a few words that 183 French deportees, whose list was

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already drawn up, would be available to us at 00.30 pm. and needed to be taken immediately. He did not accept my proposal to delay the transfer until the morning to make the light of day. Firstly there was no accommodation for us, and secondly it was urgent to do from the deportees as quickly as possible. At 00.30 h., The packets were being unloaded and counted by the duty officer who would give a receipt. My claim that the prisoners deported acknowledge receipt of packages by their own signature was not considered. But the Commander says that as chief he would guarantee that shipments would reach back to its rightful owner. Our staff has not been allowed to bring cars into the camp, even for the unloading and the control of the shipment. We too (delegate, chief officer and accompanying column) were forbidden to enter the concentration camp itself.

As I paid attention the Commander, twice, to the true purpose of my mission, it made me realize tersely that I should consider my mission accomplished as soon as the 183 French deportees would be handed to me. On the other hand, he said he had no order for the visit which I mentioned. I offered to wait at Mauthausen (village) until it reaches the authorization, but it also met a refusal.

Meanwhile our trucks were delivered by our drivers to SS troops at the door that gave access to the camp, the troops then ushered into the camp. The unloading took place in darkness lasted much longer than expected, that is to say until shortly after two o'clock. On the order of the Commander, we revictualled and staff.

I received the promise of the duty officer, who presided said the unloading and control packets, as in the distribution of these, the prisoners' sign in the acknowledgments and the parts would be sent to the ICRC in Geneva. The undersigned doubt that the delivery of items has been done correctly.

At about half past three, our column was ready to receive the deportees on the Sportplatz. Of the 183 men, most were already there, in rows, exposed to the biting wind. Finally, shortly before four o'clock, the last arrived. I counted the men who rode in cars and I gave receipt, certifying the accuracy of this transfer.

My personal impressions of the camp were: something mysterious and horrible hung over, of course this impression was even stronger in the night. That we arrived so late was very unpleasant for the gentlemen, who were eager to see us off, that was easy to

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design. They seemed to not like at all the delay that we had.

When we arrived already, we witnessed a tragic scene. Five columns of workers, each comprising about one hundred men, dragged to the camp, tired after a day of hard work. In each of these columns, there were some who were carried by their comrades because, due to their exhaustion, they could not continue and they were near death. Certainly these were potential victims good for the crematory that also worked all night at full capacity. I was told other workers that these columns were very well off the physical point of view. What then would be the appearance of others unhappy?

We were all so very impressed with what we had seen for hours we did not exchange a word. In the first short stop, it was the Canadians who first regained speech and who expressed their disgust with these words: "God! we are glad to be out, this is hell! "

X. Report on the stay of an ICRC delegate in Mauthausen until the liberation of the camp from April 27 to May 8, 1945 (excerpts)

... The convoy headed for Linz - which has been severely bombed - and walks the streets gutted by bombs. Canadian and Swiss drivers have to do acrobatics. We spend the night in St. Georgen, about 18 km from Linz. The next morning the column heads to Mauthausen. The Commander H. awaits us halfway and took command of the column. Upon entering the camp, he unloaded the packages, during which time, we go to the camp commander Ziereis, who has the rank of Standartenführer. He is a man of forty years, but energetic worrying aspect, the corners of the mouth is agitated by a slight tremor. SS officers appear. We explained that under the agreements of the President of the ICRC with the Chief in charge of concentration camps Kaltenbrunner, an ICRC delegate must be able to enter the camp and distribute the package itself, but must remain in the camp until its final settlement. Ziereis pretends to know nothing of these agreements. He said that my presence is undesirable in the camp. He complains of lack of confidence about the ICRC food distribution by the camp director. Given the impossibility of fulfilling my mission, the head of the column is of the opinion that I returned to Switzerland. I refuse to do the most emphatically, decided to fulfill my task at all costs and to enter the camp. I insist that I let in and so I can stay in the

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camp. Ziereis was willing to send a telegram to Kaltenbrunner whose content would be:

"The ICRC, whose representative is here, request a Swiss delegate may enter the camp to distribute parcels. The presence of this delegate, commissioned by the ICRC, is not essential. Answer by telegraph if the delegate shall be allowed or not to enter the camp. "Signed: Ziereis.

The telegram provided me an excuse to stay in the vicinity of the camp and I expressed to Ziereis my commitment: I will come looking for the answer to the telegram, although I had to travel each day to walk the 10 kilometers between St. Georgen Mauthausen .

My distrust of SS only increased.

The column went back to Switzerland taking a number of citizens of the Western Powers and I remained alone in St Georgen. For three days I waited for the answer to the telegram and remained in the vicinity of the camp where prisoners cursed, upon entry, were greeted with these words ironic SS noncommissioned officers and employees, "Tomorrow you will not live longer. "

Mauthausen is a "fortress of granite" that each stone represents a human life and is stained with human blood. Still, I persist in my determination to enter the camp, fully aware of the responsibility I take towards my family.

People who know Ziereis tried in vain to make me renounce my decision by saying that it is tempting God, it's a suicide ...

The third day, carrying all my stuff, I went by car to the camp, forcing the set, I became immediately lodge with Ziereis. I told him firmly that only with more on the answer of Kaltenbrunner, I asked permission to enter. Ziereis then appointed me as the neighborhood chamber Obersturmführer Reiner that I would share with him: the ICRC delegate would sleep side by side with that SS cap is adorned with a skull! For inmates that I felt terrorized around me, I accepted this torture!

The following day, I had talks with Ziereis on the exact situation that prevailed in the camp: lack of bread, clothing, shoes, linen terrible famine. The Mauthausen camp was overcrowded; those of Gusen I and II packed. Five patients were in narrow cots, there were 60,000 people - men, women and children. Ziereis did not know where to turn - which did not prevent him, as I learned to run every morning from 30 to 40 inmates a shot in the neck. It accelerates as it may the work of destruction. The crematorium chimney smokes day and night. For days, the detainees were not given bread. The state sani-

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silence has fallen to the lowest. They are starving. Ziereis himself pretends to get upset. He affects to feel sorry for this man I must take my meal, this monster, one day, drove a truck loaded with cadavers before the window of his wife, by boasting of his work!

I propose to go to Linz with the Gauleiter Eigruber to try to get flour without delay. Linz is then under the fire of the Americans. I go nevertheless, I take as my driver in the next bed, SS Obersturmführer Reiner. I want to experience it, try to win my case. Ziereis makes me aware of the dangers of the expedition ...

We arrive at 10 pm with the Eigruber Gauleiter and Head of the peasant economy. The misery that reigns here is indescribable. My request for flour Mauthausen and Gusen is rejected. But it tells me that near Mauthausen tub has failed a few cars of wheat. I am authorized to recover the wheat. But I still have something to get Eigruber: I want to contact Geneva ... I get to send a telegram to Geneva Telegraph Linz, installed in a basement and I am the only civilian. I claim the Geneva sending bread, clothing, clothes, shoes. The telegram is gone but has it happened? Upon my return to Mauthausen, I talk to the surgeon Potlazka the seriousness of the situation. He describes his helplessness towards the camp. It gives him no means to ensure humane treatment of detainees; for weeks they could not be washed or disinfected. They wander, dressed in tattered unspeakable. I managed to organize a conference between the surgeon Potlaska, Ziereis and myself. On my proposal, Ziereis instructs the inmates take a bath and be disinfected immediately, during which time the clothes they wear will be washed.

I further request to Ziereis put at my disposal 40 carts to horses to return potatoes, more or less damaged, to the camp, but that will allow inmates to at least put something in their mouths.

I strongly criticizes the way Ziereis unloaded packages were distributed before I entered the camp. Only a portion has been distributed to inmates and several packages had been emptied of their contents most precious condensed milk, chocolate, biscuits, butter ... During the night of May 2 to 3, I engaged my bed neighbor, Reiner, to reveal to me the orders to destroy the camps of Gusen I and II and Mauthausen. Reiner - a former bank employee - confided in me without hiding that if his confidence would be known, we would be good both for a shot in the neck.

I ordered him to summon 3 May the Commander of the aircraft factory at Gusen with Ziereis. During the conversation which took place, I

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Ziereis asked, in the presence of Reiner, immediately cancel the order to blow up the airplane factory. Ziereis refused stating that it was not him who had commanded and it was not for him to cancel orders from above. I appealed to his rank, his feelings of humanity. The commander of the aircraft factory explained that the plan was expected, if the Americans or the Russians would approach, to gather, by the warning signal, on the night of 5 or May 6, inmates of Gusen I and II, about 40,000 people, in the underground factory workshops covering an area of ​​50,000 m 2, and the inhabitants of Gusen and St. Georgen. The burst of 24 and a half tons of dynamite arranged in advance through the corridors would then blow up the factory with inmates and residents. I obtained, however, that Ziereis retire, at least verbally, the order to blow up the factory and should engage to forward this cancellation to the commanders of the plant. He thought that this verbal cancellation, in my presence was sufficient.

I was full of distrust of the SS and penetrated more and more of my responsibility for the detainees. Ziereis I asked permission to go to the tailor shop in the camp. He accompanied me himself and asked me what I wanted. "A Swiss flag," I replied. It was not really my intention, but I absolutely had a large white flag that I intended to raise the following Saturday. Ziereis left me begging me to come back earlier to headquarters. I then explained to the worker in addition to the Swiss flag I needed a large white flag, both with dimensions of 3 m. of 3 m.

I then went to the garage and I ordered the Hungarian prisoners who worked in white paint the car "Opel" that Ziereis had available to me, and it no later than the following Saturday morning. I put one of the workmen, who was my friend, in my confidence and I got along with him on how things should be done at camp.

I then returned to headquarters where I was alone with Ziereis, I told him of the provisions I had taken to improve the health situation of the camp. I then suddenly before me another man, weak and trembling, aged and discouraged. He asked me what to do. He rose and began to play with guns. I followed his movements with more curiosity than fear. My quiet impressed. Suddenly he said: "The camp experience should not be pleasant for you, I put my house at your disposal and is outside the camp where he plays scenes a little unusual for a novice. I made the decision to win the Russian front, with some troops on duty, to fight against the Russians. It will more than 2,000 men to guard the camp, which is enough. "

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Ziereis led me to the locksmith as he commanded us to do for me a duplicate key to his house. An hour later he took me by car to his house with Reiner. We made the visit with a frightening calm: the children's room, the living room, hunting trophies of arms around the house: the farmyard, the hives, the pool ... But I would rather live with the inmates in the comfortable villa of this monster. However, I take the key he gives me. If my stay at the camp must be prolonged, I can install a children's home. Ziereis leaves us. We return to camp on foot, and I Reiner.

There is unrest in the camp; machine guns are brought reinforcements to guard posts, crates of hand grenades are distributed here and there; SS soldiers build new nests of machine guns. It strengthens the defense everywhere. The camp is in a ferment. I thought for a peaceful surrender of the camp to the Russians or Americans! I'm worried.

May 5, 1945. - I was awakened by a distant rumbling like a storm. A violent artillery fire covers the region of Linz. The situation seems more and more disturbing. The fate of 60,000 people is at stake, their fate must be decided today. My destiny is tied to theirs. I must act at all costs ... I turn to Reiner, "Reiner, come with me right now in American combat zone? "Reiner, who I did remove the insignia of the skull of his cap, agrees. I commit to the prisoners' camp the Swiss flag and white flag. He agreed that he will soon return my car painted white, it will lower the flag with the swastika and hoist the white flag. He is surprised by my decision and he begged me to make every effort to liberate the camp. We start, Reiner and me. In St. Georgen, I go to the mayor and explained to him my plan. I ask him to leave open the anti-tank defense. I ask the authorities if they want their joint operations is included in the release, that all weapons be dropped and that the commitment is made, in case I should succeed in reaching the American lines, no shot would fired. Only if these conditions are satisfied that I can continue my route beyond St. Georgen to the combat zone and to intercede for the release of Commons. These safeguards are absolutely necessary for me to continue my business. Authorities warmly approve our plan and we wish every success. We continue our journey towards Gallneukirchen and ride to reach the main road of Budweis and win Urfahr where we assume that the Americans are. Faster than we expected, we are facing the front. I see from afar a large tank equipped with a heavy barrel.

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I stop the car and take a stick which I attach a white cloth for any eventuality. I urge Reiner leaving his gun in the car. We are moving forward cautiously. I also pray the driver, a police lieutenant firefighter Vienna, to accompany us, also disarmed.

I see no soldier. We simply see the muzzles moving to the left or right. I order my companions to stop and I walk alone to the guns, my white flag in hand, hoping to finally see the men behind the deadly spy come to meet me. Hatches open and armed young men arise. They are surprised to see me and hear me ask, in broken English, to put me in touch with their commander. One of them, who knows German, translated my request which is transmitted to the command of the Second Division which operates at Linz. My claim is clear: the vanguard of tanks, consisting of 2 or 3 heavy tanks and as many light tanks with their crews of thirty American soldiers, and also 500 soldiers, must soon come take care of the camp and disarm the 500 SS in it yet, and members of the Volkssturm and reinforcements of the Vienna police. I give a guarantee to the American commander that no resistance is a concern on the part of the civilian population. The commander gave me his consent by radio, warning me that I am responsible for the lives of every American. My two companions must take place in a tank, an American settled in next to me in the Opel and we drive back to St. Georgen, followed by other tanks. A pleasant surprise greeted us in this county. Authorities and the population we loaded him with thanks and the Americans were welcomed as liberators. Our arrival caused the same joy at Gusen. Gusen II camp, I went to the commander and his words get no shots will be fired and that the order will be maintained. But there is an urgent visit to Mauthausen, where the SS, according to messages I receive, intensifying the work of defense. We pass by even though the aircraft factory at Gusen where I show Americans the underground shops and passageways loaded with mines. We head to Mauthausen. I note with satisfaction that the system of defense anti-tank remained open. I was right to trust the people. We climb the great winding road that leads to strong and already one can see the tower of the crematorium. The last bend is passed and as I come before the Kommandantur, the swastika flag is lowered and the white flag. But resistance is growing at the camp. Inmates climb on roofs. What will happen? It is now time to disarm the SS. We are supported by thousands of inmates. The SS are too few to provide resistance.

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The plan worked. Inmates designated to take up arms ahead of the SS and their relay stations. Detainees armed guard disarmed their tormentors. The rifle butts rained down on the old masters of the camp. Inmates out of the barracks, shouting, screaming and we carry on their shoulders, we can not defend their kisses - one of them sits on the hood of my car and caress. At the stroke of noon, May 5, 1945, all SS were unarmed, as are the soldiers of the "Volkssturm" and reinforcements of the fire brigade of Vienna. Chaos reigned in the camp. Inmates invaded the kitchens and looted the headquarters. The men affublaient several pairs of pants, fought a tin. It was a back and forth unimaginable. Suddenly released, the detainees were behaving like a horde of savages. It took time to bring some calm in the camp. I thought of my own effects. In my room, everything was gone: trunk, clothing, laundry. But time is running out: we must also liberate the camps Gusen I and II. I go there, followed by American tanks. Disarmament will be done even faster than Mauthausen. The men lay down their arms in a heap, two cans of benzine are widespread and a match ignited. A procession of more than 2,000 inmates form the street, but not a shot is fired. The American brethren both hands shake me and ask me to go with them to Gallneukirchen. However, an inmate tries to cross the barbed wire. An American fired a revolver at him to frighten him. This shot was the signal for a general panic, which is the rush to the wire. The Americans are trying in vain to stop the exodus from the camp as they have done to Mauthausen. The guard of prisoners is too low. Feeling free the captive flock across the fields to the villages and farms to provide food and clothing. There were days and nights of terror. But the camps of Gusen and Mauthausen are released, the largest aircraft factory in Austria did not jump, machinery for a value of 10 to 20 million francs have been saved, the parishes of St. Georgen, Gusen and Mauthausen were spared by the war. The problem I had posed is solved: the camps were not destroyed, 60,000 people are released, while the Americans are not yet entered in Linz where fighting rages ...

The following day, I vowed to reorganize the camp. The former inmates ministered themselves, under the direction of Russian prisoners. A central committee was formed of representatives of all nationalities. Guard the camp worked perfectly. A new file was created, the file of the Kommandantur was destroyed by the SS.

7 and 8 May, the Americans arrived and took over the leadership camps Gusen and Mauthausen.

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XI. - Diary of a conveyor-delegate of the ICRC on its business in Germany, from April 16 to May 12, 1945 (excerpts)

The delegate went to Dachau for this camp and supplies to install a permanent delegate.

Wednesday, April 18, 1945. - Depart for Dachau. The camp commander will receive us in the afternoon. A 14 h. 30, we announce to the guard. We can not be received because there are air raid. We expect and 16.00 h. are received by the camp commander, Oberbannführer Weiter.

The following points are to deal with him:

1. Opportunity for me to live in the camp.

2. Possibility to accommodate drivers of column 40 and to park the trucks.

3. Deposit of food and fuel.

4. Distributions of food parcels to different commandos.

5. Contact with prisoners and their henchmen.

6. ICRC staff subsistence.

The contact is cold. Cigars relax a little stiffness Weiter. This tells us immediately that there is no space available in his camp, but there might be opportunity for us to stay in the training camp of SS, contiguous. In the courtyard, we see the windows of the office, a nation of paupers in rags, with blue and white striped pajamas, crawling endlessly. They are there several thousand in the wind and dust.

We go out with the commander Welter, cross another courtyard lined with shops, warehouses and garages which are working for the SS and prisoners. We support a huge truck gasifier with bread. These few offenders seem not to have look too bad. Further, we saw outside were less positive impression.

We go up by car and arrive at the main barracks of the SS. After a while of waiting, we received another Hauptbannführer. The talks resumed. Finally, it was decided that:

1. I will stay at the house 203, 3 bedroom, officers' quarters.

2. Drivers will stay in Hauptkaserne, Room 331, 4th floor; ...

8. It is forbidden to interview detainees without the presence of an SS designated for that purpose;

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9. We will have to perform, besides racing supplies, medical transportation, the commandos to the camp infirmary;

10. On the occasion, and in an exceptional manner, moving the food and clothing to the camp work commandos - Lan [d] sberg example.

At 17.30, the talks are completed, I am left alone in camp ...

Friday, April 20, 1945. - I try to make contact with the head of the ICRC delegation by telephone from the SS barracks. Impossible, the phone lines are "disturbed". I go see the camp commander, I wish to speak to the prisoners that are there.

After three steps, I received. I get turned down. I then asked to enter the camp, accompanied by a SS that is denied me. I ask to speak to prisoners who work outside the camp that I was also refused by the adjutant of the camp commander, Otto Obersturmführer. I then returned to training camp and try to get to know the SS officers. It's hard. However, having offered a cigarette, I get to talk to one, then the other. They have almost all their wives in the camp. On the other side of the wall, in the camp inmates are defined as short bangs. In the evening, like every night, these sounds are growing ...

Saturday, April 21, 1945. - At 06.00 pm., I am going to take a Uffing instructions. Arrival around 09.00 pm. The head of the delegation told me that my trucks were sent to Moosburg ...

Tuesday, April 24, 1945. - At 18 pm. Departure for Moosburg, retaining all the trucks are there until the arrival of the head of the delegation expects to receive the same evening the written order allowing us to enter the concentration camps and one that requires stopping the evacuation of prisoners of war before the American advance. A 21 h., Arrived in Moosburg ...

Thursday, April 26, 1945. - 06.00 pm. departure for Moosburg with the delegate for Mauthausen. Mission: To organize the column that will leave supplies Mauthausen, an operation loads of food and fuel, prescribing the road to the head of the column and then try to get to Dachau and leaving a permanent delegate.

At 15.30 h. departure for Dachau. At 17.00 h., Arrived at Dachau still cold reception of the adjutant of the camp commander who said he had received no orders for the entry of a delegate to the camp.

Return the next day. Back to Uffing at 21.00 h.

While a headquarters of the ICRC delegation in Germany.
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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Dołączył(a): Wt lis 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Pn lip 02, 2012 10:57 am

Friday, April 27, 1945. - 06.00 pm., Starting with the mission to Moosburg to buy cars that could be used, iron at Dachau and Mauthausen to organize a column. Arrive at 08.30 pm Moosburg. The Allied artillery to pull within one kilometer of the highway Munich-Moosburg. At 11.00 h., The prisoners French, tells me that a column of political prisoners including the French spent the night in Moosburg and the demand we can supply.

Together, we immediately start looking for him while we load a truck of U.S. packages. At 11.45 h. we are back having found the column and start again right away with a truck. 12.30 A distribution begins and lasts until 14.00 pm.

This is the most moving performance I have ever seen. As soon as I got permission to distribute food, I forbid access to the truck and missed the men one by one to receive their packages and go into the neighboring field to eat. The Russians first pounced on the food. It is with great difficulty that the guards contained, otherwise the truck would have been torn to pieces. Several penguins were and had injured the other hand, surrounded by unspeakable rags, they bowed to their capture packets between their stumps and you say thank you in Russian or some sort of language. Tragic spectacle of their human dignity suddenly found in their rags. The body emaciated, tired and lousy, but the serious eyes sunken, all expressing their joy to finally eat their fill.

The French and the Poles remained aloof, dignified, and then passed quietly, without haste. One of them whispered to me, because it was forbidden to speak to them: "Commander V., tell my wife to the Prefecture of Nantes. "Then the procession continued. We distributed 807 packages.

These people came from Buchenwald, walked for 21 days and had not eaten for five days. The purpose of their trip was Dachau, but the SS officer who was driving told me to want to lead them into the American lines.

We still have refueled 182 patients from their column in Freising. I'm not going to forget this extraordinary distribution or the man who came on behalf of his comrades to thank the Red Cross who had "saved my life", or the ovation was given to us upon departure. Back to Moosburg at 15.00 h.

Departure at 16.00 pm. to Dachau. Arrival at 18.00 h. after a puncture. Immediately received by the Warrant camp commander. The tone has changed, then I have on hand and review the list of detainees who remain at the camp. These are 15,936 French, British, Belgians, Dutch, Americans, citizens of the British Dominions and Poles. Other Germans, Russians, Italians, Aus-

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Balkan and dogs are taken in accordance with instructions from General Berger, commanding forces in southern Germany. If I am willing to back tomorrow morning, the camp will be open to me, I definitely will provide lists of the remaining prisoners. It is desired that the Red Cross handed the camp allied forces approaching.

Upon leaving I noticed that the vehicles are loaded and that is finalizing the preparations for evacuation. The commander Welter has already left.

It is 19.00 pm., The first drops of rain begin to fall As I crossed the guardroom, the storm broke, violent. I leave for Uffing. A 7 km. before reaching Pasing, I see a column of women, blanket over his head walking towards Pasing. I slowly began the column by asking if there are French. No one turns away to answer me, so great is the fear of these poor women. Forward march a group of men almost as numerous as those of women.

I dryly calls one of the guards taking the lead position in front of me and I asked him some questions. I learned that the group just walking on Dachau and Mittenwald. The guard tries to ignore the nationality of these people, but says he is Jewish (I learned later that this is false). They have three days' rations with them. Since no one seems to carry anything except the guards weapons, I wonder where this food.

I'm leaving, crossing the road and take Pasing Starnberg, 10 km. before reaching there, I met a column of prisoners tight shoulder against shoulder, which takes the entire width of the road. Where there are still rows, I can count eight men abreast.

I manage to Starnberg in the column heading. It has been 10 km. I'm not sure that there are more columns before me. I constantly asked if there were French and did not answered. Some groups sang songs Slavic, nostalgic, the rain was tight, heavy, cold from time, a corpse at the roadside.

Starnberg before I saw heaps of dead a meter high, perhaps even more. There could be three to five job closer to where I stopped last question for a guard. I heard several shots during this journey of 10 km.

The column was kept to the left and right by men armed with rifles. Every 6 to 8 m., A guard on two accompanied by a dog. Every 300 m. about three or four rows of eight guards without dogs ... Back in Uffing to 10.00 pm. I immediately proposed to the head of the delegation to leave with half a column of trucks

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who had just arrived, to supply these people the next morning, while the other half would go to the archives promised Dachau and would enter the camp, until I come ...

Saturday, April 28, 1945. - 08.00 pm., Starting to find the column of prisoners. I go to Starnberg where I learn. From there to Wolfratshausen. Along the way, I found some fragments of the column of dead people half dead from fatigue in the hedges with a guard dropped his gun. It is still raining since last night; at times it snows.

A 5 km. Wolfratshausen, we stopped by an SS man who wounded a German woman. He asks us to take her to the infirmary Wolfratshausen. He seems very upset. During the trip, this woman tells us she has given bread to two Russians, the SS shot him, she does not know if it is to punish her or if he missed the Russians who fled.

Mounted by Köchel Koenigsdorf without encountering "pajamas"; back to 13.00. to Uffing. At 14.00 h., Starting with five truckloads of food to Mittenwald in the idea down the other road instead of the one followed this morning, if I could manage to build a deposit kept by us to feed these People in passing.

Having failed to reach Mittelwald no authority, I am leaving with the truck by the small road that I did not want to take the morning, still hoping to find my prisoners. Of Köchel, we pass by small roads that are not on the map. Three times a truck falls into the ditch, the road is narrow and slippery. We finally arrive at a farm 7 km. St Heinrich Starnbergersee am to dusk. We are completely blocked by the flood of retreating German columns. I decide to leave my truck there and join Uffing. After many adventures (drop the car into a ditch, blocking tanks and trucks), I manage to Uffing at 0:45.

The head of the delegation then gives me the order to supply a train of about 2,500 Jews, which lies at the station Bernried near Tuging. It was reported by the Swiss Legation, an hour ago. Then supply a camp of 162 French near Tuging ...

Sunday, April 29, 1945. - It is 1.15 pm. when I leave to join my column. It hurts my eyes, because it is very difficult to drive at night without light. The ride-Murnau Weillheim is a judgment without further incident by a man armed with a gun who thinks he matter to Americans.

At 07.45 h. we can leave for Bernried. We finally reach Bernried at 08.45 h., Find our train of Jews and proceed to the parcel delivery. We distributed 2621 packages. We note many messages to all parts of the world. At 10.30 h. the distribution is complete.

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I head the delegation to load a truck with 11 cases for Uffing, then with another truck Haushofen to supply the French, we distribute 209 parcels and off again at 12.50 h. to reach the trucks stopped in Bernried.

Given the information obtained, we can no longer go through Weillheim which would be occupied this morning by the Americans, so I decided to return to Uffing with the column which has two more truckloads of five. We are in a sort of "no man's land" inhabited from time to time by detachments of soldiers and much waiting the arrival of the Americans to surrender.

We travel by small paths and arrive safely at Uffing by Murnau at 14.30 h., An hour and a half before the Americans, the column and the entire staff, the biggest surprise and the delight of everyone .. .

Wednesday, May 2, 1945. - 08.00 pm. Depart for Dachau. For over three hours we try in vain to get there. We take our way to see the train of corpses parked beside the road about 1 km. camp. From there we go Moosburg. Back to Uffing 20.00 to ...

Friday, May 4, 1945. - I command Moosburg refueling for a detachment of 160 Dutch women, French and Belgian, 1550 more parcels for a French Stalag Wolfratshausen. We then see 59 women in Munich Agfa commando ...

Saturday, May 5, 1945. - The head of the delegation agreed that I try to repatriate the Dutch women's detachment Wolfratshausen. With a little courage, we hope it will succeed. I leave at 07.30 pm Uffing. and arrives at 10.00 pm. Wolfratshausen after a puncture.

French prisoners of war, with their customary kindness, I repair the car. Meanwhile, I'll see the camp commander where the women and advised that I am in possession of the necessary authorizations to carry out these evacuations. People ask me about writing, I reply that the permissions are verbal. It then asks me to go to the 21 th Army Corps, in Bad Tolz, armed with a list of people to evacuate. I go to camp Führenwald where these women, to establish the desired nominal roll. It lasts four hours.

Bad Tolz we win without further incident. When we enter the office G. 5 we find that Dr. Fischer told me that everything is in order for our releases, that are written orders to Headquarters 7th Army ...

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Sunday, May 6, 1945. - Departure at 09.00 pm. to Munich. Contacted the office of French repatriation to organize the evacuation of 210 French political prisoners ...

Monday, May 7, 1945. - 5.30 pm. departure for Oflag Murnau to evacuate the French who are there in number 210. A delegate is responsible to evacuate 250 French Moosburg. They embark on the column of trucks will leave this camp. A Uffing I has 6 trucks on which I installed my 210 French ...

Tuesday, May 8, 1945. - Departure at 06.00 pm. Ulm. In Ulm we have to wait three hours to reach the boat deck. Meanwhile we collected 50 French who were heading towards Ulm, either on foot or by bicycle or on an American truck.

Then we leave for Ravensburg, Merseburg, Radolfzell, Constance, Kreuzlingen. The border crossing took two hours and it is 21.00 pm. when the train takes to Zurich this convoy of French ...

XII. - Report of an ICRC delegate on its activities to Dachau, from April 27 to May 2, 1945

I. Travel with a column Uffing at Dachau.

II. Distribution of food parcels to prisoners directly.

III. Award of the American concentration camp.

I. On 27 April 1945, I was charged with the following mission: get to the Dachau concentration camp and stay there ...

II. I told a sentinel of the concentration camp Dachau of my desire to speak to the camp commander. Shortly after, I was received by the adjutant of the command, Lieutenant Otto, in the office of Commander in the Kommandantur itself, Building No. 109. I asked permission to move freely in the concentration camp where the prisoners, but again I had to wipe a failure. The commander said that it was not possible to grant me such an authorization. It gave me more than we could get that through the General Kaltenbrunner who was at that time near Linz. The telephone and telegraph were not working, which complicated things considerably.

These gentlemen were very pleased to hear the arrival of food parcels. Commander introduced me to his desire for the

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immediate repatriation of some 17,500 deportees whose health was so far satisfactory. In these, there was a majority of French and Polish, along with other nationalities, but the Germans, Jews, Russians and Bulgarians could be released. I replied that I should start by contacting my headquarters at Uffing, and that if possible the next Sunday already. To complete the Commander asked me to carry as soon as possible a cargo of food parcels in the new concentration camp Oetzthal in Tyrol. He did not name the "concentration camp", but "deposit" (Verlagerung).

We took leave without obtaining permission to personally distribute food parcels to prisoners. I was accompanied by Lieutenant Otto, while MM was busy making the column back in the yard when I received the authorization to distribute the packages myself to the deportees in the prison yard. Great joy prevailed among the prisoners and of course that because it was the first time a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross had access to the camp. SS officers were still in our neighborhood and with great difficulty I could get some information from them, inter alia, that since 1 January 1945, there were about 15,000 fatal cases of typhus, that during transportation of Buchenwald, which included 5,000 prisoners, about 2,700 were dead on arrival at Dachau. I learned that most prisoners who included Mr. Blum, Mr. Schuschnigg, etc.., Were taken a few days earlier, along with other prisoners from 5 to 6000. I think the thing was done because the battle front approached more and more. Prisoners of various nationalities, assisted by their aid, unloaded the truck and I signed return receipts attached ... I spent the night in the house No. 203, Room No. 3, this shack is not in the prison camp.

The night from Saturday to Sunday was agitated because of the din of battle which approached more and more. Furthermore, in other barracks were many SS troops who were preparing to go into battle or who had other tasks. But all this, I learned that on Sunday morning. The atmosphere was strange when we looked, we saw indications that allowed to think that the troops were found in these huts had fled and more, the noise of battle drew closer still. Arriving around 10.30 pm., At the main entrance of the concentration camp, I met soldiers who stood guard, a white flag floated on the main towers. Most of the officers, soldiers and employees had fled during the night.

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III. I remained with Lieutenant Wickert to delivery of the camp to the Americans. He intended, he and his soldiers, abandoning the great camp of 35 to 40,000 prisoners and only after lengthy discussions that I managed to make him change his mind, but the following conditions:

should stay the sentinels on the towers to keep at bay the prisoners and prevent them from escaping;

soldiers who were not on call had to move into the yard, unarmed;

the whole garrison was to be assured retreat to his own battle lines.

These conditions were successfully observed, because otherwise it would be a great misfortune happened: if thousands of deportees were able to escape, filled with feelings of revenge, the people of Dorten and the surrounding region would have had to suffer one could not foresee, on the other hand, all the evil that would have caused the spread of epidemics. The din of battle was becoming unbearable and I noticed that she had for theater space in front of the very walls of the concentration camp. I then took the following decision: I found a broom handle and it stared a white towel. I prayed when a German officer to accompany me and we passed the gate of the concentration camp. The bullets whistled around us. Shortly after, I saw an American motorized section which I drew attention by waving the white flag. Soon we were surrounded by various U.S. military automobiles. I introduced myself. The General asked me first to go take some pictures of press with the German officer and especially that of a train full of corpses all. As I later learned it was a train of prisoners of Buchenwald, there were 500 bodies. I think many of these men had been killed while others were probably starved to death. I made the acquaintance of Major Every and I informed him of the restoration plan of the camp to the Americans, asking him to forward it to General.

We returned with the car in the courtyard of the concentration camp where there were already some Americans. Those of German troops who were not guard had already made. The thousands of deportees, a disorderly mob, were beside themselves and overjoyed to learn released. The watchmen on the towers were also replaced. In a small yard, a few still shots were fired and there were some killed on both sides. I set a personal relationship with the American general. I explained the restoration plan of the camp and I received his approval. The joy of the deportees knew no bounds, is presented much-

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tèrent armed and ready, it seemed, to perform instant revenge against the Germans. Those who carried weapons were disarmed immediately. The crowd managed to pull the large gates with barbed wire. Some took advantage of their release to get away while others embraced the American soldiers, to bring some calm, they were forced to pull over the head of the deportees. Officers in charge began also in connection with the Dean camp and various henchmen. To 22 hours, the camp had become calmer, but still many shots are left that night. Around midnight, I finally went to my lodgings, where I held to headquarters of the Chamber of German camp commander. I realized then that my trunks had been broken into and various items that I was missing and a sum of s Fr. 200. -. On Monday, April 20, 1945, I made contact with various American officers responsible and with the prisoners. I inquired immediately about supplies. There was enough food for the first few days. Then I ordered the prisoners to list the occupants of this camp.

Tuesday, 1 May 1945, we received a visit from two members of our embassy who came to make a short visit and then we visited the prison, where we saw the crematorium in a large room with hundreds of bodies stacked on top of each other and all naked. We also visited the room of the executioner, the gas chambers, crematoria, etc.. I spent the rest of this day with American officers and men of confidence.

Wednesday, May 2, 1945. I have dealt almost exclusively in U.S. headquarters which had to be discussed the various questions. I was asked to get as quickly as possible large quantities of supplies and medicines. Major Batt, officer responsible for refueling, expressed to me his gratitude for the efforts of the International Committee of Red Cross and its assistance. Returning to my room late in the afternoon, I had to unfortunately note that I had stolen a second time. I have already reported the lists of Polish and Dutch and a list of about 160 Jewish women.

XIII. - Report of an ICRC delegate, on the liberation of the camp near Landsberg Turckheim

Landsberg camps, under the command of Obersturmban [n] Foerstner Führer, were composed of ten camps

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different, separated from each other. The number of prisoners were about 15,000 Jews of all nationalities, with a majority of Hungarians and Poles.

April 26, 1945, we went to Landsberg and we found that the camps were evacuated, except for 500 people, in Colmar. The evacuation of these prisoners was continuing and all Jews had great fears of being shot.

We asked the commander Foerstner the return of 15,000 people in Landsberg transferred to Dachau. The commander was refused us, saying that he had received higher orders did not allow him to bring the detainees at Landsberg.

Back in Colmar, I opened the camp and brought out all the prisoners, who fled into surrounding forests within 10 km. Only 200 people chose to remain in camp.

I spent the night in a barrack. At two o'clock in the morning, the Americans opened fire against the Germans, the battle took place at the same camp and lasted three hours. Following this meeting, many corpses littering the ground. I picked up the seriously wounded and that I could place in the surrounding houses. It took a few days before having the opportunity to carry them in a quarantine station where they were placed in the custody of a German doctor.

The food being totally lacking in the camp, I went to the Bürgermeister Zwick, a relative of Julius Streicher, asking him to urgently provide food to the camp. Mr. Zwick has accepted this request and has done his best. I am also made to the Salamander shoe factory and I could get 500 pairs of shoes. I have also commandeered a deposit in an amount of clothes and we could also get the following week a second batch of tissue was, so that prisoners have traded their pajamas political detainees against clothing decent. The health status of the camp is dismal. Patients suffering from typhus There are 80. I could carry them with the assistance of the Americans in the Park Hotel in Woerishofen. Vaccines completely missing, the death toll is 3 to 4 per week. Inmates who are not sick, however, have almost no strength to eat. The camp doctor is Dr. Ratz, who is a Jew from Vienna. Much of the inmates currently housed in the peasants of the neighborhood and come to refuel at the camp. I had to do almost all journeys on foot, or 40 miles a day on average, because of total lack of transportation.

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I spent one night the prisoner about fifty prisoners of war and Russian workers who locked me in a farm.

I could compile a list of up to 3,000 people who are now near Landsberg. With respect to the dead, the graves that lie in the cemetery do not wear names and most of the deceased are not identifiable. In repatriating the detainees can not wait until it is organized and they leave without papers, on the roads.

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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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Re: IRC: Concentration camps in Germany (1939-1945)

Postprzez Jerzy Ulicki-Rek » Wt lip 03, 2012 10:37 am

A FACTUAL APPRAISAL OF THE "HOLOCAUST" BY THE RED CROSS


From the book "Did Six Million Really Die?"

ICRC, Germany denying access to Holocaust archive
Article From The Washington Post 03-26-06


The Jews And The Concentration Camps:
A Factual Appraisal By The Red Cross.


There is one survey of the Jewish question in Europe during World War Two and the conditions of Germany's concentration camps which is almost unique in its honesty and objectivity, the three-volume Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities during the Second World War, Geneva, 1948.
This comprehensive account from an entirely neutral source incorporated and expanded the findings of two previous works: Documents sur l'activité du CICR en faveur des civils détenus dans les camps de concentration en Allemagne 1939-1945 (Geneva, 1946), and Inter Arma Caritas: the Work of the ICRC during the Second World War (Geneva, 1947). The team of authors, headed by Frédéric Siordet, explained in the opening pages of the Report that their object, in the tradition of the Red Cross, had been strict political neutrality, and herein lies its great value.
The ICRC successfully applied the 1929 Geneva military convention in order to gain access to civilian internees held in Central and Western Europe by the Germany authorities. By contrast, the ICRC was unable to gain any access to the Soviet Union, which had failed to ratify the Convention. The millions of civilian and military internees held in the USSR, whose conditions were known to be by far the worst, were completely cut off from any international contact or supervision.
The Red Cross Report is of value in that it first clarifies the legitimate circumstances under which Jews were detained in concentration camps, i.e. as enemy aliens. In describing the two categories of civilian internees, the Report distinguishes the second type as "Civilians deported on administrative grounds (in German, "Schutzhäftlinge"), who were arrested for political or racial motives because their presence was considered a danger to the State or the occupation forces" (Vol. 111, p. 73). These persons, it continues, "were placed on the same footing as persons arrested or imprisoned under common law for security reasons." (P.74).
The Report admits that the Germans were at first reluctant to permit supervision by the Red Cross of people detained on grounds relating to security, but by the latter part of 1942, the ICRC obtained important concessions from Germany. They were permitted to distribute food parcels to major concentration camps in Germany from August 1942, and "from February 1943 onwards this concession was extended to all other camps and prisons" (Vol. 111, p. 78). The ICRC soon established contact with camp commandants and launched a food relief programme which continued to function until the last months of 1945, letters of thanks for which came pouring in from Jewish internees.


Red Cross Recipients Were Jews


The Report states that "As many as 9,000 parcels were packed daily. From the autumn of 1943 until May 1945, about 1,112,000 parcels with a total weight of 4,500 tons were sent off to the concentration camps" (Vol. III, p. 80). In addition to food, these contained clothing and pharmaceutical supplies. "Parcels were sent to Dachau, Buchenwald, Sangerhausen, Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg, Flossenburg, Landsberg-am-Lech, Flöha, Ravensbrück, Hamburg-Neuengamme, Mauthausen, Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, to camps near Vienna and in Central and Southern Germany. The principal recipients were Belgians, Dutch, French, Greeks, Italians, Norwegians, Poles and stateless Jews" (Vol. III, p. 83).
In the course of the war, "The Committee was in a position to transfer and distribute in the form of relief supplies over twenty million Swiss francs collected by Jewish welfare organisations throughout the world, in particular by the American Joint Distribution Committee of New York" (Vol. I, p. 644). This latter organisation was permitted by the German Government to maintain offices in Berlin until the American entry into the war. The ICRC complained that obstruction of their vast relief operation for Jewish internees came not from the Germans but from the tight Allied blockade of Europe. Most of their purchases of relief food were made in Rumania, Hungary and Slovakia.
The ICRC had special praise for the liberal conditions which prevailed at Theresienstadt up to the time of their last visits there in April 1945. This camp, "where there were about 40,000 Jews deported from various countries was a relatively privileged ghetto" (Vol. III, p. 75). According to the Report, "'The Committee's delegates were able to visit the camp at Theresienstadt (Terezin) which was used exclusively for Jews and was governed by special conditions. From information gathered by the Committee, this camp had been started as an experiment by certain leaders of the Reich ... These men wished to give the Jews the means of setting up a communal life in a town under their own administration and possessing almost complete autonomy. . . two delegates were able to visit the camp on April 6th, 1945. They confirmed the favourable impression gained on the first visit" (Vol. I, p . 642).
The ICRC also had praise for the regime of Ion Antonescu of Fascist Rumania where the Committee was able to extend special relief to 183,000 Rumanian Jews until the time of the Soviet occupation. The aid then ceased, and the ICRC complained bitterly that it never succeeded "in sending anything whatsoever to Russia" (Vol. II, p. 62). The same situation applied to many of the German camps after their "liberation" by the Russians. The ICRC received a voluminous flow of mail from Auschwitz until the period of the Soviet occupation, when many of the internees were evacuated westward. But the efforts of the Red Cross to send relief to internees remaining at Auschwitz under Soviet control were futile. However, food parcels continued to be sent to former Auschwitz inmates transferred west to such camps as Buchenwald and Oranienburg.


No Evidence Of Genocide


One of the most important aspects of the Red Cross Report is that it clarifies the true cause of those deaths that undoubtedly occurred in the camps toward the end of the war. Says the Report: "In the chaotic condition of Germany after the invasion during the final months of the war, the camps received no food supplies at all and starvation claimed an increasing number of victims. Itself alarmed by this situation, the German Government at last informed the ICRC on February 1st, 1945 ... In March 1945, discussions between the President of the ICRC and General of the S.S. Kaltenbrunner gave even more decisive results. Relief could henceforth be distributed by the ICRC, and one delegate was authorised to stay in each camp ..." (Vol. III, p. 83).
Clearly, the German authorities were at pains to relieve the dire situation as far as they were able. The Red Cross are quite explicit in stating that food supplies ceased at this time due to the Allied bombing of German transportation, and in the interests of interned Jews they had protested on March 15th, 1944 against "the barbarous aerial warfare of the Allies" (Inter Arma Caritas, p. 78). By October 2nd, 1944, the ICRC warned the German Foreign Office of the impending collapse of the German transportation system, declaring that starvation conditions for people throughout Germany were becoming inevitable.
In dealing with this comprehensive, three-volume Report, it is important to stress that the delegates of the International Red Cross found no evidence whatever at the camps in Axis occupied Europe of a deliberate policy to exterminate the Jews. In all its 1,600 pages the Report does not even mention such a thing as a gas chamber. It admits that Jews, like many other wartime nationalities, suffered rigours and privations, but its complete silence on the subject of planned extermination is ample refutation of the Six Million legend. Like the Vatican representatives with whom they worked, the Red Cross found itself unable to indulge in the irresponsible charges of genocide which had become the order of the day. So far as the genuine mortality rate is concerned, the Report points out that most of the Jewish doctors from the camps were being used to combat typhus on the eastern front, so that they were unavailable when the typhus epidemics of 1945 broke out in the camps (Vol. I, p. 204 ff) - Incidentally, it is frequently claimed that mass executions were carried out in gas chambers cunningly disguised as shower facilities. Again the Report makes nonsense of this allegation. "Not only the washing places, but installations for baths, showers and laundry were inspected by the delegates. They had often to take action to have fixtures made less primitive, and to get them repaired or enlarged" (Vol. III, p. 594).


Not All Were Interned


Volume III of the Red Cross Report, Chapter 3 (I. Jewish Civilian Population) deals with the "aid given to the Jewish section of the free population," and this chapter makes it quite plain that by no means all of the European Jews were placed in internment camps, but remained, subject to certain restrictions, as part of the free civilian population. This conflicts directly with the "thoroughness" of the supposed "extermination programme", and with the claim in the forged Höss memoirs that Eichmann was obsessed with seizing "every single Jew he could lay his hands on."
In Slovakia, for example, where Eichmann's assistant Dieter Wisliceny was in charge, the Report states that "A large proportion of the Jewish minority had permission to stay in the country, and at certain periods Slovakia was looked upon as a comparative haven of refuge for Jews, especially for those coming from Poland. Those who remained in Slovakia seem to have been in comparative safety until the end of August 1944, when a rising against the German forces took place. While it is true that the law of May 15th, 1942 had brought about the internment of several thousand Jews, these people were held in camps where the conditions of food and lodging were tolerable, and where the internees were allowed to do paid work on terms almost equal to those of the free labour market" (Vol. I, p. 646).
Not only did large numbers of the three million or so European Jews avoid internment altogether, but the emigration of Jews continued throughout the war, generally by way of Hungary, Rumania and Turkey. Ironically, post-war Jewish emigration from German-occupied territories was also facilitated by the Reich, as in the case of the Polish Jews who had escaped to France before its occupation. "The Jews from Poland who, whilst in France, had obtained entrance permits to the United States were held to be American citizens by the German occupying authorities, who further agreed to recognize the validity of about three thousand passports issued to Jews by the consulates of South American countries" (Vol. I, p. 645).
As future U.S. citizens, these Jews were held at the Vittel camp in southern France for American aliens. The emigration of European Jews from Hungary in particular proceeded during the war unhindered by the German authorities. "Until March 1944," says the. Red Cross Report, "Jews who had the privilege of visas for Palestine were free to leave Hungary" (Vol. I, p. 648). Even after the replacement of the Horthy Government in 1944 (following its attempted armistice with the Soviet Union) with a government more dependent on German authority, the emigration of Jews continued.
The Committee secured the pledges of both Britain and the United States "to give support by every means to the emigration of Jews from Hungary," and from the U.S. Government the ICRC received a message stating that "The Government of the United States ... now specifically repeats its assurance that arrangements will be made by it for the care of all Jews who in the present circumstances are allowed to leave" (Vol. I, p . 649).

Biedermann agreed that in the nineteen instances that "Did Six Million Really Die?" quoted from the Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities during the Second World War and Inter Arma Caritas (this includes the above material), it did so accurately.

A quote from Charles Biedermann (a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Director of the Red Cross' International Tracing Service) under oath at the Zündel Trial (February 9, 10, 11 and 12, 1988).

The above is chapter nine from the book "Did Six Million Really Die?"




The 'False News' Trial of Ernst Zündel -- 1988


Charles Biedermann


[Charles Biedermann was the fifth witness called by the Crown. He testified on February 9, 10, 11 and 12, 1988.]
Charles Biedermann was appointed a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1981 and appointed Director of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in 1985. (11-2493, 2495)
The management and administration of the ITS was taken over by the ICRC in 1955. Biedermann was employed by the ICRC in Geneva and was required under the Bonn Agreement of 1955 to be a delegate of the ICRC. He spoke as its authorized representative. (10- 2403, 11-2495, 2496)


The mandate of the ICRC was to ensure the fulfillment of the Geneva Conventions. There were four Geneva Conventions and two Protocols, all of which dealt with the protection of persons during war. (11-2493, 2494)
The ITS had four mandates: (1) the assembling; (2) classification; (3) administration; and (4) evaluation of documents of former civilian persecutees of the National Socialist regime for the purpose of enabling these people to obtain pension benefits. (11-2496, 2499) The documents were centralized in one main data file, containing about 44 million pieces of information regarding about 14 million former persecutees. (10-2406; 12-2708).


The ITS had processed just over 1.7 million applications since its inception. Payment of compensation and pensions by West Germany currently totaled between 82 and 88 billion marks. West Germany also paid the cost of running the ITS; approximately 10.5 million marks, or $7-8 million Canadian. (12-2715 to 2719)
The actual ownership of the documents rested with the ten Allied governments which composed the supervisory body (International Commission) of the ITS. These ten governments included the United Kingdom, the United States, the Federal Republic of West Germany and Israel. (11-2496, 2497) All documents were archived in the headquarters of the ITS in Arolsen, West Germany. (10-2405)


Access to the documents was limited by the Bonn Agreements of 1955 to former persecutees and their legal successors on the grounds that the documents were all person-related and therefore not open to the public. (11-2497, 2498). The wording used in the Bonn Agreement was that the archives were "only to be evaluated in the interests of the former persecutees themselves or their successors." (12-2676). The only exception to this rule, as provided for under the agreements, was that representatives of any of the ten Allied governments of the supervisory body had the right to inspect the documents. (11-2497) Any application by one of the ten governments for access was reviewed by the Director of the ITS; if the Director felt it was not justified, he could submit the application to the International Commission for the final decision. He could not remember any request by Israel being denied. (12-2711)


The definition of "former persecutee" was set out in the Bonn Agreements of 1955. (12-2716) If a person had been placed in a Nazi concentration camp because he was a common criminal, he could still make application to the ITS for documentation for a pension. The ITS made no distinction in the reasons why persons were detained in the camps. Whether the former criminal received a pension or not, however, depended on the country in which he resided today and what nationality he was. Next-of-kin of former inmates killed by Allied bombing raids could likewise apply for pensions as "persecutees." (12-2718)
The ITS published a three-part annual report. Since 1979, the second and third parts, dealing with the administration of the archives and the inventory of newly acquired documents, were no longer available to the public and were seen only by the International Commission. (12-2720, 2723)


The Special Registry Office was an agency of the Federal Republic of Germany, responsible directly to the Ministry of the Interior of the Province of Hesse and whose mandate was to certify deaths which occurred in concentration camps. (10 2407) The Special Registry Office consisted of two divisions: the preliminary investigation registry and the regular registry. The ICRC and the Special Registry Office were two separate institutions. (11-2498)


If dependents of former persecutees who had died during the war requested a death certificate, the ICRC passed the request together with any evidence it had concerning the individual to the Special Registry Office. Such death certificates were required in order to make restitution or pension claims. (11-2498, 2499) The latter organization decided whether the information was sufficient to certify a death. (10-2407, 2408)


Biedermann confirmed that as of December 31, 1983, the total number of deaths registered with the Special Registry Office and various other registry offices was 373,468. (11-2515) This figure represented death certificates issued pursuant to received applications and was based, with respect to the Special Registry Office, on camp records kept by the Nazis during the war. (11-2516, 2517)


Biedermann agreed that at an international conference held by the International Committee of the Camps in Vienna in 1977, the then director of the ITS, Albert de Cocatrix, gave a speech which indicated that as of December 31, 1976 a total of 357,190 names of persons who died in concentration camps had been registered at the Special Registry Office. Biedermann confirmed that these numbers actually came from the ITS. (12-2640 to 2646) He pointed out, however, that these figures resulted from applications. If an entire family had died, there was no one to make an application for a death certificate. Secondly, the ITS had complete documentation for only two of the twenty-two concentration camps. For the remainder, it had either partial or no documentation. Therefore, if an application was made for a person who had allegedly died in one of these camps, the ITS would not have the records to justify a request to the Special Registry Office for a death certificate. (12-2647)


Biedermann agreed with a statement in the de Cocatrix speech that "persons destined for extermination were brought to the gas chamber without being registered." He gave as an example a Paris- Drancy transport of 1,000 people, where only a part were registered in Auschwitz. Although this did not prove gassings, it proved to Biedermann that they disappeared without coming back again to be liberated. (12-2649; speech entered as Exhibit 26)


To determine whether a deportee obtained a number at Auschwitz, the ITS compared transport lists and arrival dates with the number lists prepared by the Auschwitz Museum in Poland. It also checked other sources which might prove that a deportee was registered, such as an effects card, a sick card or a registration card. (12-2655, 2556) Biedermann believed the ITS had all of the registration particulars from Auschwitz in copy form (12-2661) but admitted that it did not have all of the Auschwitz records "by far." (12-2656, 2657) He later stated that the ITS had the registration camp numbers for every day of the period only "as far as they could be reconstructed" by the Auschwitz State Museum. (12-2663) Other records which the ITS obtained from Auschwitz included copies of death books, cremation lists, death records from the camp doctor and a list about the death books. (12-2661)


Biedermann agreed that in the nineteen instances Did Six Million Really Die? quoted from the Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities during the Second World War and Inter Arma Caritas, it did so accurately. He felt, however, that the quotations from the three Red Cross volumes should not have been combined. (11-2530, 2592)


In February, 1978, the ICRC published in its monthly Bulletin No. 25 an article to make it clear, after the publication Did Six Million Really Die? came to its attention, that it did not compile the statistics being attributed to it. He denied it was done pursuant to political pressure. (12-2910, 2921)


Biedermann testified that while records of the ICRC demonstrated that Nazi prisoner of war camps were inspected regularly and found to be well-administered during the war, the records did not show concentration camps to be well administered. (11-2504, 2505)


The ICRC made a distinction between "concentration camps" and "extermination camps." It had records concerning the former, no records concerning the latter, specifically, Treblinka, Sobibor, Chelmno, or Belzec, except for records relating to railway transports. (11-2505, 2506) Biedermann testified that the organization did have records for Majdanek and Auschwitz, as these doubled as both "extermination" and "concentration" camps. (11-2506)


Biedermann testified that the parcel programme to concentration camp inmates was available only to those detainees whose names and places of detention were known to the ICRC. It was therefore available to Nazi prisoners of war from the beginning of the war because their names were known, while the civilian detainees were not known and therefore could not obtain parcels. Supervision by the ICRC relating to people who were interned for security reasons was possible only from March or April of 1945. (11- 2508, 2509)
Biedermann testified that the article from Die Tat of Zurich, January 19, 1955, cited by Harwood at page 30 of the pamphlet did not mention the ICRC as alleged by Harwood. (11-2513)


He confirmed several other statements in Did Six Million Really Die?, such as the fact that the ICRC never succeeded in sending any relief supplies to prisoners in Soviet camps and that the ICRC received a number of acknowledgments of receipt from inmates at Auschwitz before the Soviets overtook the camp in January, 1945. (11- 2569, 2570) Thereafter, the camp was "liberated" according to the Geneva Conventions and any persons interned there by the Soviets were under the mandate of any national Red Cross organization. (11- 2570)


The Crown quoted to Biedermann that part of Did Six Million Really Die? at page 18 in which Harwood quoted from Thies Christophersen's book Die Auschwitz Luge, in which Christophersen claimed that:
€ "...In September 1944 a commission of the International Red Cross came to the camp for an inspection. They were particularly interested in the camp at Birkenau, though we also had many inspections at Raisko."


Biedermann testified that if an inspection by the ICRC of the camp had taken place, the ITS would have the documents, but they did not. While records of the ICRC did refer to a visit to the camp in September of 1944, the delegates did not enter the camp, but were allowed only to see the camp commandant in order to discuss the effectiveness of the current system of distributing parcels to the inmates. The delegates were not able to establish direct contact with the inmates, but were able to meet with several representatives of different nationalities. (11-2501 to 2503)


Biedermann testified that in 1987, the ICRC had given the rector of a university in Geneva, as a neutral third party, the mandate to revise the history of the ICRC from 1933 to 1945 as there were uncertainties in some areas, such as the parcel distribution system. (11-2530) The ICRC had been attacked on numerous occasions for not having done enough, specifically for the civilian persecutees in the concentration camps, and one of the reasons for the rewriting was to show that the ICRC had done all that it could do at the time. He could not exclude the possibility that the ICRC was under more pressure in 1988 than in 1948 to emphasize the Holocaust. (12-2744, 2745)


Asked if the ICRC was becoming revisionist in their history, Biedermann replied: "We're human beings like everybody else. If something isn't clear and we become aware of it, we're obliged to correct it." (11-2531) He stated: "The writing of history does not always take place immediately after the events. So the ICRC goes according to the principle, after the completion of a programme, to only 25 years after that completion to draw up a final report, to intentionally gain certain historical distance." (12-2745)
Biedermann was shown a large, two volume work entitled Gedenkbuch, which had been prepared by the State Archive in Koblenz with the assistance of the ITS as a gift from the Federal Republic of Germany to the state of Israel. It was published in 1962 and took the place of a monument stone. The book consisted of pages of names, many of which had beside them the words verschollen meaning "missing," and another German word meaning "unknown." (11-2596 to 2598)


In the preparation of Gedenkbuch, the ITS had been asked to check some 498,000 names that had been collected by the Federal Archive. In the final book itself, there were some 129,000 names. Biedermann could not say what steps the Federal Archive or other archives had taken to see if those persons were alive; for example, by checking the names with Soviet authorities or with the Departments of Vital Statistics in such countries as Canada. (11-2597, 2598)


While the ITS itself did not search records of deceased persons with registries in other countries, many of the applications it handled came via national Red Cross Societies which had tracing service departments making such searches. Biedermann had no personal knowledge, however, of what the Canadian Red Cross, for example, did to check with the Departments of Vital Statistics of various provinces. (11-2599, 2600)


Biedermann could not recall any document from Nazi authorities from between 1939 and 1945 which used the word vernichtungslager, meaning "extermination camp." He did not know the origin of the word but understood it to mean a camp where people were not registered and were never released. (11-2600, 2601)


He acknowledged that in a map contained in the Report of the International Tracing Service, 1986, (Exhibit 25), both Auschwitz and Majdanek were referred to only as "concentration camps" while two other camps, near Riga and Minsk, were referred to as "extermination camps." He did not know whether these camps had ever before been listed as "extermination camps." (11-2602)
It was decided by ITS to classify Auschwitz and Majdanek as "concentration camps" only because the use of both symbols to indicate their double function "would cause further questions in the minds of people [which] would remain unanswered in that case." (12- 2632) The only documents which they had for "extermination camps" such as Riga were transport lists to that destination or an order for such a transport. (12-2706)


Under present German law, twenty-two of the camps which existed in Nazi Germany must be called "concentration camps"; these twenty-two camps had together over one thousand sub-Kommandos of different sizes which depended for administration on one of the main "concentration camps." Statistics were reported daily from the sub-Kommandos to the main camps. (11-2603).
The ITS had complete original records for only two of the "concentration camps," Buchenwald and Dachau. Although he knew the ITS had transport records to various camps, he did not know to which camps or transports the records pertained. The transport lists in the possession of the ITS were deemed to be incomplete as the agency had to assume, based on the literature or general documents, that there were more. An example of this was a transport from Drancy, France, of 1,000 Jews, a segment of whom were registered in Auschwitz two days later. The rest of the transport was not registered. Biedermann was aware that prisoners went from Auschwitz to other camps, but did not believe they did so without first being registered. (11-2603 to 2607)


Biedermann knew that the ITS had at least one transport list for Treblinka but did not know how many names were on it. He mentioned that in the Düsseldorf trial regarding the Treblinka camp in the 1960s the court, by expert testimony, set the death figure at 900,000. He did not know whether the ITS provided any records for this trial. (12-2632, 2633)


There were thirty-nine or forty death books from Auschwitz. Of these, the ITS had copies of only three of the books. The remainder were in Moscow (11-2609, 2610) and Biedermann had last requested the authorities in January 1988 for copies. (12 2675) The books were in loose-leaf form and gave the name, date and cause of death for each inmate, together with other data such as detainee numbers. (12- 2622)


Although ITS had the complete original Nazi documents from Buchenwald and Dachau, including death lists, it had not made a count of deaths. Asked why, Biedermann said the documents from Dachau alone "would fill a whole hall," and it would exceed the capacity and financial means of ITS to undertake such work. (12 2672, 2673) He later admitted, however, that the ICRC had given the definite instruction to the ITS not to establish or draw up statistics. He stated: "I have the clear order not to draw up statistics, so all the statistics that you might show me now must come from a different source than from our source. The same refers to general historical research and camp records.." (12-2701, 2702)


Shown the chart of deaths in Dachau from 1940 to 1945, Biedermann stated that Dachau had been liberated by the Americans who therefore had large numbers of records concerning the camp in copy form. However, he personally did not have knowledge of the statistics for the reasons given. (12-2701) Biedermann agreed that the German authorities kept meticulous camp records at Dachau and Buchenwald. (12-2674) Biedermann believed that all "extermination camps" were the ones captured by the Soviet forces. (12-2675)


Documents only became part of the ITS inventory after being authenticated. The documents were either copied or filmed on microfiche. ITS was obliged, in the event of a legal dispute, to know the location of the original document and also that access to that original document was guaranteed. (12-2693, 2694)


The ICRC had official camp records of executions in the camps by hanging or shooting. These documents were not marked secret. It was suggested to Biedermann that if exterminations were going on of unregistered inmates in the camps the ICRC had many contacts in Europe to find out about it. Biedermann replied that they had always tried to do so but had never received any confirmations at the time. He agreed there was never any indication by the Red Cross from all its reports that gas chambers were being used during the war. (12- 2624, 2625)


He was not aware of any request by the Allies to investigate the accusations of alleged homicidal gas chambers in any of the camps after the war but he knew "for sure" that the ICRC never made any such investigation. (12-2735)


The ITS did not have any records of visits to Auschwitz other than the September, 1944 visit report. Biedermann acknowledged that the 1944 report by Dr. Rossel spoke of a "rumour" of a very modern shower being used as a gas chamber, but that the detainees said nothing about it. He stated that it was definitely possible that the delegate could have spoken to inmates outside of the camp and agreed that the report said nothing about smoke. (11-2613 to 2618) He knew that the commandant's house was very close to the alleged gas chamber in Auschwitz I. (12-2667)


Biedermann agreed that the sentence, "In its relief work for civilian populations, the ICRC paid special attention to the Jews," appeared in volume three of the Report of the ICRC, and explained that this special protection was required especially by civilians persecuted for racial or religious reasons. He agreed that the Joint Relief Committee received large sums from Jews in countries either neutral or at war with Germany, particularly America and Switzerland. He agreed further that at the beginning of the war, the ICRC had considerable contacts with Jews in Europe. He did not agree that this contact extended into 1943 or 1944, except for the parcel distribution programme. He agreed parcels were sent to Auschwitz during the war to Jews. (12-2627 to 2630)


Biedermann stated that the ICRC's parcel distribution programme to the German concentration camps was negatively affected by the Allied blockade and the destruction of roads and railways by Allied saturation bombing. (12-2637).


Biedermann felt the ICRC was impartial during the war and attempted from the beginning of the war to obtain confirmation of rumours of atrocities. He did not know, however, why the ICRC refused the invitation of the German Red Cross to investigate the Katyn Forest massacre. (12-2638) Nor was he aware that the ICRC was invited to witness the exhumation of the bodies at that place. (12- 2639) He knew that for many years after the war thousands of German prisoners of war were used as forced labour for the Allied countries, but was unaware of any ICRC report on this matter (12- 2727) or of any condemnation by the ICRC of the use of compulsory German labour. (12-2733) Although he was aware of the displacement of large numbers of Germans from their ancestral homes, he believed they were not under the protection of the Geneva Convention. (12-2733, 2734) He did not know anything about the murder of 560 guards at Dachau concentration camp upon its liberation or the fact that photographs existed which showed the presence of an ICRC representative during the massacre committed by American troops. No mention was made of the massacre in the official ICRC report on Dachau. (12-2736 to 2741)


Biedermann was not aware of the ICRC or any delegate ever testifying before in a criminal proceeding for the prosecution of the publisher of a book. (12-2726)
Reproduced gratefully from: The Journal for Historical Review (http://www.ihr.org)





ICRC, Germany denying access to Holocaust archive

Source: The Washington Post (3-26-06)

SIXTY-ONE YEARS ago this spring, the Allies liberated the German concentration camps. Sixty-one years is a long time -- so long that few European leaders have personal experience of the war. Why, then, are the German government and the International Red Cross still conspiring to prevent historians from gaining access to the world's largest Holocaust survivors' archive?

There is no easy answer to this question, particularly since both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Germany flatly deny they are doing so. Officially known as the International Tracing Service, the archive contains comprehensive documentation from Dachau and Buchenwald, as well as prisoner lists and records from other concentration camps, slave labor camps, displaced-person camps and ghettos. These records, thought to contain more than 17 million names, were deposited in Bad Arolsen, Germany, by the Allied powers after the war and have been managed since 1955 by an international treaty with 11 signatories. The treaty gave the ICRC management of the archive on behalf of survivors and required the German government to fund its operations.

But in recent years it has become clear that this system no longer works. The backlog of victims waiting for information about their lives is now in the hundreds of thousands; evidence that archivists hold back documents is overwhelming; survivors' groups in Germany and elsewhere are protesting; and historians are demanding better access.

In theory, the 11 countries have now agreed to open the archives to historians. But in practice, the longtime director of the archive, Charles Biedermann -- a Swiss employee of the ICRC -- together with the German government has thwarted efforts by the United States, the Netherlands, France and others to make the documents more accessible. Mr. Biedermann, while claiming neutrality, has written letters to German officials in an effort to influence committee deliberations and has recently issued a statement calling wider distribution of the documents "neither morally nor legally justifiable." In conversation, he lists conditions -- his conditions -- that researchers would have to meet before the International Tracing Service could "agree" to open itself up to historians.

The German interior ministry, meanwhile, joins him in pointing out multiple legal issues that prevent them from making the archives more accessible, ranging from the privacy of relatives of camp collaborators to questions about archivists' liability -- despite the fact that similar archives in Belgium and Israel have posed no special problems. Germany, along with Italy, also opposed the creation of a scholarly group to assist the 11-nation commission, which meets once a year and is mostly composed of diplomats without special knowledge of the Holocaust or of archives in general. Perhaps, some suspect, the Germans and the Italians fear a flood of new compensation claims. Or perhaps archive employees simply fear for their jobs.

Both the Germans and the ICRC also claim that any change in the archives' regime requires unanimous approval of all the treaty signatories -- which is not clearly the case and is, of course, impossible, because the Germans object. Yet these are not, and were never intended to be, Germany's archives to control. Clearly it is time to raise this issue's significance, to involve diplomats at a higher level, and to reach a compromise. If possible, the archives should be made completely accessible, with no unusual restrictions, in Bad Arolsen. If legal issues make it impossible to open the archive in Germany, then yes, the documents should be copied and placed in appropriate archives abroad, where they could be managed under the rules of other countries. Sixty-one years later, survivors, historians and the rest of the world have a right to know what happened.




http://www.gnosticliberationfront.com/a ... _cross.htm
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Jerzy Ulicki-Rek
 
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