FIRST, WHAT IS THE RED CROSS?
The Red Cross was founded in 1863 by Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman horrified by what he witnessed in the Italian battlefield during the Battle of Volturno. By 1933, the Red Cross was the central humanitarian player in drafting the modern laws of war. In fact, the Red Cross organized the conference that drafted the original Geneva Convention.
The Red Cross has a long history of antisemitic bias; most notably, it served as a propaganda mouthpiece for Nazi Germany and even helped top level Nazis escape prosecution.
After the Holocaust, Jewish survivors not only accused the Red Cross of doing little to help them find surviving family members, but also accused them of being apathetic and having “no feeling.”
But the bias didn’t end there. The Red Cross refused to recognize the Magen David Adom (Red Star of David) until 2006, even though it had long admitted the Muslim Red Crescent. This rejection was hardly just a symbolic issue, as it denied the Magen David Adom protection under international law.
Much like the Red Cross served as a Nazi propaganda mouthpiece during World War II, the Red Cross has periodically parroted Hamas propaganda over the years, only to later take back their claims, after the damage has already been done.
WHY ARE JEWS ANGRY WITH THE RED CROSS?
Since the October 7 massacre, Israel and Jews around the world have asked for the Red Cross to be permitted to visit the hostages held in Gaza, many of whom have chronic health conditions and/or disabilities and one of whom was around nine months pregnant. Unsurprisingly, Hamas has denied the Red Cross access, much like it has denied them access to other hostages and prisoners of war in the past, in complete violation of international law.
Though we hardly expect Hamas to act rationally, the Red Cross, which is in contact with Hamas, has made little tangible effort to access the hostages or information about their condition, or to even contact most of their families. Instead, it has dedicated most of its attention to condemning the Israeli bombings of the Gaza Strip. It has also chastised Israel about a new wartime law that passed in the Israeli Knesset regarding the conditions of security prisoners if a “prison emergency” is declared.
A LONG HISTORY OF ANTISEMITISM
By the start of World War II, the Red Cross, which was based in neutral Switzerland, had a policy of non-interference and “neutrality” regarding the Nazis’ racial policies.
The Red Cross chose only to concern itself with the treatment of prisoners of war from countries that had signed the 1929 Geneva Convention. However, they opted not to interfere regarding the treatment of civilians.
Following Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, the Red Cross chose to “conform” to the new regime, rather than oppose it. In fact, an SS general, Ernst-Robert Grawitz, became the head of the German Red Cross in 1933. Grawitz was closely involved in the plans to murder disabled people and in Nazi medical experimentation. The German Red Cross thus essentially became a Nazi medical unit, rather than a humanitarian organization. When pressed about it, the German Red Cross claimed that, by allying themselves with the Nazi regime, they’d have access to concentration camps, which would ensure that the inmates would be “treated better.”
THE RED CROSS KNEW ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AS THE HOLOCAUST WAS CARRIED OUT
In the 1990s, the Red Cross finally officially admitted that they’d long had previous knowledge of the Nazis’ plans for the total extermination of Jews and Roma.
As early as 1933, the Red Cross received desperate pleas from prisoners in Dachau concentration camp, begging for intervention. By 1942, the Red Cross had full knowledge of the Germans’ atrocities. In early 1945, the president of the Red Cross wrote, “Concerning the Jewish problem in Germany, we are in close and continual contact with the German authorities.” The use of the phrase “Jewish problem,” of course, is indicative of the attitude of the Red Cross, considering the very same phrase was used in the Nazis’ “final solution to the Jewish problem” (in other words, the Nazi plan for the total genocide of the Jewish People).
A representative of the Red Cross who’d visited several of the camps falsely claimed that other than segregation, “no other discrimination was made against [Jewish POWs].”
THE RED CROSS PEDDLED NAZI PROPAGANDA
By 1943, word of German atrocities toward the Jewish People had spread throughout the world. Following the deportation of ~500 Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Danish authorities pressured the International Red Cross to visit the camp/ghetto to check on its conditions.
The Nazis saw this visit as an opportunity to spread their propaganda. Nearly 8000 Jews were immediately sent to Auschwitz to counteract reports of overcrowding in Theresienstadt. In Auschwitz, these Jews were placed in a “special unit” in the event that the Red Cross chose to visit them.
The camp/ghetto was “cleaned up.” For example, buildings were painted and a football field was staged. “Cultural activities” were promoted to create the illusion that the Jewish prisoners were thriving. The Red Cross officials were taken on a tour of a pre-planned route and interviewed prisoners who’d been trained on what to say. Unsurprisingly, the Red Cross left Theresienstadt with a glowing report.
1944 letter from the Red Cross alleging they couldn't find any "extermination installations" at Auschwitz
THE RED CROSS HELPED NAZIS ESCAPE AFTER WORLD WAR II
Both the Red Cross and the Vatican were responsible for the escape of thousands of high-level Nazi officials after the end of the war. In fact, the two worked together to ensure their escape. The Red Cross alone was responsible for issuing around 120,000 travel documents, many to Nazis. They also issued 25,000 new identity documents. It was due to the actions of the Red Cross that high-level war criminals such as Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele were able to escape.
To this day, the Red Cross has refused to comment on these findings, claiming that the travel documents were “misused” by war criminals, rather than acknowledging that the organization took an active role in ensuring their escape. The Red Cross also claims that individual Nazi sympathizers within the organization were responsible for this; in other words, this was a problem of a few bad apples. In reality, recent findings show that this was a systemic problem and that high-level Red Cross officials were well-aware of the issue.
In the decades after the war, the Red Cross continually whitewashed its actions both during and after the Holocaust, only admitting to some wrongdoing in the 1990s.
OBFUSCATING MORAL CLARITY
There are few situations in life where the moral stance should be crystal clear. Opposition to Hamas — and to the Nazis — is one of these cases. Yet, much like the Hamas propaganda machine has worked overtime to obfuscate the moral clarity of 10/7, so did the Red Cross obfuscate the moral clarity of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice.
The second in command at the Red Cross, Carl Jacob Burckhardt, even decried the Nuremberg Trials, calling them “Jewish revenge.”
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