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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/international/red-cross/detained-civilians.1943

Comite International                International Red Cross Committee
de la Croix Rouge a Geneve, Suisse  in Geneva, Switzerland
Delegation aux Etats-Unis           The Delegation to the United States
d'Amerique                          of America

2500 Que Street, N. W.
Washington, D. C.
Ref: S/4                      July 21, 1943

American Jewish Congress
330 West 42nd Street
New York, New York

ATTENTION: Emergency Committee for European Jewish Affairs


Referring to your letter of Jane 16 (and our letter of  June
30),  a Copy of which we sent to our headquarters in Geneva,
I  am  herewith enclosing an excerpt of a copy of the  reply
which  we received from our headquarters in Geneva  on  this

You  will  see  from the enclose that it is,  unfortunately,
extremely   difficult  for  the  International   Red   Cross
Committee to help the Jewish population in Germany  and  the
occupied  countries. As we have written to you before,   the
German  authorities  do not consider the  civilians  no  are
arrested   in  occupied  countries,  including  France,   as
civilian   internees,  thereby  excluding  them.  from   the
application (by analogy) of The Geneva Convention  regarding
Prisoners  of  War. The International Red Cross  Committee's
field  of action, unfortunately, does not include this large
category, known as "detained civilians".

Inasmuch as it is impossible for the International Committee
to  visit  the  camps where these people are  interned,  the
Committee  is not in a position to check on the distribution
of  relief  supplies.  For this reason  these  concentration
camps  are not included in the category of internment  camps
to which the Blockade authorities allow relief supplies from
overseas  to  be  sent,  Furthermore, the International  Red
Cross  Committee does not receive any lists of the names  of
the Detained Civilians.

Our   headquarters   in  Geneva  profoundly   regrets   this
situation,  even  more  so because they  realize  that  this
category  of  internees is in especial need of  relief.  Our
headquarters  is doing everything in its power  to  find  an
acceptable  solution, enabling relief to be  sent  to  these
people,  and they  are looking for means of checklng  relief
distribution  which would satisfy the Blockade  authorities.
It seems, however, that the facilities accorded to us by the
German   authorities in this field, still do not  correspond
to the guarantees which are required.

It  is  our opinion that this category of  internees  should
not be deprived of the privileges accorded to  Prisoners  of
War and Civilian Internees just because the distribution  of
relief  supplies  to this group could not  be  exercised  as
satisfactorily as in the regular in ternment camps.

Whenever we hear more from our headquarters on this subject,
we shall notify you immediately.

Sincerely yours,

Peter Wehrli
Assistant to the Delegate


Source:1993  Days  of Remembrance, United  States  Holocaust
Memorial Museum

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