Red Cross, KLIM and Waiting To Go Home

Posted by on February 28, 2010

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War is never easy, especially for those living and dying on the edge of action.  Not knowing whether today will be your last day or not changes how you feel about things.  Even if you don’t die, there’s always the risk of being captured by your enemy whoever that may be and whichever side you may be on.

For those servicemen captured both in World War I and World War II, living in prison camps was definitely not easy nor in any method resembling home.  Adjustments to living had to be made.  One of the methods that helped was the actions of the Red Cross, either from parcels or visits.  While it wasn’t a complete cure, these things helped sometimes to make the unbearable perhaps a bit more bearable.

In the image below, we see the typical contents of the Christmas package to prisoners of war held in German prison camps:

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Very often, these parcels of food and other items were intercepted by their captors, but sometimes, they allowed them to go through, making for a very happy day for the men held captive.  Here’s another picture (sorry for the small size) of the typical contents of a package:

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Yet, the Red Cross helped in other ways as well.  From World War I to World War II and even today, this organization has made positive changes to both civilian and military alike.  Do you remember or have you ever heard of these:

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That’s right, the Red Cross Ambulance Service from World War I!  If you want to learn more about this topic, check out my previous blog post on that topic here:  Mud, Blood and Ambulances!

Below you will find links and lots more information to this organization and in particular the contributions they made during both World War I and World War II.  Take a few minutes and examine—think about if you were in those prisoner’s shoes.

Kinda helps put things in perspective, huh?

Have a great weekend!

Links:

106th Division—Red Cross Parcel

Memories Gallery: Stalag Luft III

Traces: German POW’s in America

Camp Cookers: Prisoner of War

Wikipedia: Stalag Luft III

Red Cross Parcels: KLIM pies (PDF format)

Journal of a Canteen Worker (Red Cross in the Great War)

Red Cross Prisoner of War Bulletin, Nov. 1944 (Internet Archive)

American Ex-Prisoners of War

From POW To Blue Angel

More Typical Contents of a POW kit

American Red Cross Museum (good stuff here)

Sources:

(1) NARA (keyword search: POW)

(2-3) Various Red Cross Bulletins, Internet Archive

(4) LOC, Prints & Photographs Division

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