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The Red Cross and the Holocaust

The Red Cross and the Holocaust

$81.99 (C)

  • Date Published: November 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521415873

$ 81.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The Red Cross and the Holocaust presents a new assessment of the role of the world's most famous charity in World War II. Was the Red Cross aware of the appalling sufferings of the victims of the concentration camps? How much did its International Committee know about the deportation and extermination of the Jews in Europe? Did it try to protect the persecuted Jews? In what ways could it have helped them, given the neutrality that was the basis of its foundation? These questions have remained unanswered for more than fifty years and have sparked bitter debates. Jean-Claude Favez here presents a fundamental reappraisal, informed by unrivaled access to the archives of the Red Cross. This magisterial work includes a chronology, indices, biographical notes, and a statement by the charity's current leaders: anyone interested in the complexity and tragedy of the Holocaust will find this compelling reading.

    • Addresses the major question of how much the Red Cross knew about the Holocaust
    • Presents unrivalled archival research
    • Translated by the winners of the Scott-Moncrieff prize for translation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "...a work of important scholarship marred by leaden writing..." The Canadian Jewish News

    "...essential reading..." Nursing History Review

    "...Jean-Claude Favez's authoritative account demonstrates in heart-rending detail...the Germans accorded the ICRC a significant degree of access not just to British and American POWs but even to concentration camps where political internees were held." David Rieff, LA Times

    "....worthy addition to Holocaust literature by a French academic who had unrestricted access to the organizations archives is the author's nuanced argument about why that failure took place, along with his documentation...Favez, like his subject, is balanced: he dutifully lists the number of aid packages sent to concentration camp inmates and requests made to visit the camps." Publisher's Weekly

    "Favez' insightful work demonstrates the age-old maxim that there are always at least three sides to every story...The book describes one event after another of a parade of events wherein the ICRC was only successful in saving small remnants of Jews and other civilian internees of Nazi death camps, but the unspoken questin remains: did The ICRC do all they were able to do to save even more, or all of the victims? The picture that emerges is that they gave it an honest try and gave yeoman effort to save as many as they were able to." Aharon ben Anshel, The Jewish Press

    "A valuable and thorough documentation of how little the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) could and did do for the Holocaust's six million Jews. This pivotal study, while stating the ICRC's limitations may paint that cross red." Kirkus Reviews

    "...mind-boggling and an excellently researched academic treatise that sheds light on not only what actually happened to Jews at the camps but also the official correspondence behind what happened and why who did or did not do what to whom and why it all matters." Jewish Herald Voice

    "The translation and publication of this definitive account is of fundamental importance. It is excellent that Professor Favez's judicious assessment of a range of what were for many years inaccessible sources should be made available in English." Paul Wiendling, Oxford Brookes University

    "Jean-Claude Favez's reconstruction of the pre-war and war-time activities of the International Red Cross remains a unique contribution to present-day understanding of this humanitarian disaster. In addition to his masterly and objective reconstruction of Red Cross policy, Professor Favez brings to his task a unique insight into the thinking of the Swiss establishment and into the complex workings of the Swiss government. This English edition of Une Mission Impossible? is more than a superb translation of the original. In its re-worked form and with prefaces by both author and translators, it becomes a classic in the field." Zara Steiner, Cambridge University

    "The book opens with a detailed and balanced account of the ICRC's efforts to act in the face of the provocative and brutal behavior of the Nazi regime toward its internal opponents." Americans Jewish Congress Jan-Feb 2002

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1999
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521415873
    • length: 388 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 161 x 31 mm
    • weight: 0.77kg
    • contains: 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Background:
    1. The Red Cross, political prisoners and racial persecution before 1939
    2. Secrecy, rumour, information
    3. The door that stayed shut
    4. Ways and means
    Part II. The ICRC and Political and Racial Persecution in Hitler's Europe:
    5. The occupied countries
    6. The satellites
    7. The Axis allies
    Part III. Another Turn of the Screw:
    8. The drama of retreat, persecution and action played out in Hungary
    9. Aid and protection on the eve of liberation
    10. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Jean-Claude Favez, Université de Genève


    John Fletcher

    Beryl Fletcher

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