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The Dangers of ‘Going Native’: George Montandon in Siberia and the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1919–1922

  • FRANCESCA PIANA (a1)

Abstract

This article focuses on humanitarians by studying the interactions between the International Committee of the Red Cross and one of his delegates, George Montandon, between 1919 and 1922. Montandon was charged with a fact-finding mission in Siberia that set the basis for larger repatriation plans on behalf of prisoners of war from the Central Powers. This article explores the nature and circulation of expertise – formal and informal – in connection with Montandon's private and professional life before the mission, during the mission itself and once the mission was over. Being a delegate for the ICRC was not a profession but rather a break from established professions as doctors, military officers and scholars in Switzerland. However, experts associated with the work of the Geneva organisation at the headquarters and at the ground level brought a vast set of skills to international humanitarianism. Through a spectrum of transnational connections and networks, at the end of the First World War the ICRC experienced processes of specialisation and standardisation of tasks which had already started in wartime. This article argues that the impulse towards an increasing professionalisation of humanitarianism ‘clashed’ with the ambiguities of the ICRC's mandate, on the one hand, and the tensions between the agency of individual relief workers and the institutions they represented, on the other.

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References

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1 Montandon, George, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques pour la Croix-Rouge de Genève (1919–1921) (Paris: F. Alcan, 1923), 281–92.

2 Letter by Montandon to Paul de Gouttes, Lausanne, Oct. 1921 (I cannot read the exact date on the document), Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (AICRC), B MSB/OM.4.

3 ‘Famille Montandon’, http://www.genealogiesuisse.com/montandon (last visited 24 Jan. 2016).

4 Reubi, Serge, Gentlemen, Prolétaires et Primitifs: Institutionnalisation, Pratiques de Collection et Choix Muséographiques dans l'Ethnographie Suisse, 1880–1950 (Berne: Peter Lang, 2011), 254–5.

5 Montandon to Pittard, 8 Mar. 1919, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 8232/48.

6 Montandon, George, ‘La Généalogie des Instruments de Musique et les Cycles de Civilisation’, Archives Suisses d'Anthropologie Générale Publiées par l'Institut Suisse d'Anthropologie Générale, Tome III (Geneva: Albert Kuding Editeur, 1919), 1120.

7 Letter to Montandon, Geneva, 3 Mar. 1919, AICRC, B MSB/OM4.

8 For a complete list of the tasks of the ICRC mission to Siberia see Mission en Sibérie, Feb.–Mar. 1919, projet définitif, AICRC, B MSB/OM.1.

9 While they were technically former prisoners of war, as by the beginning of the ICRC mission to Siberia the First World War was over, ICRC documents refer to them as prisoners of war. Thus, for the sake of consistency this article will also refer to them as such.

10 Rapport du Dr. Montandon sur la marche intérieure de la mission, AICRC, B MSB/OM.6.

11 Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 150. Letter by de Watteville to Chenevière, Geneva, 11 Nov. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM4.

12 Saunier, Pierre-Yves, ‘Circulations, Connexions et Espaces Transnationaux,’ Genèses57, no. 4 (December 1, 2004): 110–26. Saunier, Pierre-Yves, ‘Les Régimes Circulatoires du Domaine Social 1800-1940: Projets et Ingénierie de la Convergence et de la Différence,’ Genèses71, no. 2 (2008): 425. Kott, Sandrine, ‘Une «communauté épistémique» du social?’, Genèses71, no. 2 (2008): 2646.

13 I read Liisa Malkki's latest book after writing this article. It was interesting to realise how chapter one of Malkki's book – ‘Professionals Abroad’, reflects some of the professional and personal experiences of Montandon. In the first part of the book, Malkki conducts ethnography of Finnish aid workers who went abroad on a mission organised mainly by the ICRC. The book is a compelling read for anybody interested in humanitarianism. Malkki, Liisa H., The Need to Help: The Domestic Arts of International Humanitarianism (Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2015).

14 ‘The Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’, https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/publication/p4046.htm (last visited 24 Jan. 2016).

15 This article complicates Watenpaugh's argument about the professionalisation of humanitarian aid after the end of the First World War. Watenpaugh, Keith David, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2015). I have tackled the role of the ICRC delegates and their professional skills in one of my previous publications: Francesca Piana, ‘Photography, Cinema, and the Quest for Influence: the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Wake of the First World War’, Fehrenbach, Heide and Rodogno, Davide, eds., Humanitarian Photography: A History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 140–64.

16 By way of comparison with the professionalism of social work, see Lubove, Roy, The Professional Altruist: The Emergence of Social Work as a Career, 1880–1930 (New York: Atheneum, 1969). Disaster relief contributed to transforming social work into a profession. See Agnew, Elizabeth, From Charity to Social Work: Mary E. Richmond and the Creation of an American Profession (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2003). More generally, I also found it useful to read literature on the professionalisation of social movements: McCarthy, John D. and Zald, Mayer N., ‘Resource Mobilization and Social Movements: A Partial Theory’, American Journal of Sociology, 82, 6 (1977), 1212–41; Staggenborg, Suzanne, ‘The Consequences of Professionalization and Formalization in the Pro-Choice Movement’, American Sociological Review, 53, 4 (1988), 585605.

17 Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 58.

18 Ibid. 299–301.

19 Centlivres, Pierre and Girod, Isabelle, ‘Montandon et le Grand Singe Americain. L'Invention de l'Ameranthropoides Loysi’, Gradhiva, 24 (1998), 3343.

20 Carole Raynod-Paligot, ‘Eugène Pittard et l'Anthropologie. De la Préhistoire a l'Eugénisme’, MEG Totem, Journal du Musée d'Ethnographie de Genève, Oct. 2013, 4.

21 This is something that Serge Reubi develops in his research. He also points out the differences in terms of ethnographic research and their financial background within Switzerland itself. Reubi, Gentlemen, Prolétaires et Primitifs, 381–92. On the institutionalisation of anthropology in Geneva, see Garibian, Taline, Théories, Terrains et Institutionnalisation de l'Anthropologie Genevoise (1863-1917) (Genève: Université de Geneve, 2011).

22 The study ‘L'Ologenèse Humaine’ was dedicated to the memory of Du Bois de Montpéreux. Montandon, George, L'Ologenèse Humaine (ologénisme) (Paris: F. Alcan, 1928), 1.

23 http://www.genealogiesuisse.com/montandon (last visited 24 Jan. 2016); Montandon, George, Au Pays Ghimirra; Récit de Mon Voyage a Travers le Massif Ethiopien (1909-1911) . . . (Paris, A. Challamel; [etc.], [1913]); Conklin, Alice L., In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2013), 92. Later on, Montandon would also engage in anti-slavery writing based on his experiences in Ethiopia: George Montandon and Ligue Suisse pour la Défense des Indigènes, L'Esclavage en Abyssinie: Rapport Rédigé a la Demande de la Ligue Suisse pour la Défense des Indigènes (Genève: Georg, 1923).

24 An exception is Hofmann, who provides a multifaceted yet slightly fragmented history of the work of the ICRC delegate and of the organisation in Siberia: Blaise Hofmann, Bolchévisme, Droit Humanitaire, Dollar et Paix des Vainqueurs: l'Organisation du Rapatriement des Prisonniers de Guerre Centraux Détenus en Sibérie après la Première Guerre Mondiale, par la Mission Montandon du CICR (1919-1921), les Croix-Rouges Nationales et la Sociéte des Nations (Lausanne, Université de Lausanne: 2001). Some other references to Montandon have to be found in the following studies: Durand, André, From Sarajevo to Hiroshima: History of the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva: Henry Dunant Institute, 1978), 108–23. Moorehead, Caroline, Dunant's Dream: War, Switzerland and the History of the Red Cross (London: HarperCollins, 1998), 283. Piana, Francesca, Towards the International Refugee Regime. Humanitarianism in the Wake of the First World War (Geneva: Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, 2013), 86–9. For a general study on the ICRC, see François Bugnion, The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Protection of War Victims (Geneva, International Committee of the Red Cross: Macmillan Education, 2003).

25 The literature on humanitarianism is large and growing. For a review article on the history of international humanitarian aid, see Paulmann, Johannes, ‘Conjunctures in the History of International Humanitarian Aid during the Twentieth Century’, Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, 4, 2 (2013), 215–38. For a review article on the anthropology of humanitarianism, see Ticktin, Miriam, ‘Transnational Humanitarianism’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 43, 1 (21 Oct. 2014), 273–89. This article is particularly pertinent as it provides a survey of the anthropology of humanitarianism since the 1980s. For a broad study on the history of humanitarianism in the nineteenth and twentieth century, written by a political scientist, see Barnett, Michael N., Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011). Barnett sees the professionalisation of humanitarianism as a phenomenon that developed in the two last decades. Barnett, Empire of Humanity, 217–8.

26 Serge Reubi, Gentlemen, Prolétaires et Primitifs, 393, quoting Hofmann, Bolchévisme, Droit Humanitaire, Dollar et Paix des Vainqueurs, 31.

27 Knobel, Marc, ‘L'Ethnologue à la Dérive: George Montandon et l'Ethnoracisme’, Ethnologie Française, nouvelle serie, 18, 2 (1988), 107–13. My own translation from the French.

28 Conklin, In the Museum of Man, 92–94.

29 More work has been written on Montandon. See Knobel, Marc, ‘George Montandon et l'Ethnoracisme’, in Taguieff, Pierre-André, Kauffmann, Grégoire and Lenoire, Michaël, L'Antisémitisme de Plume: 1940-1944: Études et Documents (Paris: Berg, 1999), 277–93; Paligot, Carole Reynaud, La République Raciale: Paradigme Racial et Idéologie Républicaine (1860–1930) (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2006), 313. Reynaud Paligot, Carole, Races, Racisme et Antiracisme dans les Années 1930 (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2007), 51–9; Paligot, Carole Reynaud, “L'Emergence de l'Antisémitisme Scientifique chez les Anthropologues Français,” Archives Juives Vol. 43, no. 1 (June 28, 2010): 6676. See in particular the fine study by Conklin, In the Museum of Man, 91–9, 308–26.

30 Montandon is not unknown to the Swiss ‘grand public’: on the career and life of Montandon, see Valérie de Graffenried, ‘L'Ethnologue Devenu Antisémite’, Le Temps, http://www.letemps.ch/Page/Uuid/477d6fa4-8f7a-11e4-9ac8-723e124a5af7/Lethnologue_devenu_antis%C3%A9mite (last visited 29 Apr. 2015); on the relationship between Montandon and the French writer Céline, see Alain Campiotti, ‘George et Louis-Ferdinand’, Le Temps, http://www.letemps.ch/Page/Uuid/ecd72b78-190b-11e0-9375-71d46e7e7adc/George_et_Louis-Ferdinand (last visited 29 Apr. 2015); Eric Mazet, ‘Céline et Montandon’, http://louisferdinandceline.free.fr/indexthe/antisem/montandon.htm (last visited 29 Apr. 2015).

31 Review of the ICRC, files of the Mission to Siberia, files of the Commission of Missions and of the Committee. The correspondence between Montandon and Pittard is not to be found in the private papers of Pittard, but in the private papers of his son, Jean-Jacques Pittard, who most likely kept some of the letters addressed to his parents, Eugène Pittard (1867–1962) and Noëlle Roger (1874–1953), both of them important personalities in Geneva at the end of the nineteenth century and during the first half of the twentieth century.

32 This is something Hofmann also highlights: Hofmann, Bolchévisme, Droit Humanitaire, Dollar et Paix des Vainqueurs, 6–7

33 Federal Archives in Bern contain documents on the Red Cross mission in Siberia that are also available at the ICRC archives in Geneva. The Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris has seven boxes containing documents written or held by Montandon. These documents are the closest we can find to private papers, although the bulk of the material dates back to the late 1930s and up to 1944. It seems that this collection preserves just a minor part of Montandon's archives, which might have been lost after the end of the Second World War. Billig, Joseph, ‘George Montandon et Ses Archives’, in L'Institut d'Etude des Questions Juives, Officine Française des Autorités Nazies en France: Inventaire Commenté de la Collection de Documents Provenant des Archives de l'Institut Conservés Au C.D.J.C., Inventaires Des Archives Du Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (Paris: C.D.J.C., 1974), 186205.

34 For an example of individual transnational trajectories, see Herren-Oesch, Madeleine and Löhr, Isabella, Lives Beyond Borders: a Social History, 1880 - 1950 (Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2014).

35 For studies that connect the complex relationship between social sciences and colonialism, see Sibeud, Emmanuelle, ‘Les Sciences Sociales à l'Epreuve de la Situation Coloniale’, Revue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 10, 1 (2004), 37; Sibeud, Emmanuelle, ‘Un Ethnographe Face à la Colonisation: Arnold Van Gennep en Algérie (1911–1912)’, Revue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 10, 1 (2004), 79103. Regarding a later period, which saw social scientists (re)thinking their role and the impact of their knowledge on the decolonising process in Africa, see the work of Cooper, Frederick, ‘Development, Modernization, and the Social Sciences in the Era of Decolonization: the Examples of British and French Africa’, Revue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines, 10, 1 (2004), 938. Interestingly, Cooper also looks backward to the role of anthropologists in French and British Africa in the 1920s and 1930s, pointing out the ambivalence of anthropology towards colonialism.

36 George Montandon, ‘Mission en Sibérie: 22 mars 1919 – 17 juin 1921’ RICRC, no. 36, Dec. 1921, 1197.

37 Hutchinson, John F., Champions of Charity: War and the Rise of the Red Cross (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996). Herrmann, Irène, ‘Décrypter la Concurrence Humanitaire: le Conflit entre Croix-Rouge(s) après 1918’, Relations Internationales, 151, 3 (2012), 91102.

38 During WWI, the ICRC mainly was involved in missions to inspect the camps housing prisoners of war and interned civilians. After the end of the conflict, because of the extension of the ICRC's mandate to other categories of war victims, the missions that the organisation carried out changed in their nature and scope. Fact-finding became central to the work of the ICRC. Here is the list of missions undertaken by the ICRC in peacetime, as in the unpublished dissertation by Hazuki Tate: ‘étude du rapatriement, mission permanente installée, inspection des camps des prisonniers en Allemagne et surveillance des camps de passage, chargé de la surveillance pour le transport, mission de Sibérie, mission diplomatique, inspection des missions, liquidation du rapatriement’. See Tate, Hazuki, Rapatrier Les Prisonniers de Guerre: La Politique des Alliés et l'Action Humanitaire du Comité International de la Croix Rouge (1918-1929) (Paris: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2015), 326, 327–46.

39 Marguerite Cramer-Frick, ‘Le Rapatriement des Prisonniers du Front Oriental après la Guerre de 1914-1918 (1919-1922)’, RICRC, 504, Aug. 1944, 706. More generally, for some references to studies on prisoners of war during and in the aftermath of WWI, see Gatrell, Peter, ‘Prisoners of War on the Eastern Front during World War I’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 6, 3 (2005), 557–66. See also Pastor, Peter and Tunstall, Graydon A., Essays on World War I (Wayne, NJ: Center for Hungarian Studies and Publications, Inc., 2012); Rachamimov, Alon, POWs and the Great War: Captivity on the Eastern Front (Oxford: Berg, 2002). Stibbe, Matthew, Captivity, Forced Labour and Forced Migration in Europe during the First World War (London; New York: Routledge, 2009). On the Western Front, see Jones, Heather, Violence against Prisoners of War in the First World War: Britain, France and Germany, 1914–1920 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

40 A full list of the members of the ICRC Committee is to be found at the beginning of each issue of the Review of the ICRC.

41 Edouard Naville, Adolphe d'Espine, Frédéric Ferrière, Alfred Gautier, Adolphe Moynier, Paul des Gouttes, Edouard Odier, Edmond Boissier, Horace Micheli, Frédéric Barbey-Ador, William Rappard, and Marguerite Cramer.

42 Herrmann, ‘Décrypter la Concurrence Humanitaire’, 99-100.

43 ‘Résumé de la vie du Docteur Jules Jacot-Guillarmod, médecin a Lignières, alpiniste, et grand voyageur’, Par le Docteur ORL Georges Terrier, professeur honoraire de l'Université de Lausanne, au Crêt-du-Locle. Fondation de l'Hôtel du Commune de Lignières. Available at http://fondation.lignieres.org/page/archives.htm (last visited 27 Mar. 2015).

44 Rapport de George Montandon sur sa mission en Sibérie -1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

45 Montandon, ‘Mission en Sibérie’: 1198.

46 For a review of the ICRC delegates in history, see Troyon, Brigitte and Palmieri, Daniel, ‘The ICRC Delegate: an Exceptional Humanitarian Player?’, The International Review of the Red Cross, 89, 865 (2007), 97111, in particular 98.

47 Conditions d'engagement des délégués du Comité International de la Croix Rouge envoyés en Sibérie, Geneva, 20 Mar. 1919, AICRC, B MSB/OM. In the case of the mission of the ICRC in Siberia, Montandon received 2,500 CHF, whereas the other delegates received 1,000 CHF monthly. I summarise here the main points of the contract: travel, accommodation and personal expenses were covered by the ICRC; on top of this delegates received a complementary monthly indemnity; contracts were to last at least six months and could be terminated by either party at any time after this period with a one month notice; general health, accident and death insurance were paid for by the ICRC, which would not cover any other expenses; delegates would have to respect neutrality in their declarations and actions and no political activity was to be excluded; delegates were forbidden from engaging in any press or public communication during and after the mission; even in private communications delegates should not disclose any information that could damage the future actions of the ICRC; and the chief of the mission was the only one who was responsible to the ICRC and was encouraged to solve any disputes in the most peaceful terms.

48 Hofmann, Bolchevisme, droit humanitaire, dollar et paix des vainqueurs, 8–9. For general references on the Russian Civil War, see Mawdsley, Evan, The Russian Civil War (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1987), esp. ch. 4, 8, 10, 11, 16; Acton, Edward, IU Cherniaev, V. and Rosenberg, William G., Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914–1921 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997).

49 Fayet, Jean-François, ‘En l'Absence de Relations Diplomatiques et de Puissance Protectrice: la Protection des Intérêts Soviétiques durant la Période Dite de Transition’, Relations internationales, 143, 3 (2011), 7588. Lowe, Kimberly A., ‘Humanitarianism and National Sovereignty: Red Cross Intervention on Behalf of Political Prisoners in Soviet Russia, 1921–3’, Journal of Contemporary History, 49, 4 (2014), 652–74. The role of the ICRC and other European relief organisations fighting famine was minor in comparison to the massive operations conducted by the American ones. Patenaude, Bertrand M., The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2002).

50 Jean-François Fayet et Peter Huber, ‘Mission Wehrlin du CICR en Union Soviétique (1920–1938)’, 89(849), Mar. 2003, RICRC, 98, 101–2.

51 Procès-verbal de la Commission des Missions, 3 May 1920, AICRC.

52 Troyon, Palmieri, ‘The ICRC Delegate’: 101.

53 ‘La situation des prisonniers de guerre en Siberie’ rapport de M.A. Eigenmann, secretaire de la mission du CICR, June–Sept. 1919, AICRC, B MSB/OM.1; Rapport sur les prisonniers de guerre austro-hongrois & turcs en Sibérie, pendant l’été 1919, AICRC, B MSB/OM.1.

54 This information is contained in a later letter that summarises the working relationship between the ICRC and Montandon: Letter from de Watteville to Chenevière, Geneva, 11 Nov. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

55 Rapport de George Montandon sur sa mission en Sibérie -1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

57 Letter from de Watteville to Chenevière, Geneva, 11 Nov. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

58 Hofmann, Bolchévisme, Droit Humanitaire, Dollar et Paix des Vainqueurs, 141.

59 Rapport de George Montandon sur sa mission en Sibérie -1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

60 Garantie du Dr. Montandon donnée aux prisonniers contre le prêt de leur argent personnel pour leur transport à bord du ‘Shunko-Maru’, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

61 Hofmann, Bolchévisme, Droit Humanitaire, Dollar et Paix des Vainqueurs, 95.

62 Ibid. 95–8.

63 Ibid. 95–8.

64 ‘Nous n'avions pas a nous préoccuper des sentiments pro- ou antibolcheviques que pouvaient avoir les uns ou les autres des prisonniers. Nous avions à nous demander, d'un point de vue ‘croixrougien’, quelle était la solutions préférable dans l'intérêt matériel des prisonniers et dans celui de leur futur rapatriement’. Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 32.

65 Procès-verbal de la Commission des Missions, 22 Oct. 1920, présents: Frick-Cramer, Ador, Boissier, Chenevière, Frick, Colonel Stoll, AICRC.

66 Procès-verbal de la Commission des Missions, 20 Oct. 1920, présents: Ador, Ferrière, Boissier, Chenevière, Ehrenhold, AICRC.

67 Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 9.

68 ‘On ne peut cependant partir, la serviette sous le bras, pour organiser une évacuation de plusieurs mille hommes, dans un pays où les moyens techniques et les approvisionnements sont à peine suffisants! Il nous fallait un train complet, muni de vivres pour quelques dizaines de mille hommes, de médicaments, et de tout ce que nécessitait l'entretien d'un personnel de près de cinquante personnes pendant plusieurs mois’. Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 89–90.

69 Blaise Hofmann calls for caution in estimating the total number of prisoners of war repatriated eastwards. His total estimate counts that nearly 18,000–20,000 of them were repatriated through Vladivostock. See Hofmann, Bolchévisme, droit humanitaire, dollar et paix des vainqueurs, 105.

70 Procès-verbal de la séance de la Commission des Missions, Mon. 29 Aug. 1921, présent: Sautter, Chenevière, Boissier, Reverdin, Frick-Cramer, Brunel, Moroy, AICRC.

71 Procès-verbal de la Commission des Missions, Fri. 7 Oct. 1921, présent: Sautter, Chenevière, Boissier, Cramer, Brunel, Schlemmer, Sutter, et Moroy, AICRC.

72 For the budget of the mission see Rapport de la Trésorerie sur les comptes de la mission du CICR en Sibérie, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

73 From Geneva, the ICRC mobilised formal and informal networks and connections to collect information on Montandon's mission in Siberia. De Reding-Biberegg, ICRC's delegate in Budapest, reported what was written in the Hungarian press about the mission and stated that the allegations against Montandon did not seem to be justified. Letter by de Reding-Biberegg to the ICRC, Budapest, 29 Sept. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4. Charles L.E. Lardy, Swiss consul in Tokyo, met with M. Fischer, charged with the transportation of Montandon's mission, who confirmed that without the mediation of Montandon, especially with the Soviet authorities, ‘nothing would have been done’. Letter by Charles L.E. Lardy to Ador, Tokyo, 9 Feb. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4. My translation from French. M. Pribil, Austrian, and second secretary of Montandon, defended the head of the mission and explained the circumstances against which money sent by the families did not reach prisoners of war. Note concernant la mission de Sibérie, lettre addressée au Dr. Ferrière, unsigned and undated, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

74 Letter from a member of the Committee to Montandon, 28 Jan. 1922, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

75 Montandon to Pittard, 8 Mar. 1919, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 8232/48.

76 Untitled document, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

77 ‘Une visite aux Aïnou, c'est pour un ethnologue, un morceau de choix.’ Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 58 and footnote 1.

78 Untitled document, presumably sent from Montandon to the ICRC for information on the content of one of his public lectures, Nov. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

79 ‘Famille Montandon’, http://www.genealogiesuisse.com/montandon (last visited 24 Jan. 2016).

80 In December 1922, a Swiss business based in Japan also wrote a letter to the Swiss Red Cross asking where to send the objects that Montandon had provisionally left behind. Letter by Siber Hegner & Co. to the direction of the Swiss Red Cross, Zurich, 11 Dec. 1922, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

81 Letter by Montandon to Paul de Gouttes, Lausanne, Oct. 1921 (I cannot read the exact date of the document), AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

82 Procès-verbal de la séance de la Commission des Missions, 15 Mar. 1920, présents Mlle Cramer, Sautter, Boissier, Chenèviere, AICRC. See also Note de la Trésorerie au Comité concernant le déficit de la mission du Dr. Montandon, fiche, 27 Oct. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

83 Montandon au président du CICR, Lausanne, 29 Sept. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

85 Untitled document, list of medicaments brought to Siberia by Montandon, as well as his personal clothing, the camp equipment, dated Mar. 1919, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

86 During the mission, Montandon published two other articles under his name in the Review of the ICRC: George Montandon, Memorandum du 15 Novembre 1919 pour la Non-Evacuation des PG devant les Rouges, 14, Feb. 1920, RICRC, 198–205; George Montandon, Le Typhus Exanthématique en Sibérie de 1919 a 1921, 33, Sept. 1921, RICRC, 919–21.

87 Forsythe, David P., The Humanitarians: The International Committee of the Red Cross (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 31.

88 Discussions took place at the Commission of Missions. Procès-verbal de la Commission des Missions, Wed. 21 Dec. 1921, présent: Ador, Boissier, Frick-Cramer, Cramer, Brunel, Schlemmer, Sutter, AICRC. Letter by a member of the Committee to Montandon, Lausanne, 28 Jan. 1922, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

89 Montandon, ‘Mission en Sibérie’, RICRC, 1197–232.

90 Montandon, George, ‘Craniologie Paléosibérienne: Néolithique, Mongoloïdes, Tchouktchi, Eskimo, Aléoutes, Kamtchadales, Aïnou, Ghiliak, Négroïdes du Nord’, L'anthropologie (1926), 209.

91 ‘Si, à l’âge de quarante ans, nous avons voyagé dans le cinq continents, si nous avons vu les plus grands spectacles de la nature, si nous avons assisté aux contrastes sociaux les plus divers, témoin, dans les nuits d'Abyssinie, du défilé des caravanes d'esclaves enchaînés, tandis qu’à l'autre bout du monde, frôlant la féodalité japonaise, nous avons bu du thé vert dans les jardins du Mikado, nous disons que nous n'avons rien vu moralement de plus impressionnant que cet écrasement de l'orgueil de la classe dans la Russie Sovyetique.’ Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 300–1.

92 ‘. . .L’état d'esprit, le sens moral qui ont présidé à la révolution et qui, à notre point de vue, sont les plus puissants des facteurs qui maintiennent au pouvoir le Gouvernement bolchevique.’ Montandon, Deux Ans chez Koltchak et chez les Bolchéviques, 9-10.

93 Letter by Chenevière to Montandon, Geneva, 1 Mar. 1923, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

94 Conditions d'engagement des délégués du Comite International de la Croix Rouge envoyés en Siberie, Geneva, 20 Mar. 1919, AICRC, B MSB/OM. Translated from French by the author. The choice of ‘his’ is deliberate: there were no female delegates at the end of the First World War.

95 Letter by W. H. Silling to Ador, Lausanne, 1 Oct. 1921, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

96 Letter by Chenevière to Montandon, Geneva, 1 Mar. 1923, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4. My translation from French.

97 L'illustré, 30 Dec. 1922, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

98 L. H. Grondijs, ‘Bolchévisme et Croix Rouge en Sibérie’, Extrait du Mercure de France, 15-VII-MCMXXII, 1–21, AICRC, B MSB/OM.4.

99 Jansen, Marc, ‘L. H. Grondijs and Russia: The Acts and Opinions of a Dutch White Guard’, Revolutionary Russia, 7, 1 (1994), 2033. Jansen writes that Grondijs was a supporter of the White armies and even joined them.

100 Conklin, In the Museum of Man, 94; ‘Interview de Henri Victor Vallois (le 15 février 1981)’, Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d'Anthropologie de Paris, 8, 1 (1996), 99.

101 Conklin, In the Museum of Man, 94–5.

102 Pierre Centlivres, ‘L'Ethnologie à l'Université de Neuchâtel: 1912–1964’, 4.

103 Knobel, ‘L'Ethnologue a la Dérive’, 107; Knobel, ‘George Montandon et l'Ethnoracisme’.

104 Malkki, The Need to Help, 23–52.

Thanks to Jérôme Napoléon (Bibliothèque d'anthropologie, Université de Genève) and Martine Basset (Bibliothèque de l'IHEID) for their assistance on this research. My gratitude also goes to Fabrizio Bensi, Alice Conklin, Lisa Komar, Daniel Palmieri, Amalia Ribi Forclaz, Hazuki Tate, Jessica Reinisch and the fellows of ‘The Reluctant Internationalists’, as well as the two anonymous reviewers. I started reflecting on the professionalisation of humanitarian aid for a paper that I presented at the workshop ‘Dealing with Disasters: An International Perspective, 1870–2000’, History Faculty and Jesus College, Oxford in September 2013. My thanks go to the participants of the workshop and the conveners – Patricia Clavin, Corinna Unger and Gareth Davies. I am also grateful to Keith David Watenpaugh for letting me read parts of his latest book before its release. My research benefits from the generous financial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (P2GEP1_148355, Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship).

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Contemporary European History
  • ISSN: 0960-7773
  • EISSN: 1469-2171
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