10 thoughts on “HUMANITARIANS AT WAR

  1. Steinacher, a historian and professor of Judaic studies, aims his book Humanitarians at War at the 1944-1950 challenges to the ICRC and its recovery, but it is very much about Jews. It indicts ICRC and Swiss conduct early in the war.–The American Jewish World

  2. [Humanitarians at War] “Gerald Steinacher’s book is a great read. It reminds historians of just how valuable an international comparative research without nationalist bias can be. And more importantly, how narrow-minded government officials and economists have been in pinching dimes when it comes to humanitarian aid and refugee reception. To me personally, humanistic values are a sufficient motivation to help people in need. But for export-dependent small countries, humanitarian policy also represents a real-world brand equity, which can be cynically valued at billions for the Swedish economy. All of this is well documented in Steinacher’s research.” Henrik Arnstad, Aftonbladet (Stockholm, Sweden)

  3. What began as an organization meant to curb the barbarity of warfare has found it difficult to live down its most grievous mistake: cozying up to the Third Reich, remaining silent about the Holocaust and later helping Nazis escape justice. In his last book, “Nazis on the Run: How Hitler’s Henchmen Fled Justice” (2011), historian Gerald Steinacher chronicled one aspect of this shameful era. His newest effort, “Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust,” synthesizes what he and other historians have learned about the ICRC’s conduct during this troublesome period before adding new material on what the organization did next. This more comprehensive account of the ICRC’s actions equips the reader to decide whether the organization truly recovered from its wartime and postwar errors. […] Mr. Steinacher, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an excellent historian with a good nose for archives.- Samuel Moyn, The Wall Street Journal

  4. The aid organisation, whose official name is the International Committee of the Red Cross, failed to speak out against the Holocaust or extend much assistance to Jews trapped in concentration camps across Europe. The Jewish Telegraph

  5. As Steinacher has documented, individual ICRC officials and local ICRC delegations in Europe knowingly held out a helping hand to Hitler’s former henchmen. Their motives varied: some were acting “out of sympathy for individuals”; others had sympathy for the Nazi cause. Whatever the case, the Nazi chapter of the ICRC’s history is a profoundly tainted one, serving as a salutary reminder that even the most pristine of images can be seriously deceptive. Useful Stooges Blog

  6. One of the sorry backstories of World War II is found in what the Red Cross did — or, more precisely, failed to do — during the Holocaust. The pointed question was asked aloud by one survivor in May 1945 — “Where, above all, was the International Red Cross Committee?” — and now it is answered with authority and in compelling detail in “Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Gerald Steinacher (Oxford University Press). Jonathan Kirsch, The Jewish Journal

  7. “In conclusion, Steinacher’s argument would benefit from a more accurate framing of the ICRC’s prewar history and status under international law, as well as a clear statement about the role of antisemitism in the ICRC’s postwar decisions. On the whole, however, Humanitarians at War presents a compelling picture of how the policy of sovereign states and those of a private organization exerted a reciprocal influence on life-and-death decisions about humanitarian aid provision and international law.” Kimberly A. Lowe. H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews. October, 2017

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