Final Assessments

  • Vasilis Vourkoutiotis


The reports of visits by delegates of the Protecting Power and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)1 together form the most impartial, contemporary, and comprehensive assessment of the general conditions experienced by the British Commonwealth and American prisoners of war during the Second World War.2 Inspectors generally tried to visit each camp every three or four months, they were generally given unfettered access in inspecting the camps,3 were allowed to conduct interviews with the leading prisoners of war of each camp in privacy, to guarantee that all grievances were in fact being aired without undue influence from Wehrmacht officials, and copies of their reports were sent to both the home governments of the prisoners of war as well as the Detaining Power.4


Material Condition Final Assessment Geneva Convention German Authority Nazi Party 
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  1. 1.
    André Durand’s From Sarajevo to Hiroshima: History of the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva: Henry Dunant Institute, 1984) provides a good overview of Red Cross activities, which are covered more extensively in the ICRC’s own Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its activities during the Second World War (September 1, 1939 — June 30, 1947). 3 vols.: vol. 1, “General Activities”; vol. 2, “The Central Agency for Prisoners of War”; vol. 3, “Relief Activities.” Geneva: ICRC, 1948.Google Scholar
  2. 67.
    Robert W. Kesting, “Forgotten Victims: Blacks in the Holocaust,” Journal of Negro History 77(1) 1992, p. 31. Kesting does not indicate if this order was made by the commander of this battalion alone or if it came down the SS chain of command.Google Scholar
  3. 113.
    J. Billig, “Le role des prisonnniers de guerre dans l’économie du Ille Reich,” Histoire de la deuxieme guerre mondiale 37 (1960), p. 63.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Vasilis Vourkoutiotis 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasilis Vourkoutiotis
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OttawaCanada

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