Organisation Information - German Red Cross [Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (DRK)]
In the early years of the 3rd Reich, the German Branch of the Red Cross, was the main social welfare organisation in times of hardship.
In December 1939, Hitler conferred a new legal status on the Red Cross by recognising it as a national organisation with some independence from Geneva. With this new status, the German Red Cross expanded its size and remit within Germany. It expanded its organisation into two distinct branches:
1) Active in medicine, nursing and first aid.
2) Charitable and social works caring for children, the old and the homeless.
During WW2, the Red Cross became involved in both the home front and the International scene, tracing and monitoring prisoners of war.
Although the members, both male and female, were on a non-salaried basis, a full-time cadre of uniformed salaried leaders supervised them. The DRK incorporated the omnipresent eagle and swastika with the International Red Cross symbol in the design of their own distinctive insignia.
The DRK Prasident was Dr Ernst Robert Grawitz who also held office in the SS as Obergruppenfuhrer. His duties also involved acting as Chief Police and SS medical officer.
Dagger Information Red Cross Hewer
The DRK Hewer was authorised for daily wear in February 1938.
It was 40 cm long and authorised for daily wear by Red Cross NCOs and subordinates ranking from Helfer to Haupthelfer. The Hewer was mainly manufactured by Robert Klaas and P D Luneschloss.
The Pommel had a flattened top and the cross guard had an oval space into which a Red Cross insignia was fixed. The insignia was an eagle with a swastika on its breast and spread wings. At the eagles feet was the International symbol of the Red Cross, a cross with equal extensions based upon points of the compass. The hilts are made of a cheep white metal base with a thin nickel plating of about 2 microns.
The grips were made from two pieces of black Bakelite secured with 2 screws.
The blade was wide with a saw tooth edge on one side that was used for removing plaster casts and preparing splints. The tip of the blade was squared off to conform to the Geneva Convention of medical staff not carrying offensive weapons.
The scabbard was black, enamelled and fitted with nickel platted chape and locket. The Hewer was carried in a leather frog and secured by a clip on the scabbard.
A silver coloured Portapee with blue threads on the crown, tied onto the black leather frog via the fabric strap, completed the accoutrements.
The Hewer was issued from the stores when required, no personnel purchases were allowed.
The Hewer was discontinued in 1940.
Edited by Bruce Petrin