Product Description: This German Red Cross Nurses Aide Badge is a nice example of a scarce badge. The obverse shows moderate wear, and was definitely worn, possibly by one of Germany’s unsung wartime heroes. Virtually all of the original silver finish is worn off of the metal, revealing the brassy color of the Tombak base metal. It appears that there was an attempt to obscure the Nazi swastika emblems, likely a denazification attempt by the original owner who probably continued her work long after the war was over. The Red Cross emblem at the center of this attractive badge is surrounded by the wording “Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Schwesternhelferin” (German Red Cross, Nurses Aide). The red, white and black enamel is all intact, with the exception of the scratching near the swastikas. The reverse of this attractive German Red Cross Nurses Aide Badge shows expected age toning to the original silver finish, which also shows some wear. The hardware is complete, with soldered hinge and catch plates and a round wire pin assembly, and no signs of repair. The pin still works as it should. There is no maker mark, but the badge is marked in raised lettering with “Ges. Gesch.” indicating a legally protected design. The condition of this evocative and scarce piece rates as excellent.
Historical Description: The German Red Cross (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz) was instituted in Germany as a volunteer civil aid organization in 1864, and officially acknowledged by the Geneva Convention in 1929. It offered a wide range of services before and during WWI. As a condition of the Treaty of Versailles, the German Red Cross was prohibited from any involvement in military matters. During the time of the Weimar Republic, the German Red Cross functioned as a social welfare organization. After the Nazi rise to power, the German Red Cross were released from this constraint and began to train people for air raids and gas attacks, conduct joint training with police and other civil organizations, and eventually prepare to offer medical aid to the German Armed Forces behind the lines during WWII. The German Red Cross did introduce Nazi ideology in their instruction and training materials at this time as well. During the war, the German Red Cross was active in various areas of operation, acting as an auxiliary organization for the Wehrmacht. After the war, the German Red Cross was disbanded, then reformed and reorganized, and eventually recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1952.
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