Station: [3] Regional foundations

This journey takes you back to the founding years of the Red Cross – in Germany and here in the Rhineland. 

After the organisation was founded in Geneva, the medical association Württembergischer Sanitätsverein was established in Stuttgart in 1863. In Berlin, the “Central Committee of the Prussian Association for the Care of Wounded and Sick Warriors in the Field” followed in 1864. Both became members of the Berlin-based Central Committee of the German Red Cross Societies starting in 1879.

In our local region, a forerunner of the Red Cross women’s voluntary organisation was the Schleiden Ladies’ Association, established in 1866 in what was then the district of Schleiden. It was later renamed as “ Vaterländischer Frauenverein” – “Patriotic Women’s Association”. The organisation became part of the movement Empress Augusta had initiated in Berlin, when she founded the “National Women’s Association in Prussia”. 

As you can see, women have always been a major part of the Red Cross movement – although that is rarely recorded in contemporary photographs.  

Later, there followed local Red Cross “Associations for the Care of Wounded and Sick Warriors in the Field”, medical corps, Samaritan associations and nurses. Until the end of the Second World War, their work focussed on humanitarian relief in war. 

Today, the German Red Cross has more than 430,000 volunteers, and is actively involved in national and international operations, as well as being active as a welfare and youth organisation. 

As you move on to the next stops, you’ll find out more about the development of the greatest humanitarian volunteer movement in the world. 


Foto 1: © Rotkreuz Museum
Foto 2: © Dagmar Trüpschuch