“Be comforted, the hours fly by, come what may, the evil cannot abide, and another day will come.”...
These lines, based on a poem by the 19th century writer Theodor Fontane, were sent to Red Cross worker Else Huy by field post in June 1944. Nurse Benjamin, as she was also known, was employed from 1939 to 1945 as a Red Cross worker in various military hospitals and residential homes for soldiers. During that time, she experienced the horrors of a brutal war close up, with its countless casualties, both dead and seriously wounded.
In 1942, she became the face of the Red Cross on the cover of the magazine “Neue Illustrierte Zeitung”. She promoted the deployment of Red Cross nurses in the war, and presented the image of an “ever friendly, ever helpful and selfless” helpmate on the front.
For her humanitarian work in France and Ukraine, she was awarded the War Merit Medal in 1943. She died in 2012 at the age of 97. Her niece left Else Huy’s photographs, items of field post and notes to the Red Cross Museum Vogelsang.
If you’d like to find out more detail about Nurse Benjamin’s life, take some time to look at the display case on the centre aisle.
The other display cases also feature the personal legacies of Red Cross workers, both men and women. They include Werner Rosen, who was a Red Cross paramedic in the Eifel region during the final phase of the Second World War and survived intense bombing raids huddled in a roadside ditch. “The workers fear neither hell nor high water when the issue is rescuing and retrieving the wounded,” he said – impressive words with which he described “the final months of the war in the Eifel”. He died in 2019 at the age of 92.
Fotos: © Rotkreuz Museum