International Committee of the Red Cross

  • CICR - Comite International de la Croix-Rouge
  • CICR
  • Red Cross
Type of Entity
Corporate Body

Dates of Existence



The International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in 1863 as a humanitarian organization to moderate between belligerents and to monitor application of humanitarian international law. This body was charged to oversee humane conditions in POW camps among civilian internees during wartime, but gained limited access to concentration camps. With the exception of two visits to Dutch inmates interned at Buchenwald in 1940, and the inspection of Theresienstadt at the behest of the Danish government (where they were fooled in by the SS in 1944), the Red Cross was never able to enter concentration camps until late in the war. The ICRC did not take great initiatives to intervene on behalf of the Jews for fear losing its credibility with the Axis Powers, thus losing its position to work on behalf of POWs and civilian internees. In 1995, ICRC president, Cornelio Sommaruga, finally admitted his agency’s inaction during the Holocaust.


  • Active worldwide.


  • Dictionary of the Holocaust : Biography, geography, and terminology / E.J. Epstein, P. Rosen. – Westport, 1997. – p. 246, 247