TWO MAIN BOARDS OF THE POLISH RED CROSS IN THE YEARS 1939-1945: AN EXCEPTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT MOVEMENT (Dwa Zarzady Glówne Polskiego Czerwonego Krzyza w latach 1939-1945...)
The International Committee of the Red Cross precisely defines the activity of the national associations of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The observation of certain principles comprises a condition for gaining recognition and access to the Federation (earlier: League) of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent. The sole exception was the situation of the Polish Red Cross (PCK) in 1939-1945. At the time of the Second World War, one of the Main Boards of the PCK worked in Poland, and a second one - in London, alongside the Polish government-in-exile. The International Red Cross approved of such an arrangement, acknowledging that wartime humanitarian assistance was more important than formalities, even more so considering that PCK activity in the General Gouvernement was greatly restricted by the German authorities. Meanwhile, the 'London' PCK, which enjoyed the support and financial backing of the Allies as well as social organisations and Poles abroad, functioned extremely effectively. Delegatures supervised by the Main Board of the Polish Red Cross in London were set up almost all over the world. Their prime task was material aid for the needy, medical assistance, bringing families together, a search for graves, a register of lost persons, care for children, cultural activity, etc.
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