Red Cross Message Forms

A place to discuss censored mail from World War II

Red Cross Message Forms

Postby LudemanM » Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:11 pm

During WW2, civilian and Internee communication between the warring powers was restricted to Red Cross Message Forms - Form 61.

These were apparently distributed by the International Red Cross in Geneva, but apparently any country could prepare their own version of the Form, and many did so, usually with their own country name at the top. Attached below is one such form used from Costa Rica. (This image borrowed from eBay)

There seem to be an "infinite" variety of these, both for different countries and for various printings across the 1939 - 1945 period from an single country.

Is there any published catalog or listing of which countries were known to print and distribute their own forms? Is there any studies of the varieties of these forms for a country, e.g., Switzerland, Germany, the United States? I found a small monograph by the Club Marcophile, bulletin No 17, on these, but nothing else.

Finally, has anyone ever seen a variety of this form prepared by MEXICO. As my interest is the internee mail from Mexico to the ICRC, I am trying to verify that MExico had a version of this form. If anyone has an example, please post it or contact me direct with a scan.

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Last edited by LudemanM on Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Red Cross Message Forms

Postby dannmayo » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:30 am

Hi Mike,

This will not do all that you want, but look up Marino Carnevale-Mauzan: Les Messages Croix-Rouge pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. It's thin and was published in 1989, so there may be something more current.

It shows 10,085 message forms transmitted from Mexico, starting on 22 April 1941.

It shows that only 453 forms were sent from Costa Rica, beginning 11 August 1942. (The one you show is numbered "31" two days later.)

It reproduces a few forms, but does not show what those form(s) from Mexico looked like.

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Re: Red Cross Message Forms

Postby LuzA » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:25 am


Dear LudemanM,

Have a look at my text inside your post, green colour and also on the list of editions below presented.

LudemanM wrote:During WW2, civilian and Internee communication between the warring powers was restricted to Red Cross Message Forms - Form 61.

I do not know exactly what you mean by "civilian and Internee communication between the warring powers".

Anyway... here you have, below, several informations about it - french and english languages.



A - CARNÉVALÉ-MAUZAN, Marino (1989). Les Messages Croix-Rouge Pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale et Jusqu'à nos Jours 1- Les Messages Civils dits M61. Bulletin nº17 Club Marcophile de la 2e Guerre Mondiale, Mars 1989.
A1 - The study above quoted also contains the following text about the collaboration between the Italian Red Cross and the Vatican/Saint Siège:
"La Collaboration de la Croix-Rouge et du Saint Siège dans l'Acheminement des Messages Privés Pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale" - pages 37-42.

B - Have a look at, for example, the activity of the Order of St John/British Red Cross... also the Office du Colis Alimentaire (OCA)/Lisbon-Portugal... etc. There's several studies published here and there... for example the following:
B1 - "Chapter 21 - Across the Enemy Lines" in BOYLE JR. (1998). Airmail Operations During World War II [...]. Pages 901-905.
B2 - CCSG Bulletin - December/1981; June/1983; August/1983; February/1987; April/1990; etc.

C - There were in those WWII days a lot of remailers in some countries (not only neutral or non beligerants) - tipicaly called Undercover Addresses.
One of the most known studies about this matter (beyond several articles published in philatelic magazines) is the following:
Undercover Addresses of Word War II published by Chavril Press. There's three editions out there.
Postal history and philatelic literature
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