6 February 2013

NIOD is going to research the Dutch Red Cross (Dutch abbreviation NRK) during and immediately after World War II. This four-year research project will attempt to answer the question how the NRK dealt with the dilemmas it faced during the occupation. NIOD researcher dr. Regina Grüter will perform this study.

Dutch Red Cross


Although several historians have paid attention to the Dutch Red Cross during the Second World War, almost seventy years after the end of the occupation a retrospective study is still lacking. Over the past years  the Dutch Red Cross has become aware that an independent study is needed.  The membership of the Red Cross in the Netherlands rose from 33,500 in 1940 to half a million in 1945. But at the same time the Dutch Red Cross ignored, in particular, the Jewish community and the political prisoners.

The Red Cross has now commissioned NIOD to undertake an independent study. The research will focus on how the NRK, as a humanitarian organisation, functioned during the occupation. It also examines how, after the war,  the NRK looked back on its role during the occupation, whether and how the NRK was purified after the war and how NRK dealt with the criticism of Holocaust survivors. Special attention is paid to the NRK's neglect of persecuted Jews and political prisoners during the war and in the postwar repatriation.

The study will be completed in 2017 with an academic publication written for wide audience.

Supervisory Committee

During this research project a supervisory committee monitors the independent and scientific quality of the study.

The supervisory committee consists of:

  • Professor Dr. Hans Blom, Emeritus Professor of Dutch History at the University of Amsterdam (Chairman)
  • Dr. Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Kuenzel, lecturer  at Utrecht University
  • Professor Dr. Thea Hilhorst, Professor of Humanitarian aid and Reconstruction at Wageningen U(niversity
  • Professor Dr. Keetie Sluyterman, professor of Business History at Utrecht University
  • Drs. Hans de Vries, former NIOD collection specialist and researcher Camps and Prisons

About Regina Grüter

Regina Grüter is a historian. She completed her dissertation  on the affairs around Friedrich Weinreb; Een fantast schrijft geschiedenis. De affaires rond Friedrich Weinreb (A dreamer writes history. The scandals around Friedrich Weinreb) in 1997. She worked as a researcher for the Scholten Committee and she headed the verification team of the Individual Maror-Funds. Between 2003 and 2012 she was head of the War Aftercare Department for the Dutch Red Cross and Grüter appeared as an expert witness in the trial of John Demjanjuk in Munich in 2010. She was selected to perform this research because of her knowledge of the NRK and her vast research experience.