Swedish Red Cross White Bus Rescue Action
The Swedish Red Cross White Bus Rescue Action was a mission undertaken by the Swedish Red Cross and the Danish government to rescue
prisoners of Nazi concentration camps in the last months of World War II. Count Folke
Bernadotte (co-chairman of the Swedish Red Cross) engaged in a series of clandestine
meetings with Heinrich Himmler (overseer of the concentration camps and head of the
SS and Gestapo) to negotiate the release of more prisoners over the course of the
rescue action. The operation convened drivers and nurses, as well as 36 buses, at
Malmö Castle. The operation launched on March 9, 1945. The buses were painted white
and tagged with a red cross on top to signal their purpose to Allied forces.
Initially intended to rescue only Scandinavians, the White Buses ultimately liberated 15,500 Holocaust victims of over twenty different nationalities in 54 days. We honor these heroes!
Take a Deep Dive: The Liberation of Ravensbrück Exhibit
Learn more about the exhibit from the archives staff as they share about the creation of the exhibit, the incredible history of the Swedish Red Cross's White Bus Rescue Action, and the survivors of Ravensbrück.
The curators of To Life:
Melissa Minds VandeBurgt - Head of Archives, Special Collections, & Digital Initiatives
Bailey Rodgers - Archives Specialist I, Graduate Student - History
Abigial Winslow - Archival Assistant, Graduate Student - History
Kinsey Brown - Archival Assistant, Graduate Student - English
Jordan Curtis - Archival Assistant, Alumna 2019
Adrian Sanchez - Archival Assistant, Alumnus 2018
Carey Walker - Intern, Graduate Student - History
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