Blood

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
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Janne K.
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Blood

Post by Janne K. » 15 Dec 2002 14:46

Few questions about blood,

How did they get blood donations during the war? Was it the responsibility of the German Red Cross to collect blood or was it under some government department? Did they have enough blood supplies for all fronts – later during the war it might have been difficult to keep all fronts well stocked with blood? What about North Africa, how did they store blood in those conditions?

Thanks,

J.K.
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Steiner... is a myth. Men like him are our last hope... and in that sense, he is a truly dangerous man. -Iron Cross

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 15 Dec 2002 16:44

All I can say is tha I have never heard of a war where there was enough blood. I can imagine problems with both the cold of Russia and the heat in Africa.
Do we have any doctors on the board, who happens to know if the red and white blood 'particles' (correct name) were already seperated then?

Christian

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Christoph Awender
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Hello

Post by Christoph Awender » 15 Dec 2002 21:01

Hello!

Blood was not the real problem. Blood conserves were just used where the proper storage facilities were available. So usually just in a Kriegslazarett or at home.
Usually the "direct blood exchange" was used which means that the blood was taken from a donator and after a short test directly transferred to the patient.
In the official guidelines for doctors they say to use comrades, local civilians, P.O.W´s and/or the medical personnel of the unit. Lot of donators around usually. The lost volume is replaced after a few hours and the Erythrozyten after four to five days.
BTW Christian it is Erythrozyten (red) and Leukozyten (white) and there were no Erythrozyten concentrates as we use them in modern medicine now.
Also the blood group test-packages were not easy to store and lost their functionality after stored too long and/or wrong. Usually a Feldlazarett ordered just 20 of these packages at once.

hope this helps,
Christoph

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Napoli
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Post by Napoli » 16 Dec 2002 04:57

If I remember right, HaEn mentioned the SS tattoo was for the very reason of field blood transfusions if needed, but I gather this would be more complicated without one as to finding the right donor?

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Christoph Awender
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tattoo

Post by Christoph Awender » 16 Dec 2002 06:38

Yes the purpose of the tattoo was to know the bloodgroup of the patient quickly. This was only a benefit if the medical facility treating him had blood conserves available. In remote regions there had still to be found a donator with the same group. But from the medical point of view the tattoo was not really necessary in my oppinion. If he hadn´t the time to wait for a proper bloodgroup test he would have died anyway.
But I did not very much research into the tattoo yet.

Christoph

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Birgitte Heuschkel
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Post by Birgitte Heuschkel » 16 Dec 2002 13:33

Don't underestimate the propaganda value of that tattoo, either. Even if the harsh reality is, if he can't wait for the test he's dead anyway, many of those more or less illiterate farmboys didn't know that, and have probably felt elite in knowing that they were more valuable and worth saving than the next farmboy in the Wehrmacht uniform.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 16 Dec 2002 13:54

Thanks for the info, Christoph!

Christian

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HaEn
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blood

Post by HaEn » 16 Dec 2002 16:07

Birgitte Heuschkel wrote:Don't underestimate the propaganda value of that tattoo, either. Even if the harsh reality is, if he can't wait for the test he's dead anyway, many of those more or less illiterate farmboys didn't know that, and have probably felt elite in knowing that they were more valuable and worth saving than the next farmboy in the Wehrmacht uniform.
Good point young lady, I never thought of it that way, but you are right, we did indeed feel somewhat special, even the scraped together bunch we were, towards war's end. God Jul ! HN

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Janne K.
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Post by Janne K. » 17 Dec 2002 10:53

Thank you all for your answers

J.K.


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Birgitte Heuschkel
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Re: blood

Post by Birgitte Heuschkel » 17 Dec 2002 13:59

HaEn wrote:God Jul ! HN
I still can't say Merry Christmas in Dutch, but -- Gelukkies Neujaahr! -- or something like that. :)

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cissonio
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Post by cissonio » 18 Dec 2002 10:48

got this from http://www.skalman.nu

All members of the Waffen-SS were required to have a tattoo on his left arm verifying his blood group. Note that not all members actually had a tattoo even though it was required, this included any of the high ranking officers and those who joined the Waffen-SS in the later part of the war. The tattoo was normally applied to those who did their basic training in the Waffen-SS, but also non-Waffen-SS soldiers could get the tattoo if they were treated in the Waffen-SS field hospitals.

The purpose of the tattoo was to be able to preform a blood transfusion at the front to save a wounded mans life. The blood group was also mentioned in the personnel-files and his ID-papers.
Two different types of tattoos existed, one in gothic lettering and one in latin lettering, the latter one being used later in the war.
The tatto was about 7 mm in length and was placed on the underside of the left arm, about 20 cm up from the elbow.

The tattoos were used after the war to identify SS-members and many former members (and Waffen-SS soldiers) removed the tattoo to be able to hide their SS-past for the allies.

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Birgitte Heuschkel
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Post by Birgitte Heuschkel » 18 Dec 2002 18:39

Yup, that'd be the tattoo HaEn and myself were referring to :)

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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 18 Dec 2002 21:12

I have seen two veteran friend's tatoos (thanks gentlemen) who were both late war officers (I won't state their units unless someone really wants to know). The unusual thing is that both reflected the RH factor. One was an 'O' made in a dashed line, much like the 0 on a digital clock, which he said denoted positive (solid would be neg.) and the other had a tiny plus sign after the letter. When did they start denoting RH factor?
Ha En, did you join up early or late? Does yours (if they gave you one, I haven't been paying attention) reflect this?, Both my friends have kind of taller rectangular letters, again, like a digital clock rather than angular...in other words the A would be flat on top rather than like it is typed here (or seen in the photo presented here on a diferent thread). I know it was just up to the individual unit's 'artist', but do they seem similar at all?
I know Ha En, you have wondered why so many of us seem really enamoured by this whole thing, but it is precisely these things that only you veterans can tell us...it is not the sort of personal thing that gets published. And face it, an awful lot of us folks ARE interested in what you guys did--even the little seemingly inconsquential stuff.
We really appreciate all of you who take your time to pass this stuff on to us! Thanks!

SW~

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Christoph Awender
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tattoos

Post by Christoph Awender » 18 Dec 2002 22:02

The tattoos looked very different. It depended on the time he was drafted, the location, the maker of the tattoo etc...

Both of my grandfathers were in the "Prinz Eugen" division and the one tattoo is kind of a big letter (about 2cm height) the other one is a very small kursiv style letter. His brother has just two dots, and the former Sturmbannführer I interviewed said it was a very clear letter A about 1,5cm high. He let remove it to avoid capture.
So many versions seem to be around.

Christoph

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Siegfried Wilhelm
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Post by Siegfried Wilhelm » 19 Dec 2002 21:36

I would expect the powers that be simply handed a Sturmmann a tattoo gun and said make the letters about one centimeter big, and turned him loose. That's how things are usually done in the military. The kind you got would even depend if you got it in the morning or after lunch when the Sturmmann got relieved by another guy with a whole different type handwriting.
It would make an interesting study to see if they were similar at all, or how different they were.
There was a photgraphic study of KZ number tattoos made--I have seen it. and although there are some great exceptions, most are pretty similar.
Too bad such a thing of the SS would be too non-PC to ever be made and that bit of history will be allowed to pass... Dammit.

SW~

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