The man who took on the Nazis with a needle

Black and white photo of a smiling POW taken by the Red Cross for his family

The Red Cross took this photo in March 1943 for Alexis’ family

Prisoner of war, top-secret spy and subversive stitcher – Cas certainly lived a full life. But his daughter had no idea about half of it, until she found a mysterious box in the attic.  

Please note: this article contains swear words

An 85-year-old man wanders along a Greek seafront. He looks with interest at an open-air exhibition: huge, blown-up photos of a World War Two battle on this very island from 50 years earlier.

One photo shows a sea of weary men, bracing themselves for years of German capture. Only one face is turned, looking straight at the camera.

The elderly man stops. He lets out a gasp.

At this point in the story, his daughter leans forward to tell me: “He had an extraordinary gift for being photographed.” More

Nepal earthquake: ‘I wish we could have done more’

People walk next to rubble

© Mithila Jariwala / IFRC

In this dramatic and personal account, Helen Brown, who works for the British Red Cross in Nepal, recalls the moment the earthquake hit and the incredible emergency response.

I was sat in the departure lounge of Kathmandu airport waiting to board my plane home when the first earthquake struck.

The whole airport started to shake. Panic spread. People were screaming and pushing each other out of the way.

We managed to get out of the building on to the runway where the shaking continued. I thought the ground might crack open.

I had been due to fly back to the UK for a holiday. Instead, once the tremors had stopped, I managed to get my luggage from the plane and went back through the airport.

It started shaking again. Much to my disbelief, I saw a tourist taking ‘selfies’ next to some debris that had fallen from the ceiling. I jumped in a taxi and headed back into the capital. More

‘I was at Belsen’

BELSEN_BLOG_600x400As Holocaust survivors mark the 70th anniversary of the concentration camp’s liberation, we trace the story of a resolute volunteer who went out there  to help in 1945.

It’s fair to say Enid Fordham wasn’t scared of a challenge.

As a driver with the fire service during the dark days of the London Blitz, she saw enough danger and suffering to last most people a lifetime.


Art from the past: when a scene of horror went up in flames

Belsen burning

Every month, we dust off a piece of art from the British Red Cross collection to give it the attention it deserves. This painting takes on a terrible moment in history: the discovery of the Nazi concentration camp at Belsen.

When Doris Zinkeisen signed up as a war artist at the end of the Second World War, she probably knew some sights and scenes would test her extraordinary talents.

But she may not have known she’d face one of the war’s great horrors. More

“The world has forgotten”: An artist’s take on the Syria crisis

A man holds a milk bottle

© Matt Percival/BRC

How can one image sum up four years of violence, fear and hardship?

A new artwork is using more than a thousand milk bottles to mark four years since the start of the conflict in Syria.

No One Home has been curated by Syrian artist Ibrahim Fakhri, who now lives in Oxford. He describes the impact of the crisis – and reveals how art can show people the reality of life for those affected. More

Art from the past: feeding Europe’s hungry

The feeding painting

Every month, we dust off a piece of art from the British Red Cross collection to give it the attention it deserves. This painting was a topical one after the Second World War – when much of Europe was left hungry and homeless.

Look at this oil painting, and you notice the detail etched into the faces. They are all downcast: eyes on the floor and shuffling their hands. There’s a clear sense of weariness and waiting.

For artist Max Huber, in 1948, this painting was like a newscast: it captured a very current crisis.

The Second World War was over, but Europe was still reeling – and dealing with hunger and homelessness. More

Ten blogs you shouldn’t miss

We’re looking back at the blogs that touched us most in 2014. Some put a smile on our face, while others just knocked us for six. These people aren’t household names and many of the issues weren’t headline news – but they’re all powerful stories. Have a read and see what you think.  



“How far is it to the hospital?”, we ask the boy’s father. He replies: “Four days by footing (walking).”

South Sudan. A nine-year old boy has a broken leg with an open wound. He’s in unbearable pain.

However, all the rain means that people can’t travel by road. More