From the museum archives comes these two interesting armbands that were worn by volunteers of the Reichsluftshutzbund or National Air Raid Protection League in Germany during WWII.
The red armband would have been worn by members in urban areas who had the specific task of extinguishing fires caused by incendiary aerial bombs. This was an important task as the fires caused by hundreds of incendiaries were initially small and could be quickly extinguished if caught early, but left to burn could grow in size and cause immense destruction as evidenced in the firestorms they caused in cities like Dresden and Hamburg.
Likewise, the blue armband with the white ‘O’ signified a member of the Luftschutz Crowd Control unit. These units helped to maintain order and attempted to keep panic from setting in during and after air raids so that the firefighting units could complete their tasks.
The Luftschutz was a dedicated civil defense organization that started as a volunteer organization, but after 1935 was obligatory for nearly all German civilians. By the Spring of 1943, membership reached over 22 million in response to the increasingly devastating air attacks Germany experienced during WWII.
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