Care Packages to US POWs - how did they get delivered / were they ever pilfered?

Question for you - What was the method/route for delivering care packages / Red Cross packages to US POWs? I presume they went through Swiss or Swedish intermediaries? How many of them were pilfered, if any? It must have been a great temptation.


Not necessarily for the POWs, but my grandparents always claimed my grandfather got a hold of a suitcase full of condoms right at the end of the war and was able to sneak them home right after the war. Where he always said that it was real hard to find condoms after the war.
My grandparents were married in 1945, but didn’t have their first child until 1952 when my grandfather said he ran out of the government rubbers that fell off the back of his truck.


The port of Lubeck was designated by the Germans, the Allies, and the Red Cross - the other entry into Germany was via Switzerland. The Red Cross employed special ships (so marked to try and stop u-boats from sinking them) to transport parcels from the US, Canada, and England to either Sweden thence to Lubeck, or Marseilles thence to Switzerland, thence to Germany. (Marseilles stopped being used when the “Dragoon” invasion in 1944 turned it into a war-zone.)

As to pilfering, of course Red Cross parcels were pilfered; everybody expected it, and tolerated it so long as it didn’t greatly affect what the prisoners got.

Hope this helps!