First Intervention of the Red Cross
14 July 2019
On February 1, 1871, around 3.35 a.m., in Les Verrières (canton of Neuchâtel), the French general Clinchant signed the three copies of the conditions for the crossing of the border by the defeated French army.
The entry of 90 000 exhausted or wounded soldiers, non-commissioned officers and 2 467 officers and their 11 800 horses, 285 guns and 1158 vehicles began immediately. The army entered neutral Switzerland at Les Verrières, Sainte-Croix, Vallorbe, Ballaigues and the Vallée de Joux.
This stay in Switzerland came to an end on February 26, 1871, with the peace between Prussia and France. The route of the entry at Les Verrières has been mapped out and can be walked on, provided with information material. The road connects the village centre and station with the border.
The route is about 5 km long and consists of 9 stages. That was also the first intervention of the Red Cross (founded in Geneva in 1863), as can be seen on the Bourbaki-Panorama in Lucerne.
The monument in front of Basel Central Station SBB is a reminder of the city’s support for Strasbourg, which was besieged in the same war (Source and more information: www.bourbaki-verrieres.ch).