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German life-saving society (Germany)

Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft e.V., DLRG

Last modified: 2011-02-24 by editor unassigned
Keywords: deutsche lebens-rettungs-gesellschaft | dlrg |
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[German life-saving society 2004 flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 31 Oct 2005
Flag in use 2004

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German life-saving society

Here is some info on the flag of the 'Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft e.V.', the non-profit German Life Saving Society.
Website with 'watchful eagle' logo in the upper right hand corner: This logo is used on white flags. (Also used together with red-yellow beach flags.)

Founded in 1913, the DLRG is the largest voluntary life-saving society in the world and a member of the ILS (International Life-Saving Federation). Total membership being 850.000, this number includes more than 51.000 life-savers organized in about 2.200 local branches; last year alone, 692 people were saved from drowning.

On the net we find an older, less stylized version of the logo (about middle of page): and we might suppose that this one, too, was used on a white flag - the reverse of a broche seems to indicate this (click DLRG title, then see last article); moreover, the logo is coloured. Indirect evidence only!

The DLRG youth section has a separate flag, basically white + eagle from logo + white DLRG initials in blue rectangle + 'Jugend' (youth) in red written script, see here; and a better view here of what amounts to a particular logo.
Jan Mertens, 29 Jun 2005

On 28 Jul 1912 a wooden pier at the seaside in Binz/Rügen broke down. 17 persons drowned and even more were injured. To avoid such accidents in the future, the "Deutsche Lebensrettungs Gesellschaft e.V." (abbrev.: DLRG/ German Lifesaving Society) was founded on 19 Oct 1913 in Leipzig. In the end of that year the society had 435 members.
Today the society has more than 850,000 members (61,000 of those are active members, i.e. lifeguards, teachers in swimming, instructors in water rescueing, the others are mere supporting members). All members are working honorary except the general secretary, who is an employee of the society. In 2004 e.g. estimated 51,000 lifeguards worked for more than 2,000,000 hours in baywatching. The society is divided into 19 state associations (Landesverbände, abbrev: LV) and subdivided into more than 2000 local groups and basic groups (Orstgruppen bzw. Stützpunkte), the former are associations, the latter not.
In 1933 the society was forced to join the NSDAP as a civic party-organization. Though the society tried to keep its independence, it was in 1938 renamed into Deutsche Lebensrettungs Gemeinschaft (abbrev.:DLRG/ German Lifesaving Community). It had 27 state associations by then.
After WW II the community was forbidden at first, but in 1948 the community was allowed to work in the Bizone (Zones occupied by the USA and Great Britain). On 1 Jun 1947 the community was founded new by 7 state associations and was renamed again into Deutsche Lebensrettungs Gesellschaft. In the Soviet Occupation Zone the DLRG remained forbidden and was replaced by a Wasserrettungsdienst (abbrev: WRD/ water rescue service) as a department of the German Red Cross in the DDR.
In 1950 there were 11 state organizations and in May 1957 the Saarländische Lebensrettungs Gesellschaft (SLRG) joined the DLRG as "Landesverband Saar". Up to 1989 the society had 15 state organizations. After the German reunion until 1991 there werde founded state organizations also in the new states of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In case of dissolution of the society the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger (abbrev: DGzRS) will be heir of the society and the society will bequeath all its assets and liabilities to the DGzRS.

As far as I know, the DLRG always used a flag with its badge on a plain white cloth. The design of the badge might have changed various times.
Between 1938 and 1948 only the word "Gesellschaft" was replaced by the word "Gemeinschaft". It may be, that between 1938 and 1945 a swastika was added in the middle of the bottom end of the badge. This was very common in those days but it could not be proved, because showing symbols of the NSDAP is a subject of prosecution by federal German laws. On the website there are depicted badges for beginners and advanced, but it could not be confirmed, that the depicted badges were old ones. See attached file DLRGemeinschaft_badge.jpg. On the same website a member identity card is also depicted. On this card the badge is completely replaced by a swastika. But the stamps in it are showing the usual eagle-badge of the DLRG. See attached file DLRGemeinschaft_Zertifikat.jpg. Connecting each pattern with a certain year only means, that a flag with that badge was used in the denominated year. As the flag showed in DLRG_flag_photo_pattern2004.jpg is denominated as the "new flag" on the DLRG website, to this pattern was added the year 2004. It is possible, that that flag was used even earlier.
In the 1977 pattern a white eagle with white bill and white claws is overlooking a blue sea with waves in it from a green rock. The eagle is looking vom right to left. On the edge of the sea there are green capital letters DLRG.
In the 2004 pattern the blue sea became calm without any wave and the green letters were replaced by blue ones. The green rock was replaced by a white one. Also the eagle had become a little bit simpler. The flag is hoisted on every place, where lifeguards are on duty. It is added by one or two red balls according to the wheather conditions of the sea.
The flag of the DGzRS is depicted on FOTW website. The badge of the Saarländische Lebensrettungsgesellschaft was nearly the same. The word "Deutsche" was of course replaced by "Saarländische" and the letters "DLRG" by "SLRG". It is however not known, whether the SLRG used different colours.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 Sep 2005

DLRG 1977 flag

[German life-saving society] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 Sep 2005
Flag in use 1977