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Civil Protection (West Germany)

Zivilschutz in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: zivilschutzbund | zivilschutz | katastrophenschutz | bundesverband fuer den selbstschutz | triangle(equilateral) |
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[Zivilschutzbund (West Germany)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2010 See also:


Zivilschutzbund (ZB) (=federation for civil protection) was a follower of Reichsluftschutzbund, which had been established to protect civilians against air raids. The federal government first was in charge of running the civil protection. Later the government withdrew its activities and the counties and county-free cities became its followers. The organization then was renamed into Zivilschutz (ZS) and later on into Katastrophenschutz (KatS), because ZS seemed to be related too much to war in (West-)German ears.
The civil protection forces were organized in the local area vertically into companies, called "Bereitschaften", i.e. companies, commanded by a "Bereitschaftsführer" having up to 3 platoons, called "Züge", commanded by a "Zugführer" which were subdivided into groups and troops. A troop was the smallest unit having three men, called "Helfer", a platoon should have 42 men in case of defense.

Horizontally there were subdivisions into "Fachdienste". Those were:
ABC (=NBC defense corps), colour brown
Brandschutz (firefighter corps), colour red
Sanitäätswesen (medical service corps), colour blue
Fernmeldewesen (signal corps), colour citric yellow
Bergung (pioneer corps), colour black
Stäbe (smaller command units), colour white
All helpers wore uniforms in greyish blue, the colour of the "Fachdienst" was fixed at the collar.

I don't know, whether there are any ZS-units left today. By everlasting lack of sufficient money the municipalities were forced to outsource civil protection to other existing organizations such as Red Cross, Malteser HD, Johanniter UH, firebrigades and Technisches Hilfswerk (THW). There remained some units, consisting just of civil servants of their administrative entity.

Little information can be found here.All flags of West-German civil protection were blue with a yellow disc in its centre. Within the disc was a blue equilateral triangle, having yellow capitals at its base.
The yellow disc, fimbriated blue, with triangle and inscription, was worn by the helpers upon the left sleeve of their uniforms.
As far as I know, there existed no flags of KatS. Maybe the BVS nowadays uses the same flags like organizations in other countries, i.e. orange with a blue equlateral triangle, but I don't know. Probably the units fly as a kind of camp flag the municipal flag of their administrative entity, i.e. county or city.
Source: an image of a BVS-flag (with white fimbriation) can be seen in this page
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2010

Zivilschutzbund Flag

Zivilschutzbund flag: yellow inscription "ZB", see attached flag above
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2010

Zivilschutz Flag

[] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2010

Zivilschutz flag: yellow inscription: ZS
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2010

Bundesverband für den Selbstschutz

[Bundesverband für den Selbstschutz] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2010

Bundesverband füür den Selbstschutz (BVS) on the opposite was an organization, giving lessons and information for civilians, how to protect themselves in case of war, but also giving courses in first aid. The flag had a yellow inscription: BVS
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 May 2010

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