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1946- Displaced People

1946 Displaced People_min.JPG

Title: 1946 - Displaced People

About: The end of World War II sparked the largest movement people in the shortest period of time that the world had ever known.


As hostilities ceased, refugees, displaced persons, deportees and fugitives jammed the roadways and waterways of Europe and spilled over into Central Asia and the Americas. Millions of Germans fled or were expelled from eastern Europe. Hundreds of thousands of Jews, survivors of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis, sought secure homes beyond their native lands.


Other refugees from every country in eastern Europe rushed to escape from the newly installed Communist regimes. Nearly two million Poles were compulsorily transferred from eastern areas of Poland that had been annexed by the USSR. They took the place of Germans expelled from the formerly German regions of Pomerania and Silesia. Half a million Ukrainians, Belorussians and others were deported from Poland to the Soviet Union. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Croats, and others, fearful of reprisals for wartime collaboration, fled westwards from all over eastern Europe, most of them hoping to get to North America.

In Germany, as soon as the war ended, the Allies were faced with the enormous problem of trying to send masses of displaced people home as quickly as possible. Each of the Allied nations took responsibility for DPs in their own sector of Germany. Until transportation became available, they set up emergency centers to provide food, shelter, and medical care for the refugees.


The project was actually extraordinarily successful: millions of people were home within weeks of the war’s end. Yet despite the Allies’ efforts, about 1.5 million DPs were still in emergency centers six months after the war. 

These survivors had often lost not only their homes and belongings but also much of what gave them their identity — their families, their physical appearance, their liberties, and their hopes. Some would return to their original homes, but for many, starting over was the only way, and Jews particularly chose to emigrate to the USA, Latin America, South Africa, and to Jewish communities in Palestine.

Decade: 1940s

Year: 1946

Region: Europe

Country: Germany + Austria + Poland + USSR

Society: Migration

Conflict: World War II

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 4

Artist: Stefan Milosavljevic


Group: Genesis

Number: 46/100

Price: 0.4 ETH


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