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World War II evacuation and expulsion

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Mass evacuation, forced displacement, expulsion, and deportation of millions of people took place across most countries involved in World War II. The Second World War caused the movement of the largest number of people in the shortest period of time in history.[1] A number of these phenomena were categorised as violations of fundamental human values and norms by the Nuremberg Tribunal after the war ended. The mass movement of people – most of them refugees – had either been caused by the hostilities, or enforced by the former Axis and the Allied powers based on ideologies of race and ethnicity, culminating in the postwar border changes enacted by international settlements. The refugee crisis created across formerly occupied territories in World War II provided the context for much of the new international refugee and global human rights architecture existing today.[2]

Belligerents on both sides engaged in forms of expulsion of people perceived as being associated with the enemy. The major location for the wartime displacements was East-Central and Eastern Europe, although Japanese people were expelled during and after the war by Allied powers from locations in Asia including India. The Holocaust also involved deportations and expulsions of Jews preliminary to the subsequent genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany under the auspices of Aktion Reinhard.[2]

World War II deportations, expulsions and displacements[edit]

Following the invasion of Poland in September 1939 which marked the beginning of World War II, the campaign of ethnic "cleansing" became the goal of military operations for the first time since the end of World War I. After the end of the war, between 13.5 and 16.5 million German-speakers lost their homes in formerly German lands and all over Eastern Europe.

Origin of German colonisers settled in annexed Polish territories in action "Heim ins Reich"
Expulsion of Poles from Reichsgau Wartheland following the German invasion of 1939
Germans leaving Silesia for Allied-occupied Germany in 1945. Courtesy of the German Federal Archives (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).

Aftermath of the invasion of Poland[edit]

World War II[edit]

Defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan[edit]

Establishment of refugee organisations[edit]

The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration was set up in 1943, to provide humanitarian relief to the huge numbers of potential and existing refugees in areas facing Allied liberation. UNRRA provided billions of US dollars of rehabilitation aid, and helped about 8 million refugees. It ceased operations in Europe in 1947, and in Asia in 1949, upon which it ceased to exist. It was replaced in 1947 by the International Refugee Organization (IRO), which in turn evolved into United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1950.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bergen, Doris L. (2003). War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (1st ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 224. ISBN 0-8476-9630-8.
  2. ^ a b Neil Durkin, Amnesty International (9 December 1998). "Our century's greatest achievement". On the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. BBC News. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2015 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ Janusz Gumkowski and Kazimierz Leszczynski, Poland Under Nazi Occupation, (Warsaw, Polonia Publishing House, 1961) pp. 7–33, 164–178. Archived 2012-04-13 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Poles: Victims of the Nazi Era". Archived from the original on 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  5. ^ a b "Zwangsumsiedlung, Flucht und Vertreibung 1939–1959 : Atlas zur Geschichte Ostmitteleuropas", Witold Sienkiewicz, Grzegorz Hryciuk, Bonn 2009, ISBN 978-83-7427-391-6
  6. ^ Davies (1986), p. 451.
  7. ^ a b Polian (2004), p. 119.
  8. ^ Hope (2005), p. 29.
  9. ^ "Holocaust Victims: Five Million Forgotten – Non Jewish Victims of the Shoah".
  10. ^ Malcher (1993), pp. 8–9.
  11. ^ a b c d e Piesakowski (1990), pp. 50–51.
  12. ^ Mikolajczyk (1948).
  13. ^ a b Piotrowski (2004).
  14. ^ Gross (2002), p. xiv.
  15. ^ a b c d Cienciala (2007), p. 139.
  16. ^ a b Polian (2004), p. 118.
  17. ^ "Lecture 17 - Poland Under Occupation" (PDF). Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  18. ^ Applebaum (2004), p. 407.
  19. ^ Krupa (2004).
  20. ^ Rees (2008), p. 64.
  21. ^ Jolluck (2002), pp. 10–11.
  22. ^ Hope (2005), p. 23.
  23. ^ Ferguson (2006), p. 419.
  24. ^ a b c Malcher (1993), p. 9.
  25. ^ Hope (2005), p. 25.
  26. ^ Hope (2005), p. 27.
  27. ^ Article about expulsions from Oświęcim in Polish Archived 2008-10-03 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Deletant, Dennis (2006). Hitler's forgotten ally: Ion Antonescu and his regime, Romania 1940–1944. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1–376. ISBN 978-1403993410.
  29. ^ Costea, Maria (2009). "Aplicarea tratatului româno-bulgar de la Craiova (1940)". Anuarul Institutului de Cercetări Socio-Umane "Gheorghe Șincai" al Academiei Române (in Romanian) (12): 267–275.
  30. ^ Țîrcomnicu, Emil (2014). "Historical aspects regarding the Megleno-Romanian groups in Greece, the FY Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and Romania" (PDF). Memoria Ethnologica. 14 (52–53): 12–29.
  31. ^ Joseph Poprzeczny, Odilo Globocnik, Hitler's Man in the East, McFarland, 2004, ISBN 0-7864-1625-4, Google Print, pp. 110–111
  32. ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web p. 335 ISBN 0-679-77663-X
  33. ^ Lukas, Richard C (2001). "Chapter IV. Germanization". Hippocrene Books, New York. Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  34. ^ "Stolen Children: Interview with Gitta Sereny". Jewish virtual library. Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  35. ^ Lynn H. Nicholas, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web pp. 334–335 ISBN 0-679-77663-X
  36. ^ Sybil Milton (1997). "Non-Jewish Children in the Camps". Multimedia Learning Center Online (Annual 5, Chapter 2). The Simon Wiesenthal Center. Archived from the original on 2017-09-25. Retrieved 2023-09-23.
  37. ^ a b c Krizman.
  38. ^ a b Nikolić et al. (2002), p. 182.
  39. ^ Annexe I Archived 2003-03-01 at the Wayback Machine, by the Serbian Information Centre-London to a report of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  40. ^ Ustasa, Croatian nationalist, fascist, terrorist movement created in 1930.
  41. ^ Peuch, Jean-Christophe (8 April 2008). "World War II – 60 Years After: For Victims Of Stalin's Deportations, War Lives On". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
  42. ^ Raoul Pupo, Il lungo esodo. Istria: le persecuzioni, le foibe, l'esilio, Rizzoli, Milano 2005.
  43. ^ Lapin sodan ja evakoitumisen muistojuhlassa Pudasjärvellä 3.10.2004. Hannes Manninen. Retrieved 2009-9-7-(in Finnish)
  44. ^ Tibor Cseres: Serbian vendetta in Bacska
  45. ^ Mazower, Mark (2000). After The War Was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation and State in Greece, 1943–1960. Princeton University Press. pp. 155, 181. ISBN 978-0-691-05842-9.
  46. ^ Close, David H. (1995), The Origins of the Greek Civil War, Longman, p. 248, ISBN 978-0582064720, retrieved 2008-03-29, p. 161: "EDES gangs massacred 200–300 of the Cham population, who during the occupation totalled about 19,000 and forced all the rest to flee to Albania"
  47. ^ Eberhardt, Piotr (2006). Political Migrations in Poland 1939–1948. 8. Evacuation and flight of the German population to the Potsdam Germany (PDF). Warsaw: Didactica. ISBN 978-1536110357. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-26.
  48. ^ Eberhardt, Piotr (2011). Political Migrations On Polish Territories (1939–1950) (PDF). Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences. ISBN 978-83-61590-46-0.
  49. ^ The Expulsion of 'German' Communities from Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War Archived 2009-10-01 at the Wayback Machine, European University Institute, Florense. EUI Working Paper HEC No. 2004/1, edited by Steffen Prauser and Arfon Rees, p. 4.
  50. ^ "Das Schicksal der Deutschen in Jugoslawien". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
  51. ^ Horvat, Andrew (1986-02-02). "Exiled Sakhalin Koreans Yearn to Go Home Again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-07-22. Lee, Jin-woo (2005-02-18). "3,100 Koreans in Sakhalin Yearn to Return Home". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 2005-03-15. Excluding 100,000 Koreans who were subsequently sent to the mainland of Japan, about 43,000 forced laborers had to remain on the island with no nationality for up to three decades ... So far, some 1,600 returnees have been able to return to South Korea for permanent settlement since 1992.
  52. ^ "Taiwan history: Chronology of important events". Archived from the original on 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  53. ^ Jozo Tomasevich War and revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941–1945: occupation and collaboration, Stanford University Press, 2001 p. 165

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Applebaum, A. (2004). GULAG A History, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-028310-2.
  • Cienciala, M. (2007). Katyn A Crime Without Punishment, Yale University, ISBN 978-0-300-10851-4.
  • Davies, N. (1986). God's Playground A History of Poland Volume II, Clarendon, ISBN 0-19-821944-X.
  • Douglas, R.M.: Orderly and Humane. The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War. Yale University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0300166606.
  • Feferman Kiril, "A Soviet Humanitarian Action?: Centre, Periphery and the Evacuation of Refugees to the North Caucasus, 1941-1942." In Europe-Asia Studies 61, 5 (July 2009), 813–831.
  • Ferguson, N. (2006). The War of the World, Allen Lane, ISBN 0-7139-9708-7.
  • Gross, J. T. (2002). Revolution from Abroad, Princeton, ISBN 0-691-09603-1.
  • Hope, M. (2005). Polish Deportees in the Soviet Union, Veritas, ISBN 0-948202-76-9.
  • Jolluck, K. (2002). Exile & Identity, University of Pittsburgh, ISBN 0-8229-4185-6.
  • Krizman, Serge. Maps of Yugoslavia at War, Washington 1943.
  • Krupa, M. (2004). Shallow Graves in Siberia, Birlinn, ISBN 1-84341-012-5.
  • Malcher, G. C. (1993). Blank Pages, Pyrford, ISBN 1-897984-00-6.
  • Mikolajczyk, S. (1948). The Pattern of Soviet Domination, Sampsons, low, Marston & Co.
  • Naimark, Norman: Fires of Hatred. Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth - Century Europe. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2001.
  • Nikolić, Kosta; Žutić, Nikola; Pavlović, Momčilo; Špadijer, Zorica (2002): Историја за трећи разред гимназије природно-математичког смера и четврти разред гимназије општег и друштвено-језичког смера, Belgrade, ISBN 86-17-09287-4.
  • Piesakowski, T. (1990). The Fate of Poles in the USSR 1939~1989, Gryf, ISBN 0-901342-24-6.
  • Piotrowski, T. (2004). The Polish Deportees of World War II, McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-3258-5.
  • Polian, P. (2004). Against their Will, CEU Press, ISBN 963-9241-73-3.
  • Prauser, Steffen and Rees, Arfon: The Expulsion of the "German" Communities from Eastern Europe at the End of the Second World War. Florence, Italy, Europe, University Institute, 2004.
  • Rees, L. (2008). World War Two Behind Closed Doors, BBC Books, ISBN 978-0-563-49335-8.
  • Roudometof, Victor. Collective Memory, National Identity, and Ethnic Conflict Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian Question.