Federation of Displaced Persons

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Federation of Expellees
purpose The BdV is the umbrella organization of the German associations of expellees. It represents the interests of the Germans affected by flight, expulsion and resettlement, regardless of membership.
Chair: Bernd Fabritius
Establishment date: October 27, 1957
Seat : Bonn GermanyGermany
Website: www.bund-der-vertrieben.de

The Federation of Displaced Persons - United Landsmannschaften und Landesverbände e. V. (BdV), short Federation of Expellees , is the umbrella organization of the German associations of expellees in the legal form of a registered association . The purpose of the association is to represent the interests of the Germans ( expellees ) affected by flight, expulsion and resettlement . Bernd Fabritius ( CSU ) has been president of the BdV since November 2014 , and Erika Steinbach was the predecessor in office from 1998 .

Political classification

The fact that the association is committed to democratic values ​​and international understanding has repeatedly been recognized by the highest representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany , for example on September 2, 2006 by the then Federal President Horst Köhler on the “ Day of Homeland ”. On the other hand, the association or some of its members are repeatedly accused of being close to right-wing extremism as well as nationalist and revisionist thinking. The relationship between the BdV and Poland is particularly affected. Even before it was founded in 1957, the Association of Expellees had existed as an organization for expelled Germans. It was a reservoir for anti-communist forces in the young Federal Republic. The GDR saw then a switch controlled by the US Secret Service in him.

Structure and number of members

The BdV is organized in two parts: on the one hand there are 20 country teams representing the areas of origin of the displaced persons, on the other hand there are 16 regional associations representing the federal states . According to its own information, the BdV is "the only representative association of the around 15 million Germans who have and are still being accepted in the Federal Republic of Germany as a result of flight, expulsion and resettlement."

Non-displaced persons can also join a displaced persons association. The federal government is also concerned with looking after ethnic repatriates , not least because of the commitment of its honorary chairman and former vice-president Adolf Fetsch .

The exact number of members of the BdV is controversial. While, according to his statements, around 1.3 million members are still organized in 6000 regional divisions and over 1000 hometown associations or hometown communities in the individual federal associations , critics like Erich later only assume around 25,000 members. At the beginning of 2010, the news agency ddp determined around 550,000 members through a telephone survey of the regional associations. An article in the Frankfurter Rundschau also expressed strong doubts about the number of 1.3 million members based on statements by former BdV employee Björn Günther.

The membership magazine "Deutscher Ostdienst" (DOD), which has been published since 1958, has a circulation of around 2,000 copies.


In 1965 just under one percent of the displaced belonged to a BdV country team. When the Ostpolitik of the social-liberal coalition no longer relied on confrontation but on reconciliation with the countries of Eastern Europe, the importance of the BdV declined.

Politicians from the highest level of government, such as Chancellor Angela Merkel , took part in the annual reception, which was mostly held in March .


The association is funded by federal funds. In 1995 this institutional funding amounted to over DM 3.5 million. Of this, the BdV passed on DM 320,000 to its member associations. Funding is provided from funds from the “grants to central organizations and associations that serve the integration of repatriates, emigrants, displaced persons and refugees”.

Under the red-green federal government, the funding was cut. Between 2002 and 2004 it was € 920,000 per year.

Funding is given because there is a federal interest in fulfilling its tasks. These tasks include the integration of the repatriates and ethnic German repatriates, the social and cultural support of the German ethnic groups and minorities, the understanding and cooperation with the neighboring peoples and the maintenance of the cultural assets of the displaced and refugees as part of the German and European heritage. The Federal Government uses the facilities of the associations of expellees for this purpose.

Legal basis of the tasks

The basis of the association's work is regulated in the Federal Expellees Act of 1953. The association looks after the cultural heritage of the displaced and provides advice free of charge. In the advisory board for displaced persons, refugees and repatriates, which was formed in accordance with Section 22 BVFG and is tasked with advising the Federal Government on these issues, the expellees' associations alone send sixteen representatives in accordance with Section 23 (1) BVFG. There are also displaced persons' advisory boards at the state and local level, in which the technical and professional competence of the displaced persons is required.

Compensation for German forced laborers

After years of efforts by the BdV to plan funds for reparations in the German federal budget for German civilians who had to work as slave labor for other countries between 1939 and 1956, it succeeded on November 27, 2015 when the Bundestag passed the guideline on the recognition of former Germans Forced laborers adopted. This is a historic decision because never before have German civilians been compensated by the Federal Republic. It is about 50 million euros that the German parliament budgeted for the reparation of forced labor in 2015.


40 years of the integration of displaced Germans: Postage stamp of the Deutsche Bundespost from 1985

The predecessor organizations adopted the Charter of German Displaced Persons on August 5, 1950 . This was solemnly announced on August 6, 1950 in front of the Stuttgart Palace and determined as the basis for the self-image of the German expellees . It was the first event on the Day of Homeland , which has been celebrated annually since then .

A large part of the leadership groups in these organizations came from the social and political elites of the German eastern territories and ethnic German settlement areas. Among them were former activists of the NSDAP , members of the SS and the German occupation apparatus who had participated in the war of extermination in the east and in the Shoah . Of the thirteen members of the first Federal Presidium, only two were “dedicated non-National Socialists”; the others were all carriers of the Nazi regime. The BdV itself was created on October 27, 1957 through the merger of the “Federation of Expelled Germans” (BVD) and the “Association of Landsmannschaften” (VdL). While the BVD saw itself more as a political fighting organ for the expellees to regain their old homeland, the VdL was more oriented towards the cultural and social issues of the expellees. In the early years this led to some heated arguments in the new association.

In its early days, the association was neutral towards Germany's democratic parties. In the first election to the presidium of the BdV, predominantly former National Socialists were elected.

In the first 20 years of the BdV, former Nazi functionaries and members of the SS formed the majority at every level, from the lowest to the highest. This represented an enormous lobbying and integration power for the administrative and extermination apparatus of National Socialism: The 90,000 civil servants and employees of the public administrations from the eastern regions were smoothly accommodated in the public service.

As president were first Georg von Manteuffel-Szoege ( CSU , VdL) and Linus Kather (CDU, BVD) is selected as equal chairman (1957-1958). The CDU MP Hans Krüger (1958–1963) was followed by the Sudeten German social democrat Wenzel Jaksch (1963–1966) and the SPD representative Reinhold Rehs (1967–1970). At the end of the 1960s there was a break with the SPD because of the more flexible Ostpolitik that it was striving for , which the BdV called “renunciation policy”. The Warsaw Treaty of 1970, which initiated reconciliation with Poland and ensured de facto recognition of the Oder-Neisse border, caused indignation in particular. Rehs and the long-time Vice President Herbert Hupka switched to the CDU. The CSCE process , in which disarmament guarantees from the West and promises regarding human rights in the East were negotiated, were described by the BdV and its political allies as the “abandonment of national interests”. When Helmut Kohl became Federal Chancellor after the end of the social-liberal coalition in 1982, he continued this Ostpolitik, to the disappointment of Herbert Czaja , who was President of the BdV from 1970 to 1994. Until recently, the BdV opposed the two-plus-four treaty , which meant the final recognition of the Oder-Neisse border .

From 1994 to 1998 the CSU member Fritz Wittmann was President of the BdV. The eastward expansion of the EU in 2004 again affected the interests of the BdV. Since 1998 the CDU politician Erika Steinbach , 1997 founding member of the right-wing collective movement Voice of the Majority , has been president. It tried unsuccessfully to link the eastward expansion with the condition that the Beneš decrees must be repealed. In the German Bundestag , after the failure of this initiative, she therefore voted against the accession of Poland and the Czech Republic .

In 2005, the federal government left the pro-European network European Movement Germany .

On September 6, 2000, the association founded the Center against Expulsions Foundation , which aims to set up a documentation center on expulsions in Berlin . A first exhibition took place from August 11th to October 29th, 2006 under the name "Forced Paths" in the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin. The initiative for this documentation center is met with great distrust, especially in Poland.

Bernd Fabritius (CSU) has been President since 2014.

Nazi past of the BdV and its country teams and the handling of right-wing extremism

In 2001, in an article in the television magazine Monitor , the author Georg Restle accused the Association of Displaced Persons that there was no argument or distancing from members who, for example, represent right-wing extremist or historical revisionist ideas. In the same year one of the vice-presidents of the BdV, Paul Latussek , was dismissed from his position as BdV vice-president in a specially convened extraordinary federal assembly. The meeting was called under pressure from the President of the BdV, Erika Steinbach, because of Latussek's statements about Jewish victims in Auschwitz.

Erich Später went further, following up the NSDAP and SS past of many of the founding members of the BdV. He described the Association of Expellees as a " NS successor organization". The journal Konkret , which was classified as left-wing extremist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution , printed this polemic in an article in 2007. The weekly magazine Der Spiegel found that President Erika Steinbach had “ demarcated the association to the right, pulled it out of the corner of the yesterday. “Like Der Spiegel , the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung criticized that the BdV had inadequately dealt with the Nazi past of its founding generation. In 2010 the Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) announced that a study on the role of leading BdV functionaries in the National Socialist regime should be completed this year. A preliminary study on this was criticized by both the BdV itself and the Federal Ministry of the Interior because of historically questionable and whitewashing representations and has already been withdrawn by the IfZ. This preliminary study was coordinated by Manfred Kittel, then an employee of the IfZ and now founding director of the planned state foundation for flight, expulsion, reconciliation .

The IfZ study was published in 2013, according to the results of which 11 of the 13 founding members of the BdV are to be regarded as burdened by their work under National Socialism. Alfred Gille and Erich Schellhaus are considered to be heavily burdened , the former because, among other things, as regional commissioner for the Ukrainian city of Zaporozhye, he was involved in the transfer of thousands of forced laborers to the German Reich in 1942/43, and the latter because he was Nazi mayor of Bad before the war Salzbrunn officiated and in the Second World War 1941 belonged as an officer to a unit in Belarus that was intensively involved in the “fight against partisans” and the “mass murder of Jews”, so that, according to the results of the study, from his “participation in murders against the civilian population there is to go out ”.

Nazi past of various elected representatives

Hans Krüger (1902–1971), Chairman 1959–1963, member of the NSDAP, NSDAP local group leader in Konitz , Federal Minister for Expellees, Refugees and War Victims (October 17, 1963 - February 7, 1964) in the Erhard I cabinet . In 1938, Krüger wrote, contrary to the facts, on a personal form that he had participated in the Hitler putsch (Munich, November 1923). At the end of 1963 the SED functionary Albert Norden made this personnel record public and claimed that Krüger had participated in the Hitler putsch; Kruger acted evasively. On January 17, 1964, Kruger asked for his suspension; on January 31, he submitted his resignation; on February 7, 1964 he was dismissed as Federal Minister.

Baltic States: Axel de Vries (1892–1963), chairman 1962–1963: 1941 “Proposals for combating the partisan threat” (In the text de Vries described the Jews as “our mortal enemies. They must be destroyed, .. . "), At the suggestion of de Vries' a service decree was issued," the communist village intelligence, z. B. teachers etc. "to kill.

Berlin-Mark Brandenburg: Walter von Keudell (1884–1973), DNVP , CNBLP , NSDAP, later CDU. State Secretary in the Reich Forestry Office in Berlin under Reich Forest Master Hermann Göring .

Compatriot of Germans from Russia: Karl Stumpp (1896–1982), long-time chairman, SS member, Sonderkommando Dr. Stumpp , Stumpp is accused of having drawn up a list of 42,000 "intolerable Jews" there as part of his ethnological research. He is also accused of having participated in the murder of Jews himself.

East Prussia: Alfred Gille (1901–1971), chairman 1952–1966, SA-Scharführer, NSDAP, temporarily Gauleitung East Prussia, 1942–1944 area commissioner for the Zaporozhye- City district in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine (genocide) and from 1944 to 1945 area commissioner for the district area Nowogrodek in the Reich Commissariat of Belarus (later co-founder of the GB / BHE, member of the national board of the GDP ).

Silesia: Erich Schellhaus (1901–1983), chairman 1955–1968, NSDAP, later GB / BHE, GDP, CDU, 1962 he demanded (in vain) that any declarations in which the German eastern territories were renounced as Treason would have to be punished with prison or penitentiary.

Sudeten Germans: Rudolf Lodgman von Auen (1877–1962), spokesman 1950–1959: Co-founder of the nationalist German National Party in 1919 and chairman from 1922, as a member of the Czechoslovak parliament made anti-Semitic motions aimed at the disenfranchisement of Jews. In October 1938 Lodgman welcomed the invasion of German troops into the Sudetenland in a personal telegram to Hitler. Quote: "There will be few examples in the history of mankind in which a moral idea has been championed with such moral means as in the triumphant advance of the National Socialist idea, it has already become a religion for the masses today."

Frank Seiboth (1912–1994), Federal Chairman 1954–1959: Sudeten German Party , NSDAP, Gau training leader and head of the NS training camp in the Sudeten area, HJ area leader Sudetenland, task force Reichsleiter Rosenberg (the Nazi party robbery for cultural assets from the occupied countries during the Second World War ).

Hans-Christoph Seebohm (1903–1967), spokesman 1959–1967: Chairman of the supervisory board of Britannia-Kohlenwerke AG and Egerländer Bergbau AG, co-founded by Seebohm in 1941, which was founded as a “rescue company” specifically to take over “ aryanized ” property (later DP and CDU).

Walter Becher (1912–2005), spokesman 1968–1982 and federal chairman 1976–1982: member of the völkisch “Kameradschaftsbund, Bund für overall social education”, the Sudeten German party and the NSDAP, 1959 founding of the National Democratic Union NDU.

Vistula-Warthe: Waldemar Kraft (1898–1977), chairman 1949–1951: NSDAP, honorary Hauptsturmführer SS, 1940–1945 managing director of the Reichsgesellschaft für Landbewirtschaftung in den incorporated Ostgebieten mbH ("Reichsland"), later BHE , CDU.

Hans Koch (historian) (1894–1959), chairman 1954–1959: NSDAP, 1955 recommendation for a Nazi book (author was Heinrich Härtle , an employee of Alfred Rosenberg ), the original text that was only published in the 1955 new edition Passages that glorified the Nazi regime had been modified, had already been published in 1944 under the title The ideological foundations of Bolshevism, Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism .

West Prussia: Erik von Witzleben (1884–1958), Chairman 1949–1956: SS, Sturmbannführer . Walther Kühn (1892–1962), Chairman 1960–1962: member of the German People's Party in the Weimar Republic , after its self-dissolution (July 4, 1933), member of the NSDAP, later the FDP.


President of the Federation of Expellees

president Beginning of the term of office Term expires
Georg Baron Manteuffel-Szoege Georg Baron Manteuffel-Szoege October 1957 December 1958
Linus Kather October 1957 December 1958
Hans Kruger Hans Kruger December 1958 October 1963
Wenzel Jaksch March 1964 November 1966
Reinhold Rehs Reinhold Rehs March 1967 March 1970
Herbert Czaja Herbert Czaja March 1970 April 1994
Fritz Wittmann April 1994 May 1998
Erika Steinbach Erika Steinbach May 1998 November 2014
Bernd Fabritius Bernd Fabritius November 2014 officiating

General Secretaries of the Confederation of Displaced Persons

Secretary General Beginning of the term of office Term expires
Herbert Schwarzer 1958 1972
Hans Neuhof 1972 1978
Klaus Graebert 1979 1984
Hans Erich Seuberlich 1984 1984
Hugo Rasmus 1985 1985
Klas Lackschewitz 1986 1987
Hartmut Koschyk Hartmut Koschyk 1987 1991
Michaela Hriberski 1991 2014
Klaus Schuck 2014 officiating

Silesian youth

In 2011, Steinbach distanced himself from the Silesian youth because they had been infiltrated by right-wing extremists. The country team later broke away from their youth organization.

Country teams in the Association of Expellees

The country team of the Dobruja and Bulgarian Germans joined the Bessarabian German Association in autumn 2009 due to a lack of members.

See also


  • Pertti Ahonen: After the expulsion. West Germany and Eastern Europe 1945–1990. Oxford University Press, Oxford u. a. 2003, ISBN 0-19-925989-5 , (At the same time: New Haven, Yale Univ., Diss.), (Detailed study that examines the role of expellee organizations in the formulation of West German Ostpolitik).
  • Herbert Czaja : On the way to Germany's smallest? Lack of solidarity with the displaced. Marginalia on 50 years of Ostpolitik. Knecht, Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-7820-0730-1 .
  • Anna Jakubowska: The Association of Expellees in the Federal Republic of Germany and Poland (1957-2004). Self-portrayal and external portrayal of an association of expellees. Herder-Institut Verlag, Marburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-87969-372-6 .
  • Linus Kather : The disempowerment of the displaced. 2 volumes (Vol. 1: The decisive years. Vol. 2: The years of decay. ). Olzog, Munich a. a. 1964-1965.
  • Otto Köhler : Any burdens. The League of Displaced People is looking for its past. Manuscript of the Deutschlandfunksendung (radio play / background culture) from July 22, 2010, 7.15–8pm.
  • Michael Schwartz : Functionaries with a past. The founding board of the Association of Expellees and the "Third Reich." Oldenbourg, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-486-71626-9 . ( Review (PDF; 101 kB) in the Archives for Social History , April 18, 2013)
  • Erich later : No peace with the Czech Republic. The Sudeten Germans and their country team (= Concrete. Texts 38). KVV concrete, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-930786-43-5 .
  • Matthias Stickler : "East German means all German". Organization, self-image and political objectives of the German expellee associations 1949–1972 (= research and sources on contemporary history. Vol. 46). Droste, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7700-1896-6 (also: Würzburg, Univ., Habil.-Schr., 2003).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b http://www.bund-der-vertrieben.de/strukturen-organisation-lösungen/der-praesident.html
  2. http://www.bund-der-vertrieben.de/strukturen-organisation-lösungen/rechtsform.html
  3. Archive link ( Memento from October 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  4. ^ A b BdV: structure, current tasks and activities of the BdV. Retrieved December 12, 2019 .
  5. Information on the number of members on the official website ( Memento from August 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 18, 2012
  6. ^ A b Hans-Hermann Kotte: “Concentration on Steinbach distracts” . In: Frankfurter Rundschau , February 11, 2010. Accessed April 6, 2010.
  7. tagesschau.de: 550,000 members instead of two million? , January 5, 2010 4:20 p.m. ( Memento from January 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Astrid Prange: Germany, where are your expellees? A former employee of the Federation of Expulsions claims the association has far fewer than 1.3 million members. In: Frankfurter Rundschau, January 23, 2015, pp. 20–21. There is also a detailed interview with the BdV President Bernd Fabritius.
  9. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , January 9, 2010, p. 7.
  10. Helga Hirsch: “Collective memory in change” , From politics and contemporary history of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, issue 40–41 / 2003
  11. Annual reception of the Federation of Expellees. The East and Central German Association of the CDU / CSU (OMV), March 2010, accessed on July 8, 2014 .
  12. Legal text , accessed on November 18, 2012
  13. Law on the Affairs of Displaced Persons and Refugees (Federal Displaced Persons Act - BVFG) Section 95 Free advice , at www.gesetze-im-internet.de, accessed on November 18, 2012
  14. http://www.bund-der-vertrittenen.de/presse/news-detail/daten/2015/12/10/zwangsarbeiterentschaedigung-kom-bdv-frage-wird-erfuellt.html
  15. http://wochenblatt.pl/bundesverwaltungsamt-wartet-auf-antraege/
  16. Erich Später : How many zeros does the BdV have? In: Konkret , issue 03/2010. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  17. Michael Schwartz: Functionaries with a past. The founding board of the Association of Expellees and the “Third Reich”. Oldenbourg, Munich 2013, p. 528f; see also (as a preliminary review) Klaus Wiegrefe : “Carrier of the Regime”. In: Der Spiegel , 47 (2012), from November 19, 2012, pp. 60-62. On-line
  18. a b Rosenbach, Marcel and Wiegrefe, Klaus: Associations - lenient judgment in Der Spiegel 8/2010, accessed on April 11, 2010
  19. ^ Voice of the Stammtisch , Der Spiegel , July 14, 1997
  20. Erika Steinbach, Die Unbeugsame , Rhein-Zeitung , November 30, 2009
  21. Monitor broadcast of July 26, 2001: " Displaced persons: Silesians and NPD in lockstep "
  22. Süddeutsche Zeitung of November 30, 2001
  23. Erich Später: " Germany's Shock Troop - Fifty years ago, the Nazi successor organization" Bund der Vertrieben "was founded. “In concrete issue 11/2007
  24. Jan Friedmann: Persistent and provocative . In: Der Spiegel . No. 47 , 2007, p. 60 ( online ).
  25. Peter Carstens: Entangled to the point of harmlessness . In: FAZ , February 20, 2010. Accessed March 31, 2010
  26. Michael Schwartz: Functionaries with a past. The founding board of the Association of Expellees and the “Third Reich”. Oldenbourg, Munich 2013, pp. 528-531
  27. Michael Schwartz: Functionaries with a past. The founding board of the Association of Expellees and the “Third Reich”. Oldenbourg, Munich 2013, p. 528f. u. P. 531 and P. 559f.
  28. Michael Schwartz: Functionaries with a past. The founding board of the Association of Expellees and the “Third Reich”. Oldenbourg, Munich 2013, p. 528f. (Quote) u. P. 577f.
  29. spiegel.de January 8, 1964: It came to him , just hold out , date: January 27, 1964 Re: Krüger , official sales
  30. "We don't want to have anything to do with these" , on deutschlandfunk.de, accessed on May 28, 2018


  1. In the criminal case of the GDR against Otto Fleischer in 1953, for example, the Association of Expellees appeared several times, including as a cover organization for the West agent Clemens Laby . Source: BStU signature MfS HA IX Tb 2188

Coordinates: 50 ° 41 ′ 44.9 "  N , 7 ° 8 ′ 34.4"  E