DP camp

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DP camp ( English DP camps ) were facilities for temporary accommodation of displaced persons (DPs) after the end of World War II in Germany , Austria , France and Italy .


School children in the Schauenstein DP camp in 1946
American social worker with refugee child, Vienna 1945/46

After the Allied invasion in 1945 there were between 6.5 million and 7 million DPs on the territory of the German Reich. This term was understood to mean civilians who were no longer in their country of origin as a result of the war, but were supposed to return there according to the ideas of the headquarters of the Allied forces . The vast majority of these were former concentration camp prisoners , forced laborers or foreign workers recruited by the National Socialists who were now in the western occupation zones of Germany and Austria .

In the Yalta Declaration , the Allies set themselves the goal of repatriating war refugees - the return of refugees to their homeland. By the end of 1946, almost six million DPs had been returned to their homeland. For about one million people, however, returning to their homeland was out of the question. These were mainly former forced laborers who did not want to return to their home countries occupied by the Soviet Army , Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who had lost their entire existence in the East, but also Eastern Europeans and Balts who had voluntarily fought or worked in the Wehrmacht to achieve the independence of their countries from the Soviet Union, and now feared reprisals in their home countries.

It was difficult to accommodate and care for such a large number of people. The military administrations in the three western zones of occupation therefore entrusted the United Nations aid organization UNRRA with looking after the camps, which were officially designated as assembly centers . A UNRRA team was responsible for each camp . As a rule, it consisted of eight people responsible for different areas of warehouse management and six functionaries ( cook , nurse , driver , typist). From 1947 the successor organization of UNRRA, the IRO, took over the administration of the DP camps.

With the advance of the Allied forces after the Normandy landings , many forced laborers and foreign workers were freed in France , Belgium and the Netherlands who had to be housed and cared for. The first assembly centers set up by the SHAEF were therefore also in these countries. The vast majority of the DP camps were on the territory of the US occupation zone . No DP camps were set up in the Soviet occupation zone . In order to ensure that repatriation was as quick and smooth as possible, the displaced persons were distributed among the DP camps depending on their nationality. For Jewish DPs own DP camps were established after the beginning of some of the persecuted Jews with their former tormentors , such as the Baltic or Ukrainian Nazi - collaborators , in the same barracks had been forced to live together. US military rabbis alerted the public to these intolerable conditions, whereupon American President Harry S. Truman ordered the construction of residential areas and communities for Jews in the summer of 1945.

Existing facilities such as

In particular, the accommodation in camps that had previously served the National Socialists, as well as the poor supply in the camps, embittered many of those housed here. This was also mentioned in the Harrison Report of August 1945. The report prompted US President Truman to improve the situation of the DPs. The Jewish DP camps in the US occupation zone were then placed under Jewish self-government . Jewish welfare organizations such as the Joint Distribution Committee played an important role in this . From December 1951, the DP camps in the US and British occupation zones in the Federal Republic of Germany , which was newly founded in 1949, came under German administration and were declared government camps for homeless foreigners . In 1957, the Föhrenwald camp near Wolfratshausen was the last of the DP camps in the former US occupation zone to be closed. In the British occupation zone, the Wehnen DP camp near Oldenburg existed until 1959.

By March 2014, the International Tracing Service (ITS) had compiled a little over 1,800 DP camps or DP living zones that were located in the three western zones and the western sectors of Berlin.

DP camp in Germany (Western Allied occupation zones)

Locations in the American zone of occupation

With up to 7,645 residents in 1946, the Pocking camp was the second largest DP camp in Germany after Bergen-Belsen (British zone); it was disbanded in February 1949.

IRO Children's Centers

The numerous Jewish children and adolescents without adult accompaniment were accommodated in well over two dozen Children's Centers , for example.

While many of these homes exclusively accommodated Jewish boys and girls, Aglasterhausen and Indersdorf were open to all those persecuted by the National Socialists. From 1947 the successor organization of UNRRA , the IRO ( International Refugee Organization, IRO ) took over the administration of the DP camps.

Locations in the British zone of occupation

Locations in the French occupation zone

In the French occupation zone there were Jewish DP camps in at least the following places:

DP camp in Austria (Western Allied occupation zones)

DP camp in France

Around 50 DP camps have been set up in France since the winter of 1944/45. The first camps originated in

In 1947 at least 45 DP camps still existed.

DP camp in Italy


  • Jacqueline Giere, Rachel Salamander (Ed.): A life anew. The Robinson album. DP camp: Jews on German soil 1945–1948. Verlag Christian Brandstätter, Vienna 1995, 128 pp.
  • Irene Eber : I'm alone and afraid. A Jewish girl in Poland 1939–1945. Translated from the English by Reinhild Böhnke . Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-406-55652-3 , 287 pages with 18 illustrations. and 1 card. Original English title: The Choice - Poland, 1939–1945. Verlag Schocken Books, NY 2004, ISBN 0-8052-4197-3 , 240 pages (English).
American zone
  • Atina Grossmann : Munich. In: Dan Diner (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture (EJGK). Volume 4: Ly-Po. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2013, ISBN 978-3-476-02504-3 , pp. 258-264 (article about the DP camps).
  • Robert L. Hilliard: Forgotten by the liberators: the struggle for survival of Jewish concentration camp prisoners under American occupation . Translation from English Andreas Simon. Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2000 ISBN 978-3-593-36397-4
  • Angelika Eder: Fleeting homeland: Jewish displaced persons in Landsberg am Lech 1945 to 1950 . Munich: Uni-Dr., 1998 ISBN 978-3-87821-307-9 Hamburg, Univ., Diss., 1996
    • Angelika Eder: Jewish Displaced Persons in everyday German life. A regional study from 1945 to 1950. In: Fritz Bauer Institute (Ed.): Survived and on the move: Jewish Displaced Persons in post-war Germany . 1997 yearbook on the history and impact of the Holocaust. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1997, pp. 163–187 (excerpt)
  • Abraham Peck, Manfred Deiler: Between Despair and Rebirth , in: Landsberg in the 20th Century - Themed Issues on Landsberg Contemporary History. Issue 6: Landsberg 1945–1950: The Jewish new beginning after the Shoah. The future emanated from the Landsberg DP camp . 1996, ISBN 3-9803775-5-5 , pp. 14-17, (original article PDF file; 2.7 MB)
  • Jim G. Tobias: Temporary home in the land of the perpetrators. Jewish DP camps in Franconia 1945–1949 . Antogo, Nürnberg 2002, ISBN 978-3-9806636-3-2 .
  • Franz Eduard Peschke: Foreign patients in Wiesloch . Fate and history of forced laborers, eastern workers, displaced persons and homeless foreigners in the sanatorium and nursing home, the Mental Hospital, the Psychiatric State Hospital Wiesloch and the Psychiatric Center North Baden , treatises on the history of medicine and natural sciences, 103, ed. Rolf Winau, Johanna Bleker, Matthiesen Verlag, Husum 2005, ISBN 3-7868-4103-9 .
  • Roman P. Smolorz: Displaced Persons (DPs): Authorities and leaders in the budding Cold War in eastern Bavaria . Regensburg City Archives 2006, ISBN 3-935052-53-7 .
  • Christian Höschler: Home (less). The IRO Children's Village Bad Aibling , 1948–1951 . Berlin 2017.
British zone
  • Sophie Fetthauer: Music and theater in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp. On the cultural life of the Jewish displaced persons 1945–1950 (= music in the “Third Reich” and in exile, vol. 16), Neumünster: Bockel 2012. ISBN 978-3-932696-91-6
  • Andreas Lembeck, Klaus Wessels: Liberated, but not in freedom. Displaced Persons in Emsland 1945–1950 . Temmen, Bremen 1997, ISBN 3-86108-321-3
  • Jan Rydel: The Polish occupation in the Emsland 1945-1948 . Fiber, Osnabrück 2003, ISBN 3-929759-68-3 .
  • Stefan Schröder: Displaced Persons in the district and in the city of Münster 1945–1951 . Publication of the Historical Commission for Westphalia, 22. Aschendorff, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-402-06784-6 .
  • Gerhard Hausen: Forced labor in the Olpe district . New displaced persons camp discovered in the Olpe district near Wenden. Ed. The District Administrator. Series of publications of the district of Olpe, 32nd ISSN  0177-8153 2007.
  • Hermann Kleinebenne: In the Lahde foreigners camp . Where will our new home be? From the diary of a Latvian DP family. The Lahde administrative area under the influence of the local power plant projects and as a DP camp of the military government from 1945 . Weserdruckerei Stolzenau, 2016.
American Zone in Austria
  • Maria Weiss: DP Siedlung 121 Haid 1941 to 1961. Historical-biographical photo documentation. Ansfelden  : Ansfelden City Office, 2007

Web links

Commons : DP warehouse  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Jim G. Tobias: In the middle of the land of the perpetrators . In: Neues Deutschland , November 27, 2012
  2. ^ Maczków - An episode of Polish history
  3. ^ Juergen Hobrecht: When Haren Maczków was called . In: Die Zeit , No. 21/1995
  4. ^ Karl Forster: Haren - Lwów - Maczków - Haren - A Polish city in Germany
  5. ^ DP Camp Inventory of the ITS; accessed August 31, 2016
  6. ^ The old barracks in Deggendorf after the Second World War by S. Michael Westerholz
  7. ^ Dieburg - Jewish DP camp . after-the-shoah.org; accessed: August 31, 2016
  8. Jim G. Tobias: "Seldom has there been a more warm atmosphere than here ..." The International Children's Center Aglasterhausen 1945-48 At hagalil.com on December 8, 2013
  9. a b The deportations of Hungarian Jews to Austria ( Memento of the original from August 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved May 8, 2010  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ejournal.at
  10. a b Organized aid measures in the forum OoeGeschichte.at
  11. In Ebensee there was a DP camp ( Memento of the original from May 20, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.weltkriegsopfer.de
  12. ^ History of the Evangelical Community AB in Spittal, accessed on May 8, 2010
  13. ^ Conflict and Integration - The Trofaiach / Gai Camps 1915–1960 . CLIO, Graz 2003, ISBN 3-9500971-4-7
  14. ^ A review by Ernst Klee on Peschke's dissertation