Displaced person (Federal Expellees Act)

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As expellees are following the legal definition in § 2 of the Federal Law of 1953 displaced persons referred to on December 31, 1937 or earlier had already been residing in the law certain expulsion area. This includes people with German citizenship and ethnic Germans who had to leave the eastern areas of the German Reich , the Sudetenland and old settlement areas in eastern and south- eastern Europe after the Second World War and who were within the scope of theBasic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany .

Legal position in Germany

The official population statistics counted as expellees who lived on September 1, 1939 in the eastern German territories ( territorial status December 31, 1937 ), in the Saar area or abroad , the latter only with a German mother tongue. Because the nationality of ethnic German expellees was an unreliable criterion at the time of the 1946 and 1950 censuses, their mother tongue was used as a criterion instead. The allocation for children born after September 1, 1939 was usually based on the father's place of residence (in the Free State of Bavaria, however, based on the mother's refugee status).

The Burden Equalization Act of August 1952 made no distinction between who is considered a “displaced person” and which is a “displaced person”. The definition of the term from the Burden Equalization Act was reformulated for the first time in the Federal Expellees Act (BVFG) of May 19, 1953. The concept of the expellee and his legal status were regulated therein. It contains a legal definition of the term “expellee”, the distinguishing feature of which was the domicile of the expellee on December 31, 1937. Only those who lived in the displaced areas before 1938 could now claim to have been expelled from their homeland .

§ 2 BVFG in the originally applicable version read:

  • A displaced person is a displaced person who was resident on December 31, 1937 or once before in the area of ​​the country from which he was expelled (area of ​​displacement); The entirety of the areas that belonged to the German Reich or the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy on January 1, 1914 or, at a later date, to Poland , Estonia , Latvia or Lithuania ( Memel area ) are considered to be a uniform expulsion area.
  • A displaced person is also an expelled spouse or a descendant born after December 31, if the spouse or, in the case of descendants, one of the parents as a German citizen or ethnic German resident on December 31, 1937, or once before, was resident in the area of ​​displacement.

This definition differs from that of the displaced person in Section 1 BVFG, which includes people who were not already resident in the area of ​​displacement on the reference date December 31, 1937.

Rights and privileges under the BVFG in its original version could only be used by expellees who had their permanent residence in the area of ​​application of the Basic Law or in West Berlin , as well as refugees from the Soviet zone .

Older official terminology

While the legal terms, first introduced in 1953, have a relatively clear legal meaning, which is reflected in the refugee ID cards A, B or C , for example , the terms "refugee" or "expellee" are mostly used synonymously and for all persons in older official files. who were affected by resettlement, evacuation, flight and displacement. Also included after the completion of the expulsions are repatriates, often evacuees, foreign workers, foreigners and displaced persons . While the censuses of 1946 and 1950 use the place of residence from September 1, 1939, i.e. at the beginning of the war, as a criterion, the range of terms with designations such as “east returnees”, “returnees” or “returnees” shows that the issue of flight and displacement is closely related to the resettlement of German population groups in Eastern and Southeastern Europe carried out by the German Reich during the war. In the simplistic pair of terms “flight and displacement”, which is mostly used today, the variety of reasons for immigration is no longer visible.

Flight and displacement

Displacement areas in the former German East
Displaced persons demonstrate against the proposed equalization law . The banner caricatures Linus Kather and Fritz Schäffer , Bonn (1951).

Even before the forced migration of the German population from the areas east of the Oder-Neisse border , Czechoslovakia , Hungary and other settlement areas in Eastern, Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe, hundreds of thousands fled to the west at the end of the Second World War.

As early as autumn 1944, large streams of refugees from East Prussia , Pomerania , Silesia , East Brandenburg and , since 1945, also from the annexed Sudetenland began to move. The escape was ordered by German authorities or was carried out out of fear of the dangers of the approaching war front such as bombing or artillery shelling. Reports and rumors of massacres, mass rape and looting in areas already reached by the Red Army or partisan organizations did the rest.

In October 1944, so-called wild expulsions began by the local non-German population, especially in areas with German minorities such as the Balkans or Slovakia. New settlers arrived who had previously often been driven out themselves. The Potsdam Agreement of August 1945 finally stipulated that the expulsion of the Germans had to take place “in an orderly and humane manner”. It marks the time of the official transition from individual and wild flight to organized and planned displacement and forced relocation . Official estimates at the time assumed 13-14 million refugees from the area east of the Oder and Neisse rivers in the period from January 1945 to July 1946.

Between 1944 and 1948, 11,900,000 Germans had to leave their homeland:

Area of ​​origin Refugees and displaced persons
East Brandenburg 0.400,000
East Prussia 1,960,000
Pomerania 1,430,000
Poznan , West Prussia , Gdansk , Baltic States 1,160,000
Silesia 3,200,000
Sudetenland 3,000,000
Yugoslavia , Romania , Hungary 0.760,000

Refugees and displaced persons in the west

Memorial for displaced South Moravians - near Kleinhaugsdorf , today's Hollabrunn district (2006)

The Allied plans were based on the Potsdam Agreement and provided admission quotas for the individual zones of occupation . They were mainly assigned to the British and American zones . France was not allowed to take part in the Potsdam Conference and refused to accept organized transports into its zone until 1948.

In 1946 the Western Allies banned politically oriented associations of refugees and only allowed cultural associations. When the communists took control of Czechoslovakia in 1948 , they gradually relaxed the ban on coalitions, because assimilation of the refugees was no longer a priority, but the anti-communist attitudes of most of the displaced was highly valued in the East-West conflict . For a short time there was an emergency parliament for the displaced in West Germany . The Federation of Displaced Persons and Disenfranchised Persons , as a lobby group, pursued economic and socio-political goals and ran for state and federal elections .

In the national teams of the expellees, the common origin formed the connecting and supporting element. In Germany, the Federation of Expellees was founded as the umbrella organization for those who have been expelled from their homeland . It comprises 21 Landsmannschaft, of which the strongest members are the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft and the Silesian Landsmannschaft . After the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany , annual federal meetings of the associations of expellees took place. Their big Whitsun meetings are known . In the Charter of German Expellees from 1950, they renounced revenge and retribution.

About 430,000 displaced persons were accepted in Austria. The Association of Volksdeutsche Landsmannschaften of Austria was established here as early as 1945 . At the end of the 1940s, the compensation of lost property through the so-called equalization of burdens was at the fore of the political commitment of the organizations in which refugees and displaced persons had come together. Germany and Austria passed burden-sharing laws in 1952 and 1956, respectively.

Admission in Germany

Admission of the 11,935,000 displaced persons in the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR (1950):

country Occupation
number part of the
Displaced persons
(in Germany)
Baden-Württemberg FBZ / ABZ 862,000 7.2% 13.5%
Bavaria ABZ 1,937,000 16.2% 21%
Brandenburg SBZ 581,000 4.9% 23%
Bremen ABZ 48,000 0.4% 8.6%
Hamburg BBZ 116,000 1 % 7.2%
Hesse ABZ 721,000 6% 16.5%
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania SBZ 981,000 8.2% 45%
Lower Saxony BBZ 1,851,000 15.5% 27%
North Rhine-Westphalia BBZ 1,332,000 11.2% 10%
East Berlin SBZ ? ? 6%
Rhineland-Palatinate FBZ 152,000 1.3% 5%
Saxony SBZ 781,000 6.5% 14%
Saxony-Anhalt SBZ 961,000 8.1% 23%
Schleswig-Holstein BBZ 857,000 7.2% 33%
Thuringia SBZ 607,000 5.1% 20.5%
West Berlin ABZ / FBZ / BBZ 148,000 1.2% 6.9%

In 1950 that totaled 11,935,000, of which 3,911,000 were in the GDR and 8,024,000 in the Federal Republic
(displaced persons who came later than 1950 and refugees from the Soviet Occupation Zone / GDR are not included).

The Saarland was autonomously and economically linked to France in 1950 , so it is not listed.

Baden-Württemberg was not yet founded in 1950; the former states of Württemberg-Baden (ABZ), Württemberg-Hohenzollern (FBZ) and Südbaden (FBZ) merged into it.

The low numbers in the French-occupied territories are due to the fact that initially no displaced persons were accepted into the French-occupied zone ; that only changed in 1949 with the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany .

See also


  1. The expulsion of the German population from the areas east of the Oder-Neisse. 2 volumes in 3 sub-volumes Bonn (1954);
  2. The fate of the Germans in Hungary. Bonn 1956;
  3. The fate of the Germans in Romania. Bonn 1957;
  4. The expulsion of the German population from Czechoslovakia. 2 volumes, Bonn 1957;
  5. The fate of the Germans in Yugoslavia. Bonn 1961;
  6. Location register, 1963.

Web links

Wiktionary: Expellees  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Ziegler : Refugees and Displaced Persons , Historisches Lexikon Bayerns , 6 September 2011.
  2. ^ Mathias Beer: Refugees and Expellees in the German Southwest after 1945. An overview of the archival material in the state and municipal archives of the state of Baden-Württemberg , Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1994, ISBN 3-7995-2502-5 , p. 16.
  3. Cf. Arnd Bauerkämper: German refugees and expellees from Eastern, Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe in Germany and Austria since the end of the Second World War. In: Encyclopedia Migration in Europe. From the 17th Century to the Present , ed. v. Klaus J. Bade, Pieter C. Emmer, Leo Lucassen, Jochen Oltmer. Paderborn / Munich 2007, 2nd, ext. Edition 2008, pp. 477-485.
  4. Authority or self-help . In: The time . No. 34 , October 10, 1946, ISSN  0044-2070 ( zeit.de [accessed October 25, 2017]).
  5. Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , September 20, 2015, No. 38, p. 26.
  6. Jochen Oltmer: Forced migrations after the Second World War , in: Germany Archive Online , ed. from the Federal Agency for Civic Education , March 15, 2005.
  7. For the composition of the group of authors, cf. Bernd Faulenbach : Introduction to the documentation. ( Memento from February 5, 2012 in the Internet Archive )