from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Expulsion of Serbs by the Ustasha regime, 1941
Expulsion of Germans from the Eastern Territories , 1945
Refugee camp in Zaire following the genocide in Rwanda , 1994

The term expulsion (from Middle High German vertrīben "expel, eliminate, eradicate") is a generic term for the phenomenon of individuals or interest groups to describe, through their power , the behavior , thinking , emotions and settings from individuals, social groups or populations determine such that they are forced to leave their settlement area ( violence ). In later historical epochs it is often state measures that find their expression in relation to an ethnic , religious , social or political group.

Definitions and demarcations

The concept of displacement is neither legally nor historically clearly and unequivocally defined. For a long time it was a political battle term and is still a term used in political language. Philipp Ther advocates the following definition:

“Displacement is a forced form of migration across national borders. Those affected by it are compelled to leave their homeland under direct or indirect pressure . Expulsion is irreversible and final. "

Deportation differs from displacement in that a later return cannot be ruled out. In addition, it always takes place within the territory of a state.

In addition, numerous terms are used that have specific connotations :

  • Displacement includes forced departure from a place or area due to expulsion or (state) persecution. Since, in addition to massive persecution , there has been and still is political and social discrimination or purely economic pressure of various degrees, it is often difficult to differentiate between expulsion and voluntary emigration or voluntary large-scale relocation within a state without proof of expulsion or threat of violence.
  • Deportation is an administrative act with the aim of ending the presence of the person concerned in a country and denying them re-entry and further residence. Expulsions generally place the interests of a state or community above the well-being of the expelled person.
  • Deportation is the official enforcement of an obligation to leave the country established in a constitutional process (expulsion).
  • Refugees do not leave their homeland by order of the authorities, but to avoid a - possibly life-threatening - danger. They are not forced to leave their homeland directly, but indirectly . If refugees or expellees are not allowed to return to their homeland, their situation is no longer different from that of displaced persons.
  • With the further development of international criminal law, ethnic cleansing established itself among jurists and historians (and later also in the media and the public) as a term for measures that aim to remove groups of the population that the authorities or a powerful population group cannot imagine linguistically or contradict the cultural composition of their community . Of the methods, genocide is by far the most criminal, but displacement is also highly inhumane .
  • State-enforced resettlement in empires has often served the purpose of mixing different population groups in order to prevent separatist activities.
  • In addition to evictions that were primarily motivated by state policy, there were and are also expulsions that are primarily economically motivated in the context of large-scale changes in land use. Examples are large dam projects , more recently in the People's Republic of China and Turkey , open-cast mines (such as East Germany or the Ville ) and the construction of large farms in areas with traditional economic forms, such as Indonesia . The authorities are by no means always willing and able to provide residents who have to give way to these projects with adequate compensation and attractive new settlement areas.

Escape is the disorderly, sometimes panic retreat from an enemy, aggressor, danger or catastrophe. Often both terms are used together - in the phrase “flight and displacement”. In Germany and Austria , the term “expulsion” is associated in everyday life primarily with the flight, expulsion and forced resettlement of Germans from the eastern regions of the German Reich and from the Sudetenland , which came under the administration of the People's Republic of Poland after the Second World War as a result of an Allied agreement and the Soviet Union fell or became part of Czechoslovakia again.

In the Soviet occupation zone and in the GDRresettlers ” was the official name. The term "displaced" was avoided.

Expulsions in ancient times

The Babylonian exile is the epoch of the history of Israel, the 598 BC. Began with the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and continued until the conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. Lasted by the Persian king Cyrus II . A large part of the population, especially the upper class, was exiled or deported to Babylon and forcibly resettled there.

One of the best-known expulsions in the Roman Empire was the expulsion of the Jews from Palestine after the suppression of the Bar Kochba uprising from 132 to 135 AD.

The early Christians were the victims of fatal persecution in the Imperium Romanum, but not of expulsions, with the exception of their expulsion from Judea as a Jewish sect (see Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ).

Expulsions in the Middle Ages

  • Expulsion of Jews through pogroms in numerous countries as well as of other religious or ethnic minorities, Huguenots , Cathars , so-called heretics by the Church ( Waldensians , Cathars, etc.), Muslims in areas affected by the Crusades etc .; often these expulsions were combined with mass murders .
  • Charlemagne (747 / 748–814):
    • Resettlement of Frisians inland for better control
    • Expulsion of the Saxons from Ostholstein around 811, when he left this to the Slavic Wagriern allied in the subjugation of the Saxons .
  • Friedrich I , called "Barbarossa":
    • 1162 Expulsion of the residents of Milan from their city, which they were not allowed to enter and rebuild for many years.

Expulsions in modern times (up to the beginning of the 20th century)

Expulsions during and after the First World War

  • Turkey : Displacement and genocide of numerous Armenians and Greeks in 1915. The Armenians were accused of infidelity to the Ottoman Empire . Several hundred thousand people were murdered or displaced.
  • Second Polish Republic : 1918/19 to 1939, around 1.5 million Germans left the mixed settlement areas that had become Polish under the Versailles Treaty (including in the Polish Corridor ), with large numbers of Germans and Poles moving from their previous place of residence to the state of their choice in Upper Silesia pulled.
    • The members of the fourth Aliyah (1924–1932) fled the persecution of the Jews in the re-established Poland to Palestine (Michael Wolffsohn). He doesn't give any numbers.
  • North Schleswig : emigration of approx. 12,000 Germans from 1920, only partially as a result of expulsion. In Denmark, the Germans could continue to cultivate their culture, there they can to this day.
  • Alsace-Lorraine : Expulsion of approx. 132,000 Germans after 1918. The French introduced a classification system: Germans who moved in after 1871 (lowest of four levels) were basically expelled. Around 200,000 people had to move to Germany. About half of them were able to return to Alsace-Lorraine in the months that followed after US President Woodrow Wilson put pressure on the government in Paris.
  • Memelland : Expulsion of approx. 16,000 Germans after 1923 by the Lithuanian state .
  • Greece and Turkey: Persecution of the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire 1914–1923 and expulsion of the respective minorities as a result of the First World War and the Greco-Turkish War . At the beginning of 1920, several hundred thousand people were resettled and mostly displaced, about three times as many Greeks as Turks. The evictions were accompanied by numerous massacres . It was the first extensive " population exchange " agreed between two states in world history. It was part of the Lausanne Treaty .

Displacements before and during World War II

Forced resettlement of Poles from the Wartheland by National Socialist Germany (1939)
"Most generous resettlement campaign in world history", propaganda poster for the colonization of the Warthegau

The expulsion of much of the Jewish Germans by increasingly strict forms of disenfranchisement and persecution since the takeover of the National Socialists in 1933 was a stepping stone to the extermination of the Jews from the Nazi point of view " final solution " from 1941; Both the individual experience from the point of view of the victims (compulsion to go into exile ) and the expulsion of entire groups of intellectuals , artists (e.g. filmmakers or “ Silent Voices - the expulsion of the 'Jews' from the opera ) are spoken of 1933 to 1945 ”( traveling exhibition )), doctors or lawyers and others through legislation and measures in business or private life.

In 1939, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini agreed on the resettlement of the South Tyroleans, the so-called option . South Tyroleans were forced to choose between giving up their homeland and giving up their German language and culture. Those who wanted to keep their nationality had to leave South Tyrol . Under the influence of the intensive propaganda of the two dictators , around 86 percent decided to leave their homeland. About 75,000 then actually left South Tyrol, little more than 20,000 returned after the end of the war;

In 1939 Hitler and Mussolini also agreed to relocate the Gottscheers from their homeland in the south of what is now Slovenia, which has been inhabited for 600 years , as part of the intended division of Yugoslavia into German and Italian spheres of interest . Under considerable propagandistic pressure, after the occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, 12,000 of the 13,000 Gottscheers opted for the option of resettlement in the "Ranner Triangle" area of Lower Styria south of the Sava around Brežice .

The measures of National Socialist race, metropolitan area, settlement and population policy included large-scale planning and resettlement projects prior to and during the war against the Soviet Union . There were brutal expulsions, deportations , massacres and obligations to perform forced labor in other areas too, especially after the German-Soviet non-aggression pact . The resettlement of Germans from areas under Soviet rule, in particular from Estonia and Latvia as well as from Bessarabia , as agreed by Hitler and Stalin in 1939, stands in this context ; Most of them were settled in Polish areas (southern West Prussia, Posener Land or Warthegau , and occasionally in other parts of Poland).

The deportations under Soviet rule, including in the Baltic States in 1940, as well as the dissolution of the Volga Republic of the German minority as an ethnic risk bearer and the resettlement of its residents to Kazakhstan and other parts of the Soviet Union after the German attack in 1941, were parallel phenomena to the German forced settlement from before wholly or partially Polish territories after around 650,000 Poles were expelled from their West Prussian homeland to the so-called General Government in 1941. Another expulsion campaign affected 110,000 Poles in the area of ​​the south-east Polish city of Zamość , the Zamość campaign . Responsible for the expulsion of Poles on the German side was the Umwandererzentralstelle ("Office for Resettlement of Poles and Jews"), for the utilization of the property left behind, the Main Trustee East or the "Treuhandstelle für den Generalgouvernement" and for the resettlement of ethnic Germans under the Propaganda term " Heim ins Reich " the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle .

The General Plan East , the basis of the measures in Poland, was the project worked out by the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) of the SS in 1941 and 1942 , after the extermination of the European Jews, other races (especially Slavic peoples ) that the National Socialists described as "inferior" slowly moved to Eastern Russia and drive out Siberia . The prerequisite was the victory against the Soviet Union. The International Military Tribunal ("Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal") clearly assessed and punished these evictions as war crimes and crimes against humanity in the SS Race and Settlement Main Office trial . The resettlements were also punished as a violation of the Hague Land Warfare Regulations (see expulsion and international law ).

Expulsion of the Germans from 1945 to 1950

Refugee trek across the Curonian Lagoon in 1945

In the final phase of the Second World War and after its end, 12 to 14 million Germans were expelled from the eastern regions of the German Empire as well as German-speaking residents from East Central , Eastern and Southeastern Europe . These expulsions were a consequence of the Nazi tyranny and war crimes during the Nazi era . In contrast to the Potsdam Agreement , which the three victorious powers USA , Soviet Union and Great Britain concluded on August 2, 1945, the expulsion was neither orderly nor humane: it was accompanied by looting, forced labor and killings, in which up to 2 , 5 million Germans were killed. The number of victims is highly controversial. Most of the expellees settled in the Federal Republic of Germany, where they were recognized as expellees . They founded their own party, the All-German Bloc / Federation of Expellees and Disenfranchised , which was active until the 1960s. The young Federal Republic faced major challenges in integrating the displaced.

Further evictions during and after the Second World War

At about the same time as the expulsion of Germans from parts of Eastern Europe, especially from the eastern regions of the empire, further expulsions or ethnic cleansing took place in East Central Europe, for example between Poland and the Soviet Ukraine , of Hungarians living in Slovakia and others.

  • The expulsions in Finland / Karelia . In the early 1940s, the Finnish Karelians were expelled twice. First after Finland's defeat in the Soviet-Finnish winter war , then - after their return in 1941 - again in 1944 with the reconquest of Karelia by the Soviet Union. The expulsion of the Karelians was not made up for symbolically either; Karelia is still divided between Russia and Finland.
  • The forced relocation of peoples in the Soviet Union who were seen as politically unreliable by Josef Stalin's government, especially in the first half of the 1940s. This includes the deportation of the Volga Germans , Chechens, Ingush, Crimean Tatars , Ingermanland Finns , Meshes , Koreans ( Korjo-Saram ), Pontic Greeks , Kurds and many Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians. All of these peoples were deported within the Soviet sphere of influence. The Crimean Tatars succeeded in rehabilitation at the end of the 1980s, and a large part of them returned to the Crimea. The Polish ethnic group in Lithuania, western Belarus and western Ukraine (often imprecisely referred to as " Eastern Poland " in German literature ) was partly deported to the east (Central Asia), partly expelled to the west (Poland) in 1945/46, and partly was able to remain in their homeland. Most of the Volga Germans moved from their assigned places of residence in Siberia and Central Asia to Germany as repatriates or late repatriates since the 1980s .
  • In 1944, Greek troops drove a large part of the Çamen ( Albanians ) collectively to Albania, with many victims among the population according to Albanian representations.
  • The resettlement or expulsion of around 1.2 million Poles in the years 1944 to 1946 from the Polish eastern provinces affiliated to the Soviet Union in the years 1919/20 to 1939 to Poland and to the German eastern areas that were de facto affiliated to Poland after the war .
  • Resettlement of approx. 150,000 Ukrainians from south-east Poland to the formerly German areas in north-west Poland , in the “Aktion Weichsel”.
  • Venezia Giulia ( Istria , Fiume / Rijeka and Dalmatia ): Between 1943 and 1954 tens of thousands of ethnic Italians were expelled from Venezia Giulia and expropriated. There is various information about the number of those affected, from approx. 200,000 to 350,000. Between 5,000 and 21,000 fell victim to the Foibe massacres . Since 2005, a memorial day has been held annually in Italy on February 10th to commemorate the victims of the Foibe massacre and the Esuli (displaced persons). Under the Treaty of Rome (1983) , the former Yugoslavia committed to providing US $ 110 million in compensation payments to the Italian refugees and their property left behind. Of this, around 17 million had been paid out by 1991. The successor states Slovenia and Croatia agreed to distribute the remaining debt of 93 million among themselves in a ratio of 60 to 40. Slovenia has assumed around 56 million liabilities, Croatia 37 million. Slovenia paid its share into an account at Dresdner Bank in Luxembourg in 2002. The Italian government refused to accept this payment as legal. For its part, Croatia has offered to pay its own debt.
  • Slovakia : Around 720,000 ethnic Hungarians ( Magyars ) lived in southern Slovakia until 1945 . Like the Sudeten and Carpathian Germans, they were expropriated by the Beneš decrees in 1945. About 30,000 Hungarians left Czechoslovakia immediately after the war. As part of the population exchange, 73,000 Slovaks from Hungary moved to Czechoslovakia and around 70,000 to 90,000 Hungarians from Slovak regions moved to villages where Danube Swabians had previously lived. The resettlement of the Slovaks took place on a voluntary basis, the Hungarians were largely relocated involuntarily. The Hungarians in Slovakia lived in unlawful frameworks from 1945 to the beginning of the 1950s, and a few thousand to ten thousand were involuntarily resettled in areas that Germans had to leave in the Sudetenland. Today around 500,000 Hungarians live in Slovakia. The Beneš decrees are still controversial in Hungarian-Slovak relations.
  • Overcrowded refugee train, Punjab, India 1947
    India : When independence from Great Britain was achieved in 1947/48 and Pakistan and the Indian Union were established, millions of Sikhs , Hindus and Muslims were expelled from the areas mostly populated by members of the other religious community. This brutal “population exchange” affected between 14 and 15 million people. A little over seven million Muslims were expelled from India to Pakistan, and roughly the same number of Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan to India.
  • During the Palestine War (1948/49), 472,000 to 650,000 Palestinians fled their homes or were expelled. It is unclear what proportion of refugees and displaced persons are. More than 850,000 Jews were simultaneously expelled from their homeland in the Arab states. Most of them emigrated to Israel (around 500,000), some also to France or the USA. The majority of the Palestinians went to Jordan, others to Lebanon, Syria and the then Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip. Another important haven in the Arab world was Kuwait . Another expulsion of the Palestinians took place immediately after the Second Gulf War , when Kuwait expelled around 450,000 Palestinians within two weeks.
  • GDR : Forced resettlement in the 1950s within the country from the western border to the interior of the country, see Action Verziefer .
  • Chagos Archipelago : Forced relocation of the entire local population, the Chagossians , in 1971. The reason was the lease of the main island of Diego Garcia by Great Britain to the US Air Force .
  • Cyprus : After the Turkish intervention in Northern Cyprus on July 20, 1974, several thousand Greek Cypriots were expelled to the southern part of the island.
  • Yugoslavia : The expulsions known as ethnic cleansing during the Yugoslav wars from 1991 to 1995. During the First World War, there had been expulsions in what was later to become Yugoslavia.
  • Other evictions occurred in Africa . As a result of the Darfur conflict , which has been going on since 2003 , over 2.5 million people have been displaced.

Displacement and International Law

Expulsions are contrary to international law . They were already outlawed in natural law in the 18th century. Among other things, they violate the Hague Land Warfare Regulations of 1907, the ban on collective expulsions, the right of peoples to self-determination and the right to property. Displacements are often associated with expropriations. But even eviction without expropriation would violate the property rights of the displaced because that right includes the right to use. A displaced person can no longer use his real estate.

To the extent that expulsions affect a sufficiently clearly defined group and are carried out with the intention of destroying this group as such in whole or in part, they also constitute genocide as defined in the UN Convention of 1948.

The Statute of the International Criminal Court defines displacement as a crime against humanity .

In an expert report prepared in 1991 on behalf of the Bavarian state government, the UN international law advisor Felix Ermacora judged the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans to be genocide. The majority of international lawyers do not share Ermacor's views. Christian Tomuschat , for example, writes : "[...] despite the seriousness of the acts, there can be no talk of a targeted overall genocide campaign." The terms "genocide" and "genocide" were used by expellee officials "as moral weapons (instead of legal-political Tools) ”is used to“ level the qualitative differences between Allied / Czechoslovakian and National Socialist German politics ”. The results of the investigation by the experts commissioned by the EU Jochen Frowein , Ulf Bernitz and Christopher Lord Kingsland , published on October 2, 2002, do not support Ermacora's assessment either.

Norman M. Naimark is of the opinion that the actions in the expulsion of around 15 million Germans from their settlement areas in Central and Eastern Europe, especially from Poland and Czechoslovakia, had all the elements of ethnic cleansing . The criterion for differentiating between ethnic cleansing and genocide is the intention to kill, whereby ethnic cleansing can turn into genocide if mass murder is committed in order to "cleanse" the country of a people. The expulsion of the Germans was carried out with extreme brutality and violence, but it was not the intention of the Czechoslovak and Polish governments to kill the German population.

Displacement losses

Displacement losses are divided into three categories:

  1. Loss of life and limb (cf. overall survey ),
  2. Material losses and economic damage,
  3. Idea and cultural losses.

These three loss categories regularly affect three groups:

  1. The displaced population,
  2. The receiving population and
  3. The newly settled population (whose political representatives regularly led to the displacement).

The losses of the displaced population are obvious. But the receiving population also often has to suffer from displacement, at least in the short term. The famine of the post-war period in Germany ( hunger winter 1946/47 ) was massively exacerbated by the forced admission of millions of displaced persons, including for the local population.

For the new population, too, the displacement often does not represent any real gain, as they have often come to this area involuntarily, either through economic coercion or through displacement from other areas. In addition, there is often a fear among the new population that the displaced population will return to the land, so that there is little inclination to secure long-term locations.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

After a non-representative study , which is based on the analysis of 600 reports and interviews of displaced persons and refugees generation of World War II, following disturbances were noted: "They suffer, for example, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, nervousness, nightmares, are from recurring Images of terrible experiences tormented. "

The political debate on the concept of displacement since 1950

Postage stamp (1955) : Ten years of displacement in 1945
Postage stamp (1965): Twenty years of displacement
Signpost at Elmshorn train station (2009)

In the German-speaking area, the term denotes, in a narrowed sense, the expulsion and flight of German-speaking populations from border areas with non-uniform population histories or isolated predominantly German-speaking areas in the formerly German eastern areas, Poland, today's Czech Republic and other states in Eastern Europe after the end of the Second World War.

The term expulsion or displaced person did not gain acceptance until the end of the 1940s and only became the official, legally fixed term for this process ( displaced persons ) or those affected by it in the Federal Republic of Germany . Until then, forcibly resettled Germans were not conceptually differentiated from the totality of refugees (see Displaced Persons ), and sometimes - as in later National Socialist parlance - referred to as "evacuees".

The use and exact meaning of the term expulsion have been controversial in Germany since the late 1980s, as the delimitation between (violent) displacement and (non-violent) emigration was increasingly questioned. By some politicians and publicists, the thesis was set up, the concept of expulsion denote merely a form of forced migration and come mainly as a German loan word in international research (in English expulsion or expellees ), while outside Germany otherwise rather deportees or refugees ( refugees ) is spoken. In addition, there was the confrontation of the Cold War , because in those nations that caused the Germans to flee and expel from 1944/1945 onwards, terms that were more trivialized, such as the Czech word Odsun (German: “Deportation by removal”) and the term transfer ("Transfer"). Even within Germany, the term expulsion and expellee was not always taken for granted. Indeed, initially the term “escape” and “refugee” prevailed, and in the Soviet occupation zone and in the GDR the terms “ resettlers ” or “former resettlers” and “new citizens” were used specifically . In 1950 there were about 4.3 million people there.

An independent designation of this group as “expellees” was, according to the objection, less justified by evident facts than it was owed more to the logic of legal and political expediency: On the one hand, due to their German citizenship (in the case of expellees from the former German eastern regions and from the Sudetenland) or as ethnic Germans - a different legal status than non-German deportees and refugees. On the other hand, the choice of this term offered several politically and socially desirable options: It created a distance between German deportees and those deported by the Germans - Jews, Poles, Czechs, Russians, etc. In this way, it enabled a victim discourse in the Federal Republic that was profound Confrontation with National Socialism made more difficult.

Some leading representatives of the German expellees, namely the chairman of the Silesian Landsmannschaft, Herbert Hupka , and the president of the Federation of Expellees , Wenzel Jaksch (Hupka until after 1970, Jaksch until his death), were Social Democrats . The SPD represented the interests of the German expellees until about 1964 in the same way as the CDU and CSU . In particular, for years the SPD was convinced that not only the expulsion itself was a crime, but that any recognition of the Oder-Neisse line as the new German-Polish border would have to be assessed as a political injustice. In this context, Willy Brandt , Herbert Wehner and Erich Ollenhauer's appeal for the Silesians' meeting in Germany in 1963 , which is often quoted later, is also related : “ Renunciation is treason, who would deny it? 100 years of the SPD means 100 years of struggle for the right of peoples to self-determination . The right to a homeland can not sell off for a mess of pottage you. Compatriots who have been driven out of their homes or who have fled their homes should never be rubbish! “However, this policy of the SPD changed from around 1965, when the new Ostpolitik was developed. In his government declaration of 1969, Willy Brandt openly indicated his willingness to recognize the Oder-Neisse line as the German-Polish border.

In the 1950s, the conceptual distinction between “normal” deportees and German expellees made it easier to maintain the demand for a revision of the Oder-Neisse line . The demand for this revision served not least to integrate the expellees into West German post-war politics. The aim was to prevent the expellees from turning to an even greater extent to parties in which former National Socialists gathered at the time, such as the SRP , the DP , and the All-German Bloc / Federation of Expellees and Disenfranchised.

The Federal Constitutional Court has, however, represented a different legal opinion: After the areas were east of the Oder and Neisse either by the decisions of the Potsdam Conference in July / August 1945 or by the Warsaw Treaty of 1970 international law effective from Germany as a whole separately. From this point of view of constitutional and international law, the 1950s and 1960s were not about German territorial claims against Poland, but rather controversial Polish territorial claims from the past against Germany.

In the GDR, on the other hand, the forcibly resettled people were referred to as resettlers , a group-specific special status in social law was given in particular in the distribution of expropriated areas during the land reform of 1946 and in the "Law for the Further Improvement of the Situation of Former Resettlers in the German Democratic Republic" of September 8th Fixed in 1950, but in contrast to the long-term law on expellees in the Federal Republic of Germany only remained relevant until the early 1950s. In addition, as early as 1950 in the Görlitz Agreement , the GDR recognized the Oder-Neisse Line as a "peace border" between the GDR and Poland. All parties represented in the Bundestag, with the exception of the KPD , filed for legal custody against this act and described it as "null and void".

Contemporary research differentiates between successive events of flight, displacement and forced relocation. Today some historians refer to the phenomenon referred to as forced migration . This linguistic usage is based on the formulation of the then Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker , who in his speech on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war on May 8, 1985, described the expulsion of the Germans as "forced migration".

However, in view of its anchoring in the public (not only German) consciousness - also from the point of view of the political left - it is practically impossible to completely drop the concept of displacement. It seems more desirable to classify the concept of displacement in the overall context of forced resettlement in the 20th century, as it has been increasingly done in recent times. Long debates about terms have the effect of pushing politically sensitive questions such as the number of murders and rapes in this event to the edge of the discussion.

In addition, the political left seems fruitful to attempt to view displacement and any form of forced migration in the context of general migration. Allegedly, a clear distinction between forced resettlement, flight and “voluntary” migration can often not be made.

On the other hand, recent studies on the integration of displaced persons allegedly show that the way in which displaced persons are treated and behaved show more parallels than differences to other migrant groups. Concrete differences, such as the demands made by the German expellees to this day to clarify the fate of several hundred thousand missing persons, right of return, right of home, return of property and recognition of their fate as a crime against humanity within the meaning of the statutes of the International Court of Justice of Nuremberg , according to this point of view, should not hide the great parallels between German “forced migrants” and foreign immigrants in Germany. Nevertheless - according to this point of view - the specifics of forced migration will still have to be taken into account.

The expulsions in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo in the 1990s have pushed this German discussion back into the background. The belief that displacement and migration are two fundamentally different things regained the upper hand. Linked to this was the return to the concept of displacement defined at the beginning. Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder declared in his greeting on the Day of Homeland in Stuttgart on September 5, 1999: "Every act of expulsion, no matter how different the historical background may be, is a crime against humanity ."

Peter Glotz quoted Roman Herzog in 2001 :

“No injustice, however great it may have been, justifies other injustices. Crimes are crimes even if they have been preceded by other crimes. "

On the other hand, there are very controversial perspectives in Polish politics. While Władysław Bartoszewski publicly described the expulsion of the Germans as an injustice in his former function as Foreign Minister in the German Bundestag on April 28, 1995, the opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski , who failed in his re-election and was defeated by Donald Tusk , said that “Germany 100 percent I am to blame for my own fate as a displaced person ”. It was only after the political change in 1988/89 that the issue of expulsion of Germans could be openly discussed in the Polish public and researched by historians without political influence. Since then, the expulsion has been dealt with historically in numerous publications and as a result, has been discussed controversially in a socio-political debate to this day.


Web links

Wiktionary: Expulsion  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Displaced person  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. ^ Philipp Ther: German and Polish expellees. Society and policy of expellees in the Soviet occupation zone / GDR and in Poland 1945–1956 , Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-525-35790-7 , p. 99.
  2. ^ Philipp Ther: German and Polish expellees. Society and displaced persons policy in the Soviet Zone / GDR and in Poland 1945–1956 , Göttingen 1998, p. 36.
  3. Figures in part from Population-Ploetz: Space and Population in World History, Volume 4: Population and Space in Modern and Modern Times. Ploetz, Würzburg 1965.
  4. South Tyrol until 1945 , website of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol, Department for Communication. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  5. Karl Stuhlpfarrer: Resettlement South Tyrol. On the foreign policy and national politics of German fascism 1939 to 1945 , Vienna 1983.
  6. Both figures come from an official Polish source from 2004.
  7. Lost homes, ethnic flight and expulsion in the XX. Century ( MS PowerPoint ; 2.3 MB), Maria Cristina Berger and Adriano Ceschia, Goethe-Institut .
  8. Lucio Toth: How did the foibe come about? The massacres in Venezia Giulia and Dalmatia (1943–1950). In: Istituto Italiano di Cultura (ed.), Foibe: dal silenzio politico alla verita storica , p. 15 .
  9. ^ "Progress Report" of the United Nations Mediator for Palestine, handed over to the Secretary General for forwarding to the member states of the United Nations; Official Reports of the General Assembly: Third Session, Supplement No. 11 (A 648), Paris 1948, p. 47; Supplement No. 11a (A 698 and A 689), Add. 1, p. 5.
  10. ^ Angry welcome for Palestinian in Kuwait , BBC News, May 30, 2001.
  11. See, for example, Emer de Vattel , The Law of Nations - Principles of the Law of Nature: Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (translated from the French), Philadelphia 1856 (Dublin 1792), Book II: Of the Nations considered relatively to others. § 90 .
  12. Statute of the International Criminal Court, Art. 7 Para. 1 lit. d (PDF; 223 kB)
  13. ^ Fritz Peter Habel, Documents on the Sudeten Question. Unfinished business . 5th, completely revised edition, Langen Müller, Munich 2003, pp. 923–926: Legal opinion by international lawyer Prof. Felix Ermacora: Die Sudetendeutschenfragen , August 22, 1991.
  14. Excerpt from the report on the website of the Felix Ermacora Institute ( Memento from December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  15. WDR: Expulsion Crimes Against Humanity ( Memento from December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF).
  16. Quoted from Stefanie Mayer: “Dead injustice”? The “Beneš Decrees”. A historical-political debate in Austria. Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. M. 2009, ISBN 978-3-631-58270-1 , p. 120 .
  17. European Parliament - Working Paper: Legal opinion on the Beneš-Decrees and the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union (PDF).
  18. ^ Norman M. Naimark: Strategic Arguments: The expulsion of about 15 million Germans from their settlement areas in Central and Eastern Europe did not happen with the intention of genocide; but especially in Poland and Czechoslovakia the actions showed all the elements of ethnic cleansing; Does the fate of the Germans after the Second World War now justify the establishment of a center against the expulsions? , Article published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , January 21, 2004, p. 7.
  19. Quotation from the article Psychiatrists: “Time does not heal all wounds.” In: Lübecker Nachrichten of May 8, 2010, p. 3. Interview with psychiatrist Christoph Muhtz at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.
  20. Speech by Peter Glotz 2001
  21. ^ German Bundestag: Commemoration of the end of the Second World War and the Nazi tyranny , speech of April 28, 1995.
  22. Kaczynski against a compromise on displacement ( memento from March 28, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), Polen-Rundschau.de, January 8, 2008.
  23. ^ Andreas Mix: Long shadows: Dealing with the Second World War and its consequences in Poland and Germany , Federal Agency for Civic Education / bpb, March 23, 2009.
  24. Claudia Kraft : The current discussion on flight and displacement in Polish historiography and the public , in: Zeitgeschichte-online , topic: The memory of flight and displacement , January 2004.
  25. ^ ISGV eV: This pain remains (CD) ( Memento from November 11, 2014 in the Internet Archive )