The end of World War II left Europe, already heavily scarred by loss and destruction, with a multitude of people who had been deported or forced to flee their countries. In Western Germany alone there were at least 7 million individuals involved. The end result of focused original research, this volume brings to light this widely forgotten part of history. The author describes, firstly, the policies adopted by the Allies to resolve the matter of "displaced persons", from the initial repatriation plans (resisted by those who did not want to return to Eastern Europe) to the subsequent programmes for emigration towards western countries. She then illustrates the day-to-day workings of displaced persons camps, highlighting the experiences of men, women, and children who were deported or fled their homes, had to cope with the instability of their current situation, and faced the uncertainty of the future. From the material conditions of this post-WWII humanitarian emergency stems contemporary societies' approach to refugee issues and the foundations of the international refugee regime that still operates today.
Silvia Salvatici teaches History of the Modern and Contemporary World and History of Women at the University of Teramo.