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Encyclopedia > World War II evacuation and expulsion

World War II evacuation and expulsion refers to forced deportation, mass evacuation and displacement of peoples spurred on by the hostilities between Axis and Allied powers, and the border changes enacted in the post-war settlement.


The crisis in former Axis-occupied territories after liberation provided the context for much of the new international refugee and human rights architecture that survives today.

Contents


Europe

Deportation of Jews

After the September Campaign Western pre-WWII Polish territories were incorporated in the German Reich The area was subdivided into three Regierungsbezirke ("administrative districts") – Poznań, Inowrocław, and Łódź. On September 1, 1939, it had 390,000 Jews (including 4,500 in Poznań, 54,090 in Inowrocław, and 326,000 in the Łódź district – 233,000 in the city of Łódź). Like all Polish areas incorporated into the Reich, Wartheland was from the beginning designated to become judenrein (Reinhard Heydrich's "Schnellbrief" of September 21, 1939). In a secret order to the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt – Reich Security Main Office) and the high SS and police officials, issued on October 30, 1939, Heinrich Himmler fixed the period of November 1939 - February 1940 for clearing the incorporated areas of their entire Jewish population and the majority of their Polish population as well. A similar decree was issued on November 4, 1939, by Wartheland's Gauleiter Arthur Greiser. Arrangements were made for the transfer of 100,000 Jews from its territory during this period. In fact, more than 50 Jewish communities were deported wholly or in part to the Lublin district between the Fall of 1939 and May 1940; the larger communities among those deported were Poznań, Kalisz, Ciechocinek, Gniezno, Inowrocław, Nieszawa, and Konin. Polish Defence War of 1939 Conflict World War II Date 1 September - 6 October 1939 Place Poland Result Decisive German and Soviet victory The Polish September Campaign (alternatively refered to as the German plan Fall Weiss) refers to the conquest of Poland by the armies of Nazi Germany and the... Combatants Allies: • Soviet Union, • UK & Commonwealth, • USA, • France/Free France, • China, • Poland, • ...and others Axis: • Germany, • Japan, • Italy, • ...and others Casualties Military dead: 18 million Civilian dead: 33 million Full list Military dead: 7 million Civilian dead: 4 million Full list World War II, also known as the Second World... (help· info) (), is the German word for realm or empire, cognate with Scandinavian rike and Dutch rijk. ... Motto: none Voivodship Greater Poland Municipal government Rada miasta Poznania Mayor Ryszard Grobelny Area 261,3 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 578 900 (2002) 850 000 2215/km² Founded City rights 8th century 1253 Latitude Longitude 52°1734 N - 52°3027 N 16°4408 E - 17°04... Motto: brak Voivodship Kuyavian-Pomeranian (Kujawsko-Pomorskie) President Ryszard Brejza Area 34,02 km² Coordinates -Latitude -Longitude 52°40 E 18°16 N Population 1970 - 54 900 1980 - 66 100 1990 - 77 700 2000 - 79 400 2004 - 77 647 InowrocÅ‚aws Website InowrocÅ‚aw is a town in northern... Łódź (pronunciation: ), the second-largest city (population 776,297 in 2004) of Poland, lies in the centre of the country. ... September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Motto: none Voivodship Greater Poland Municipal government Rada miasta Poznania Mayor Ryszard Grobelny Area 261,3 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 578 900 (2002) 850 000 2215/km² Founded City rights 8th century 1253 Latitude Longitude 52°1734 N - 52°3027 N 16°4408 E - 17°04... Motto: brak Voivodship Kuyavian-Pomeranian (Kujawsko-Pomorskie) President Ryszard Brejza Area 34,02 km² Coordinates -Latitude -Longitude 52°40 E 18°16 N Population 1970 - 54 900 1980 - 66 100 1990 - 77 700 2000 - 79 400 2004 - 77 647 InowrocÅ‚aws Website InowrocÅ‚aw is a town in northern... Łódź (pronunciation: ), the second-largest city (population 776,297 in 2004) of Poland, lies in the centre of the country. ... Reichsgau Wartheland (initially Reichsgau Posen) was the name given by Nazis to the territory of Greater Poland which was occupied, annexed and directly incorporated into the German Reich after defeating the Polish army in 1939 (as opposed to the General Government, GG). ... The term ethnic cleansing refers to various policies of forcibly removing people of another ethnic group. ... Reinhard Heydrich as SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (March 7, 1904 – June 4, 1942) was an SS-Obergruppenführer, chief of the Reich Main Security Office, and Reich governor of Bohemia and Moravia. ... September 21 is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... RSHA, or the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, was a subsidiary organization of the SS created by Heinrich Himmler on September 22, 1939, through the merger of the Sicherheitsdienst, the Gestapo and the Kriminalpolizei. ... SS or ss or Ss may be: The Schutzstaffel, a Nazi paramilitary force Steamship (SS) (ship prefix) The United States Secret Service A submarine not powered by nuclear energy (SS) (United States Navy designator), see SSN A Soviet/Russian surface-to-surface missile, as listed by NATO reporting name Shortstop... October 30 is the 303rd day of the year (304th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 62 days remaining. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... (help· info) (October 7, 1900 – May 23, 1945) was the commander of the German Schutzstaffel (SS) and one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... November 4 is the 308th day of the year (309th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 57 days remaining. ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Reichsgau Wartheland (initially Reichsgau Posen) was the name given by Nazis to the territory of Greater Poland which was occupied, annexed and directly incorporated into the German Reich after defeating the Polish army in 1939 (as opposed to the General Government, GG). ... Arthur Greiser (born January 22, 1897, in Schroda, Province of Posen, West Prussia (Środa, Poland); executed July 14, 1946, at Poznan, Poland) was a Nazi German politician . ... Lublin (pronounce: [lublin]) is the biggest city in eastern Poland and the capital of Lublin Voivodship with a population of 355,954 (2004). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... Motto: none Voivodship Greater Poland Municipal government Rada miasta Poznania Mayor Ryszard Grobelny Area 261,3 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 578 900 (2002) 850 000 2215/km² Founded City rights 8th century 1253 Latitude Longitude 52°1734 N - 52°3027 N 16°4408 E - 17°04... Motto: MÅ‚ode Duchem Najstarsze Miasto w Polsce Voivodship Greater Poland Municipal government Rada Miejska Kalisz Mayor Janusz PÄ™cherz Area 69 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 109 000 - -/km² Founded City rights - - Latitude Longitude 51°45 N 18°04 E Area code +48 62 Car plates PK Twin towns... Motto: none Voivodship Greater Poland Municipal government Mayor Jaromir Dziel Area 40,9 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 71 040 none 1737/km² Founded City rights 8th century 1239 Latitude Longitude 52°32 N 17°36 E Area code +48 61 Car plates PGN Twin towns Anagni, Esztergom, Falkenberg, Saint... Motto: brak Voivodship Kuyavian-Pomeranian (Kujawsko-Pomorskie) President Ryszard Brejza Area 34,02 km² Coordinates -Latitude -Longitude 52°40 E 18°16 N Population 1970 - 54 900 1980 - 66 100 1990 - 77 700 2000 - 79 400 2004 - 77 647 InowrocÅ‚aws Website InowrocÅ‚aw is a town in northern... Konin can refer to Emperor Konin of Japan, the 49th emperor of Japan. ...


In some towns the deportation was carried out in stages, with a small number of Jews remaining, engaged in work for the Nazi authorities. In some instances, the regime of terror drove the Jews to desperation, so that they chose "voluntary" exile. This happened in Lipno and in Kalisz, where many Jews, unable to withstand the persecution, fled from the city in October and November 1939. In Łódź, over ten thousand Jews, including most of the Jewish intelligentsia, were deported in December 1939. For weeks the deportees were kept at assembly points, and had to supply their own means of subsistence, though they had been deprived of all their valuables. Large assembly points were located at Kalisz, Sieradz, and Łódź. There, the "Selektion" ("selection") took place in which able-bodied men, aged 14 and over, were sent to labor camps which had been established in the meantime, while women, children, and old men were deported in sealed freight cars to the Lublin and Kielce areas. This occurred in the severe winter of 1939-1940, and upon arrival at their destination, some of the deportees were dead, others nearly frozen, or otherwise seriously ill. The survivors were bereft of clothing, food, and money. A few found refuge with relatives or friends, but most of them had to find places in the crowded synagogues and poorhouses. For the Jewish communities of the Lublin and Radom districts, the influx of deportees was a very heavy burden. Most of the deportees perished before mass deportation began. Motto: MÅ‚ode Duchem Najstarsze Miasto w Polsce Voivodship Greater Poland Municipal government Rada Miejska Kalisz Mayor Janusz PÄ™cherz Area 69 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 109 000 - -/km² Founded City rights - - Latitude Longitude 51°45 N 18°04 E Area code +48 62 Car plates PK Twin towns... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Łódź (pronunciation: ), the second-largest city (population 776,297 in 2004) of Poland, lies in the centre of the country. ... Motto: MÅ‚ode Duchem Najstarsze Miasto w Polsce Voivodship Greater Poland Municipal government Rada Miejska Kalisz Mayor Janusz PÄ™cherz Area 69 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 109 000 - -/km² Founded City rights - - Latitude Longitude 51°45 N 18°04 E Area code +48 62 Car plates PK Twin towns... Coat of Arms of Sieradz Sieradz is a town on Warta river in central Poland with 44,700 inhabitants (1995). ... Łódź (pronunciation: ), the second-largest city (population 776,297 in 2004) of Poland, lies in the centre of the country. ... Lublin (pronounce: [lublin]) is the biggest city in eastern Poland and the capital of Lublin Voivodship with a population of 355,954 (2004). ... Kielce (pronounce: [ˈkjεlʦε]) is a city in central Poland with 210,311 inhabitants (2004). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... Lublin (pronounce: [lublin]) is the biggest city in eastern Poland and the capital of Lublin Voivodship with a population of 355,954 (2004). ... Motto: none Voivodship Masovian Municipal government Rada miejska Radomia Mayor ZdzisÅ‚aw Marcinkowski Area 111,7 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 227 309 - 2047/km² Founded City rights - - Latitude Longitude 51°24 N 21°10 E Area code +48 48 Car plates WR Twin towns Homyel (Belarus), Ternopil (Ukraine), Ploie...


Deportation of Poles

Note: treatment of Poles of Jewish descent is covered in a separate section

The Germanization of the annexed lands also included an ambitious program to resettle Germans from the Baltic and other regions on farms and other homes formerly occupied by Poles and Jews. The action started in the summer of 1939 with mass arrest and confiscation of property of Polish minority in Germany. Following the Polish Defensive War and the occupation of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, mass expulsions started in various parts of the country. 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Polish September Campaign Conflict World War II Date 1 September - 6 October 1939 Place Poland Result Decisive German and Soviet victory The Polish September Campaign — also known as Polish-German War of 1939, in Poland often as Wojna obronna 1939 roku (Defensive War of 1939), in Germany as Polish Campaign...


Since October of 1939, the Wehrmacht, SS and other Nazi organisations began to expel Poles and Jews from the Wartheland, Pomerania and other parts of Poland directly incorporated into Nazi Germany. The modus operandi was similar for all areas: the German officials used to surround a village or a town and announce that in certain amount of time (usually between 15 minutes and 1 hour) all the non-German inhabitants are to pack their personal belongings (usually no more than 15 kilograms per person), clean the house and leave it with the doors open and all the keys on the table. Then the civillians were rounded up and transported to transfer camps, from where they were usually deported to various final train stations within the so-called General Government. By the end of 1940, the German authorities had expelled approximately 325,000 people without warning. Their property was either confiscated by the authorities and sent to Germany or given to German settlers. Wehrmacht â–¶ (help· info) was the name of the armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... SS or ss or Ss may be: The Schutzstaffel, a Nazi paramilitary force Steamship (SS) (ship prefix) The United States Secret Service A submarine not powered by nuclear energy (SS) (United States Navy designator), see SSN A Soviet/Russian surface-to-surface missile, as listed by NATO reporting name Shortstop... Reichsgau Wartheland (initially Reichsgau Posen) was the name given by Nazis to the territory of Greater Poland which was occupied, annexed and directly incorporated into the German Reich after defeating the Polish army in 1939 (as opposed to the General Government, GG). ... Historic Western Pomerania (outlined in yellow) on the background of modern country borders. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... The General Government (in full General government for the occupied Polish areas, in German Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete) was the name given by Germany to the governing authority in Poland after its occupation by the Wehrmacht in September and October 1939. ...


Many elderly people and children died en route or in makeshift transit camps such as those in the towns of Potulice, Smukal, and Toruń. In 1941, the Germans expelled 45,000 more people, but they scaled back the program after the invasion of the Soviet Union in late June 1941. Trains used for resettlement were more urgently needed to transport soldiers and supplies to the front. However, the resettlement of Poles of all denominations continued, mostly in Silesia and the area of Żywiec, from where 19,000 people were deported in October of 1940. ToruÅ„ (pronounce: [], Kashubian: TorÅ„, German: Thorn, see also other names) is a city in northern Poland, on the Vistula river. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1941 calendar). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1941 calendar). ... Prussian Silesia, 1871, outlined in yellow; Silesia at the close of the Seven Years War in 1763, outlined in cyan (areas now in Czech Republic were Austrian-ruled at that time) Silesia (-Latin, Polish: ÅšlÄ…sk, German: Schlesien, Czech: Slezsko) is a historical region in central Europe. ... Å»ywiec is a town in southern Poland with 32,300 inhabitants (2001). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ...


At the same time Nazi Germany faced the problem of Germans forcibly resettled from parts of Romania annexed by the Soviet Union. As most of the gauleiters of the Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany refused to accept large number of reffugees, on July 15, 1942 Odilo Globocnik announced that the area of Zamość was planned as a place of settlement of Transilvanian Germans. The city of Zamość itself was to be renamed Himmlerstadt and become a part of the Reich. Although the name shift did not succeed, the expulsions of Poles and other nationalities proceeded as planned. Until 1943 more than 116,000 people were expelled from their homes. A Gauleiter was the party leader of a regional branch of the NSDAP (more commonly known as the Nazi Party) or the head of a Gau or of a Reichsgau. ... July 15 is the 196th day (197th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 169 days remaining. ... This article is about the year. ... Odilo Globocnik Odilo Globocnik (April 21, 1904 - May 31, 1945) was a prominent Austrian Nazi and later an SS leader. ... Zamość is a town in southeastern Poland with 66,633 inhabitants (2004), situated in the Lublin Voivodship (since 1999), previously capital of Zamość Voivodship (1975–1998). ... Transylvania (Romanian: Transilvania or Ardeal, Hungarian: Erdély, German: Siebenbürgen, Serbian: Transilvanija, Turkish: Erdel, Slovak: Sedmohradsko or Transylvania, Polish: Siedmiogród) is a historic region that forms the western and the central parts of Romania. ... Zamość is a town in southeastern Poland with 66,633 inhabitants (2004), situated in the Lublin Voivodship (since 1999), previously capital of Zamość Voivodship (1975–1998). ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ...


Altogether, during the German occupation of Poland, it is estimated that between 1,6 and 2 millions of people were expelled from their homes during the 1939-1944 period. This number does not include millions of people arrested by the Germans and sent to German concentration camps. According to Czesław Łuczak, the number could be broken down as follows: 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... See also the related article on Nazi concentration camps The following is a list of German concentration camps during World War II. are marked with pink, while major concentration camps of are marked with blue. ...

  • Wartheland - 630,000 people
  • Silesia - 80,000
  • Pomerania - 124,000 (the number is disputed by prof. Bogdan Chrzanowski who sees it at ca. 140,000)
  • Białystok and Ciechanów areas - 50,000 - 54,000
  • Zamość - 116,000
  • Warsaw - between 450,000 and 500,000

In addition, several hundred thousands of people were expelled by the local administration, outside of the official expulsions or were caught in łapankas and sent to Germany as slave workers. Reichsgau Wartheland (initially Reichsgau Posen) was the name given by Nazis to the territory of Greater Poland which was occupied, annexed and directly incorporated into the German Reich after defeating the Polish army in 1939 (as opposed to the General Government, GG). ... Prussian Silesia, 1871, outlined in yellow; Silesia at the close of the Seven Years War in 1763, outlined in cyan (areas now in Czech Republic were Austrian-ruled at that time) Silesia (-Latin, Polish: ÅšlÄ…sk, German: Schlesien, Czech: Slezsko) is a historical region in central Europe. ... Historic Western Pomerania (outlined in yellow) on the background of modern country borders. ... Motto: none Voivodship Podlasie Municipal government Rada miejska BiaÅ‚egostoku Mayor Ryszard Tur Area 94 km² Population  - city  - urban  - density 295 000 (01. ... Ciechanów coat of arms Ciechanów (pronounced (IPA): [tÉ•exanuv]) is a town in north-central Poland with 47,900 inhabitants (2002). ... Zamość is a town in southeastern Poland with 66,633 inhabitants (2004), situated in the Lublin Voivodship (since 1999), previously capital of Zamość Voivodship (1975–1998). ... Warsaw (Polish Warszawa, (?), in full The Capital City of Warsaw, Polish: Miasto StoÅ‚eczne Warszawa) is the capital of Poland and its largest city. ... Łapanka (literally Catching game) was a nick-name applied to the German policy in occupied Poland during World War II. In Å‚apankas the forces of SS, Wehrmacht and Gestapo rounded up civilians on the streets of Polish cities and took all of them as prisoners. ...


Deportation of Germans and Others

In May 1945, over 40 million displaced people were estimated to be in Europe, excluding Germans who fled the advancing Soviet armies in the east and foreign forced labourers in Germany itself. There were also some 13 million ethnic Germans who were expelled from the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, pre-war German territory and other European countries (see German expulsions). The expulsion of Germans after World War II refers to the mass deportation of people considered Germans (both Reichsdeutsche and Volksdeutsche) from Soviet-occupied areas outside of the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, and is one major part of the German exodus from Eastern Europe after World War II. The...


Another nearly 11.5 million forced labourers and displaced persons were found in the territory of the former German Reich, millions of Polish, Ukrainian and Russian people who had been taken to Germany to work in labour camps.


Asia

The Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 sparked a lasting refugee crisis, which in many respects persisted until the final resolution of the Chinese Civil War. The broadening of the conflict beyond the Chinese theatre did however spark a wider refugee problem in the post war period.


Jewish Resettlement in Palestine

The Holocaust and its aftermath left millions of refugees, including many Jews who had lost most or all of their family members and possessions, and often faced persistent anti-Semitism in their home countries. The need to find a homeland for the Jewish refugees led to many of them fervently joining the Zionist movement. Many Zionists, pointing to the fact that Jewish refugees from Germany and Nazi-occupied lands had been turned away by other countries, argued that if a Jewish state had existed at the time, the Holocaust could not have occurred on the scale it did. The sudden rapid growth of Zionism and the post-Holocaust displacement resulted in the emigration of a great many Jews to Palestine, about 25% of which became the modern State of Israel soon after. Palestine (Hebrew: פלשתינה Palestina, Arabic: فلسطين Filastīn or Falastīn, see also Canaan, Land of Israel) is one of many historical names for the region between the Mediterranean Sea and the banks of the Jordan River, plus various adjoining lands to the east and south. ...


The development refugee organisations

The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administrationwas set up in 1943, to provide humanitarian relief to the vast numbers of potential and existing refugees in areas facing Allied liberation. UNRRA provided billions of US dollars of rehabilitation aid, and helped about 8 million refugees. It ceased operations in Europe in 1947, and in Asia in 1949, upon which it ceased to exist. It was replaced in 1947 by the International Refugee Organization (IRO), which in turn evolved into United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) in 1950. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was founded in 1943 to provide relief to areas liberated from Axis powers. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ... The International Refugee Organization (IRO) was founded in 1946 to deal with the massive refugee problem created by World War II. It was a United Nations specialized agency and took over many of the functions of the earlier United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. ... Headquartereded in Geneva, Switzerland, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (established December 14, 1950) protects and supports refugees at the request of a government or the United Nations and assists in their return or resettlement. ...


External links

  • Poles: Victims of the Nazi Era (USHMM)
  • The Expulsion of the Citizens of Skierbieszów

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