At the end of the Second World War, some 12 million German refugees and expellees fled or were expelled from their homelands in Eastern and Central Europe into what remained of the former Reich. The task of integrating these dispossessed refugees and expellees in post-war Germany was one of the most daunting challenges facing the Allied occupying authorities after 1945. The early post-war years witnessed the publication of many works on the refugee problem in the German Federal Republic (FRG). This book explores the origins of the refugee problem and shows that the flight and expulsion of the refugees and expellees from their homelands from 1944 onwards was a direct consequence of National Socialist policies. It outlines the appalling conditions under which the expulsions were carried out. The book then examines the immensity of the refugee problem in the Western Occupation Zones in economic and social terms. An analysis of the relations between the refugee and native populations in the Western Occupation Zones of Germany in the period 1945-1950 follows. The book also focuses on the attitude of the political parties towards the refugees and expellees in the early post-war years and analyses the newcomers' voting behaviour up to 1950. It argues that while economic and political integration had been largely accomplished by the late 1960s, social integration turned out to be a more protracted process. Finally, the book examines political radicalisation: despite disturbances in refugee camps in 1948-1949 and the emergence of expellee trek associations in 1951-1952.

Allwood 06 24/2/10 6 10:31 Page 152 Refugee women and NGOs This chapter begins from the hypothesis that refugee women, politically active in their countries of origin, will be motivated to participate in their country of destination, but that their opportunities to participate may be constrained by institutional/organisational, social and cultural barriers. It highlights refugee women’s agency, countering the perception that they are passive victims, and describes their individual motivation and resources, and their experiences of NGO participation. As

in Refugee women in Britain and France

Allwood 04 24/2/10 4 10:29 Page 96 Refugee women in France In France, as in other EU states, the spotlight on asylum issues and the country’s diverse refugee communities has increased over the past 15 years. This focus on refugee migration and asylum rights is due to several factors; for example, the expansion in numbers of those seeking asylum in France and the fact that many of them arrive from zones of conflict and disaster (Kosovo, Chechnya, Rwanda, DRC, Iraq and others) where traumatic events and acts of extreme violence impact severely on their basic

in Refugee women in Britain and France

Allwood 03 24/2/10 3 10:28 Page 73 Refugee women in Britain Research that focuses on the lives of refugee women in Britain is recent: one of the first studies of their specific needs and experiences was published in 1996 (Ahmed 1996). Such research is important in identifying and raising awareness of experiences of asylum which may differ from the assumed male norm. Whilst they share the difficulties all asylum seekers face in Britain, women asylum seekers experience additional problems often overlooked by policy-makers (Dumper 2002a: 20). Research on the

in Refugee women in Britain and France

This book is about the lives of refugee women in Britain and France. Who are they? Where do they come from? What happens to them when they arrive, while they wait for a decision on their claim for asylum, and after the decision, whether positive or negative? The book shows how laws and processes designed to meet the needs of men fleeing political persecution often fail to protect women from persecution in their home countries and fail to meet their needs during and after the decision-making process. It portrays refugee women as resilient, resourceful and potentially active participants in British and French social, political and cultural life. The book exposes the obstacles that make active participation difficult.

4 Refugees and political parties, 1945–50 Introduction Historians and political scientists have so far devoted little attention to the refugees’ impact on political life in the Western Occupation Zones of Germany. This is surprising since the newcomers undoubtedly represented an important factor in post-war West German politics simply by dint of their numerical strength. They made up some 16 per cent of the West German electorate at the first Bundestag Election held in August 1949, while in Schleswig-Holstein, the state most severely affected by the refugee

in Refugees and expellees in post-war Germany

1 The origins of the refugee problem German settlements in Eastern and Central Europe Even before the end of the Second World War, German refugees and expellees began to flood into Central Europe from the eastern territories of the Reich. Many of those who fled or were expelled from their homelands in Eastern Europe from 1944 onwards were the descendants of German settlers who had arrived as early as the twelfth century. Some of the earliest recorded settlements took place in Silesia and the Carpathian mountains where the political elites encouraged the

in Refugees and expellees in post-war Germany

3 Relations between the refugee and native populations, 1945–50 Introduction German politicians have been apt to play down the difficulties involved in integrating the refugees and expellees into West German society since the Second World War. In particular, they have tended to portray the relations between the native and refugee populations in an excessively rosy light. For example, Hans Schütz, an influential CSU politician until the late 1960s who also played a leading role in the Sudeten German Homeland Society (Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft), asserted in

in Refugees and expellees in post-war Germany

Allwood 05 24/2/10 5 10:30 Page 129 Refugees, gender and citizenship in Britain and France This chapter explores the question of citizenship-building processes in relation to women asylum seekers and refugees and their civic participation not only in discrete refugee women’s community associations or organisations (RCOs) but also in (longer established) migrant women’s community associations.1 Its aim is fourfold: first, it discusses the relationship between the question of citizenship, refugee women and their associations; second, it presents an overview

in Refugee women in Britain and France

5 The integration of the refugees into (West) Germany after 1950 Introduction Chapters 1–4 have demonstrated the immensity of the refugee problem in the Western Occupation Zones of Germany during the early post-war years showing, in particular, the acute material hardship that many newcomers suffered after their flight or expulsion to the West. While the general food situation had improved by 1950, many refugees continued to live in squalid housing conditions and unemployment remained a major issue in the early years of the Bundesrepublik, especially in Bavaria

in Refugees and expellees in post-war Germany