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Ben Shephard - The Long Road Home

After World War Two ended, there were still lots of people who were not where they wanted to be, where they were supposed to be or were in a situation where they would still be killed in short order if they did not move.

Situation was complex from denizens of concentration camps and Germans trying to surrender to Western Allies to returning prisoners of war and people Nazis had moved to German Reich. French and other Western European laborers Nazis had forced to work for the Third Reich trying to return to their homes; Soviets wanting their people back (even if many of them were later imprisoned or executed for not fighting Nazis hard enough); Allies trying to find children Nazis had taken from their parents and given to "Aryan" families to raise (who had been so young they regarded their foster parents as their real ones); Separatists like Ukrainian nationalists trying to flee Soviet-controlled areas; Sudeten Germans exiled because of their association with Nazism; Former Governments in Exile trying to return; Former White Russians trying to avoid deportation to Soviet Union; SS troopers with no civilian skills looking for mercenary work; And Nazis trying to hide and flee.

Western Allies were also worried that the Nazis' "Werewolf" plan to create Anti-Allied resistance cells would become a problem (it appears to have fizzled).

The flegdling United Nations with its volunteer forces tried to help the refugees in the face of low funding and stepping on toes of various governments. Not to mention political machinations of Allies who first gave Soviet refugees back to Soviet Union as agreed (against the will of the people concerned) and then started to have reservations and not to do so. The Cold War was coming fast. USA was taking in German scientists to help their research (and absorbing some of the Nazi intelligence aparatus). And Soviets were scheming to turn their neighbors into satellite states.

Refugee acceptance and immigration did not have that much to do with humanitarian concerns and more with potential of getting more bodies in the workforce. Or at least it was spoken about in that way. Australian government calculated how many people they could take to add to their workforce.

There are several chapters devoted to Jewish efforts to create a Jewish state in what is now Israel. Zionists in refugee camps tried to finally fulfill their cherished goal about the Jewish Nation and organized, trying to move to Israel, even against official resistance. In the process also they created some guerilla groups that later ended up fighting against the British forces in Palestine.

Shephard concentrates on what happened in Europe (and Palestine). So things like resettlement of Karelians in Finland after Soviet Union annexed major part of Karelia is not included. Not to mention refugee situation in Asia where returning colonial powers (like the French in Indochina) now faced resistance.


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