LAST MILLION: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War

Book number: 92426 Product format: Hardback Author: DAVID NASAW

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Bibliophile price £3.75
Published price £29.99

Following the surrender of Germany in May 1945, the ruined nation was home to millions of homeless concentration camp survivors, POWs, slave labourers, political prisoners and Nazi collaborators in hiding. British and US forces gathered these malnourished and desperate refugees together and a huge repatriation exercise was begun. But, even after these exhaustive efforts, there remained a million displaced persons in Germany - Jews, Poles, Ukrainians and other Eastern Europeans - who had no home to go to. The Last Million would spend the next three to five years in displaced persons camps set up by nationality, with their own police, churches and synagogues, schools, hospitals and newspapers. The International Refugee Organisation, set up in 1946, arranged for many to be resettled in countries suffering from post-war labour shortages, but no nations were willing to accept the 250,000 Jewish men, women and children who remained trapped in Germany. Even when the US belatedly agreed to accept refugees, they had to demonstrate that they were reliably anti-Communist, which meant visas for plenty of Nazi collaborators and war criminals, but only 10% of the Jewish applicants, as they were suspected of being Communist sympathisers and the majority were from Russian-influenced Poland. It was not until the partition of Palestine and the formation of the state of Israel in 1948 that the remaining Jewish survivors of the war finally began to leave Germany. Acclaimed and multi-award-winning historian David Nasaw's masterwork tells the gripping and, until now, largely hidden story of post-war displacement and statelessness. People from a shattered past with an unknowable future spread all over the world carrying their wounds, fears, hopes and secrets, from innocent children to sadistic war criminals. Nasaw here illuminates their incredible history and with a profound contemporary resonance shows us that it is our history too. 654pp.

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ISBN 9781594206733

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