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Since 2011, a growing international network of experts has been working towards an increased awareness of research on displaced persons amongst historians. The initiative was launched on the occasion of the workshop “Dimensions of Research on Displaced Persons” which took place in the Polish town of Słubice in 2011. As a follow-up event, the conference “Dimensions of Research on Displaced Persons II” was held at the Akademiezentrum Sankelmark near Flensburg.

A multitude of research methods and topics currently being dealt with by the network members reflects the diversity of the people and nationalities behind the term “displaced persons” (DPs), coined by the Allies during the Second World War:

  • Critical reflections on the term “displaced persons”
  • Research on specific nationalities amongst DPs
  • Individual camp histories
  • Relations between DPs, military governments and international relief agencies
  • Relations between DPs and German society after World War II
  • The fate of repatriates
  • DPs in the French Zone of Occupation in Germany, a topic on which little research
    has been done to date
  • The integration of so-called “Heimatlose Ausländer” into German society after
  • Research on DPs outside the Western German Zones of Occupation, e.g. in
    Denmark, Austria or Argentina
  • The history of immigrant associations for former DPs around the globe
  • Children and adolescents amongst DPs
  • DPs as students and scientists
  • The architectural history of synagogues in DP camps
  • Artistic representations and individual processing of the experiences of former
  • Depictions of DPs in films
  • Raising public awareness of the subject of DPs
  • Integration of the subject of DPs into curricula for students

The network plans to organise further workshops in order to stimulate research on DPs. This will include the publication of recent and future conference papers.


The “Network for Research on Displaced Persons” is hosted by the website of the Department of Eastern European History at the University of Bonn. In the past, the department has repeatedly launched projects and offered courses on the history of both forced labour under German rule during World War II and displaced persons. It was furthermore involved in the organisation of the conference “Dimensions of Research on Displaced Persons II”. This forms an ideal background for the establishment of the network. We look forward to a successful cooperation.

Translation: Christian Höschler