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Notes:

  • According to the national census figures the percentage of ethnic Germans in the total population was: Poland 2.3%; Czechoslovakia 22.3%; Hungary 5.5%; Romania 4.1% and Yugoslavia 3.6%.[32]
  • The West German figures are the base used to estimate losses in the expulsions.[26]
  • The West German figure for Poland is broken out as 939,000 monolingual German and 432,000 bi-lingual Polish/German.[33]
  • The West German figure for Poland includes 60,000 in Zaolzie which was annexed by Poland in 1938. In the 1930 census, this region was included in the Czechoslovak population.[33]
  • A West German analysis of the wartime Deutsche Volksliste by Alfred Bohmann (de) put the number of Polish nationals in the Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany who identified themselves as German at 709,500 plus 1,846,000 Poles who were considered candidates for Germanisation. In addition, there were 63,000 Volksdeutsch in the General Government.[34] Martin Broszat cited a document with different Volksliste figures 1,001,000 were identified as Germans and 1,761,000 candidates for Germanisation.[35] The figures for the Deutsche Volksliste exclude ethnic Germans resettled in Poland during the war.
  • The national census figures for Germans include German-speaking Jews. Poland (7,000)[36] Czech territory not including Slovakia (75,000)[37] Hungary 10,000,[38] Yugoslavia (10,000)[39]
Refugee treks, Curonian Lagoon, northern East Prussia, March 1945

Different situations emerged in northern East Prus

Different situations emerged in northern East Prussia regarding Königsberg (renamed Kaliningrad) and the adjacent Memel territory around Memel (Klaipėda). The Königsberg area of East Prussia was annexed by the Soviet Union, becoming an exclave of the Russian Soviet Republic. Memel was integrated into the Lithuanian Soviet Republic. Many Germans were evacuated from East Prussia and the Memel territory by Nazi authorities during Operation Hannibal or fled in panic as the Red Army approached. The remaining Germans were conscripted for forced labour. Ethnic Russians and the families of military staff were settled in the area. In June 1946, 114,070 Germans and 41,029 Soviet citizens were registered as living in the Kaliningrad Oblast, with an unknown number of unregistered Germans ignored. Between June 1945 and 1947, roughly half a million Germans were expelled.[192] Between 24 August and 26 October 1948, 21 transports with a total of 42,094 Germans left the Kaliningrad Oblast for the Soviet Occupation Zone. The last remaining Germans were expelled between November 1949[102] (1,401 people) and January 1950 (7).[193] Thousands of German children, called the "wolf children", had been left orphaned and unattended or died with their parents during the harsh winter without food. Between 1945–47, around 600,000 Soviet citizens settled in the oblast.[192]

Yugoslavia

Before World War II, roughly 500,000 German-speaking people (mostly Danube Swabians) lived in Yugoslavia.[102][194] Most fled during the war or emigrated after 1950, thanks to the "displaced persons" act (of 1948); some were able to emigrate to the United States. During the final months of World War II a majority of the ethnic Germans fled Yugoslavia with the retreating Nazi forces.[195]

After the liberation, Yugoslav Partisans exacted revenge on ethnic Germans for the wartime atroci

Before World War II, roughly 500,000 German-speaking people (mostly Danube Swabians) lived in Yugoslavia.[102][194] Most fled during the war or emigrated after 1950, thanks to the "displaced persons" act (of 1948); some were able to emigrate to the United States. During the final months of World War II a majority of the ethnic Germans fled Yugoslavia with the retreating Nazi forces.[195]

After the liberation, Yugoslav Partisans exacted revenge on ethnic Germans for the wartime atrocities of Nazi Germany, in which many ethnic Germans had participated, especially in the Banat<

After the liberation, Yugoslav Partisans exacted revenge on ethnic Germans for the wartime atrocities of Nazi Germany, in which many ethnic Germans had participated, especially in the Banat area of Serbia. The approximately 200,000 ethnic Germans remaining in Yugoslavia suffered persecution and sustained personal and economic losses. About 7,000 were killed as local populations and partisans took revenge for German wartime atrocities.[102][196] From 1945-48 ethnic Germans were held in labour camps where about 50,000 perished.[196] Those surviving were allowed to emigrate to Germany after 1948.[196]

According to West German figures in late 1944 the Soviets transported 27,000 to 30,000 ethnic Germans, a majority of whom were women aged 18 to 35, to Ukraine and the Donbass for forced labour; about 20% (5,683) were reported dead or missing.[102][196][197] Data from Russian archives published in 2001, based on an actual enumeration, put the number of German civilians deported from Yugoslavia to the USSR in early 1945 for reparations labour at 12,579, where 16% (1,994) died.[198] After March 1945, a second phase began in which ethnic Germans were massed into villages such as Gakowa and Kruševlje that were converted into labour camps. All furniture was removed, straw placed on the floor, and the expellees housed like animals under military guard, with minimal food and rampant, untreated disease. Families were divided into the unfit women, old, and children, and those fit for slave labour. A total of 166,970 ethnic Germans were interned, and 48,447 (29%) perished.[101] The camp system was shut down in March 1948.[199]

In Slovenia, the ethnic German population at the end of World War II was concentrated in Slovenian Styria, more precisely in Maribor, Celje, and a few other smaller towns (like Ptuj and Dravograd), and in the rural area around Apače on the Austrian border. The second-largest ethnic German community in Slovenia was the predominantly rural Gottschee County around Kočevje in Lower Carniola, south of Ljubljana. Smaller numbers of ethnic Germans also lived in Ljubljana and in some western villages in the Prekmurje region. In 1931, the total number of ethnic Germans in Slovenia was around 28,000: around half of them lived in Styria and in Prekmurje, while the other half lived in the Gottschee County and in Ljubljana. In April 1941, southern Slovenia was occupied by Italian troops. By early 1942, ethnic Germans from Gottschee/Kočevje were forcefully transferred to German-occupied Styria by the new German authorities. Most resettled to the Posavje region (a territory along the Sava river between the towns of Brežice and Litija), from where around 50,000 Slovenes had been expelled. Gottschee Germans were generally unhappy about their forced transfer from their historical home region. One reason was that the agricultural value of their new area of settlement was perceived as much lower than the Gottschee area. As German forces retreated before the Yugoslav Partisans, most ethnic Germans fled with them in fear of reprisals. By May 1945, only a few Germans remained, mostly in the Styrian towns of Maribor and Celje. The Liberation Front of the Slovenian People expelled most of the remainder after it seized complete control in the region in May 1945.[199]

The Yugoslavs set up internment camps at Sterntal and Teharje. The government nationalized their property on a "decision on the transition of enemy property into state ownership, on state administration over the property of absent people, and on sequestration of property forcibly appropriated by occupation authorities" of 21 November 1944 by the Presidency of the Anti-Fascist Council for the People's Liberation of Yugoslavia.[199][200]

After March 1945, ethnic Germans were placed in so-called "village camps".[201] Separate camps existed for those able to work and for those who were not. In the latter camps, containing mainly children and the elderly, the mortality rate was about 50%. Most of the children under 14 were then placed in state-run homes, where conditions were better, though the German language was banned. These children were later given to Yugoslav families, and not all German parents seeking to reclaim their children in the 1950s were successful.[199]

West German government figures from 1958 put the death toll at 135,800 civilians.[202] A recent study published by the ethnic Germans of Yugoslavia based on an actual enumeration has revised the death toll down to about 58,000. A total of 48,447 people had died in the camps; 7,199 were shot by partisans, and another 1,994 perished in Soviet labour camps.[203] Those Germans still considered Yugoslav citizens were employed in industry or the military, but could buy themselves free of Yugoslav citizenship for the equivalent of three months' salary. By 1950, 150,000 of the Germans from Yugoslavia were classified as "expelled" in Germany, another 150,000 in Austria, 10,000 in the United States, and 3,000 in France.[199] According to West German figures 82,000 ethnic Germans remained in Yugoslavia in 1950.[110] After 1950, most emigrated to Germany or were assimilated into the local population.[187]

The population of Kehl (12,000 people), on the east bank of the Rhine opposite Strasbourg, fled and was evacuated in the course of the Liberation of France, on 23 November 1944.[204] French forces occupied the town in March 1945 and prevented the inhabitants from returning until 1953.[204][205]

Latin America

Fearing a Nazi Fifth Column, between 1941 and 1945 the US government facilitated the expulsion of 4,058 German citizens from 15 Latin American countries to internment camps in Texas and Louisiana. Subsequent investigations showed many of the internees to be harmless, and three-quarters of them were returned to Germany during the war in exchange for citizens of the Americas, while the remainder returned to their homes in Latin America.[206]

Palestine

At the st

At the start of World War II, colonists with German citizenship were rounded up by the British and sent, together with Italian and Hungarian enemy aliens, to internment camps in Waldheim and Bethlehem of Galilee. 661 Templers were deported to Australia via Egypt on 31 July 1941, leaving 345 in Palestine. Internment continued in Tatura, Victoria, Australia, until 1946–47. In 1962 the State of Israel paid 54 million Deutsche Marks in compensation to property owners whose assets were nationalized.

Human lossesEstimates of total deaths of German civilians in the flight and expulsions, including Forced labour of Germans in the Soviet Union, range from 500,000 to a maximum of 3.0 million people.[207] Although the German government's official estimate of deaths due to the flight and expulsions has stood at 2 million since the 1960s, the publication in 1987-89 of previously classified West German studies has led some historians to the conclusion that the actual number was much lower – in the range of 500,000 to 600,000. English language sources have put the death toll at 2 to 3 million based on the West German government figures from the 1960s.[208][209][210][211][212][213][214][215][216][217]

West German government estimates of the death toll

  • In 1950 the West German Government made a preliminary estimate of 3.0 million missing people (1.5 million in prewar Germany and 1.5 million in Eastern Europe) whose fat

    The West German figure of 2 million deaths in the flight and expulsions was widely accepted by historians in the West prior to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War.[208][209][210][211][212][217][225][214][226][227] The recent disclosure of the German Federal Archives study and the Search Service figures have caused some scholars in Germany and Poland to question the validity of the figure of 2 million deaths; they estimate the actual total at 500–600,000.[228][229][230]

    The German government continues to maintain that the figure of 2 million deaths is correct.[231] The issue of the "expellees" has been a contentious one in German politics, with the Federation of Expellees staunchly defending the higher figure.[232]

    Analysis by Rüdiger Overmans

    In 2000 the German historian Rüdiger Overmans published a study of German military casualties; his research project did not investigate civilian expulsion deaths.[233] In 1994, Overmans provided a critical analysis of the previous studies by the German government which he believes are unreliable. Overmans maintains that the studies of expulsion deaths by the German government lack adequate support; he maintains that there are more arguments for the lower figures than for the higher figures. ("Letztlich sprechen also mehr Argumente für die niedrigere als für die höhere Zahl.")[207]

    In a 2006 interview, Overmans maintained that new research is needed to clarify the fate of those reported as missing.[234] He found the 1965 figures of the Search Service to be unreliable because they include non-Germans; the figures according to Overmans include military deaths; the numbers of surviving people, natural deaths and births after the war in Eastern Europe are unreliable because the Communist governments in Eastern Europe did not extend full cooperation to West German efforts to trace people in Eastern Europe; the reports given by eyewitnesses surveyed are not reliable in all cases. In particular, Overmans maintains that the figure of 1.9 million missing people was based on incomplete information and is unreliable.[235] Overmans found the 1958 demographic study to be unreliable because it inflated the figures of ethnic German deaths by including missing people of doubtful German ethnic identity who survived the war in Eastern Europe; the figures of military deaths is understated; the numbers of surviving people, natural deaths and births after the war in Eastern Europe are unreliable because the Communist governments in Eastern Europe did not extend full cooperation to West German efforts to trace people in Eastern Europe.[207]

    Overmans maintains that the 600,000 deaths found by the German Federal Archives in 1974 is only a rough estimate of those killed, not a definitive figure. He pointed out that some deaths were not reported because there were no surviving eyewitnesses of the events; also there was no estimate of losses in Hungary, Romania and the USSR.[236]

    Overmans conducted a research project that studied the casualties of the German military during the war and found that the previous estimate of 4.3 million dead and missing, especially in the final stages of the war, was about one million short of the actual toll. In his study Overmans researched only military deaths; his project did not investigate civilian expulsion deaths; he merely noted the difference between the 2.2 million dead estimated in the 1958 demographic study, of which 500,000 have so far have been verified.[237] He found that German military deaths from areas in Eastern Europe were about 1.444 million, and thus 334,000 higher than the 1.1 million figure in the 1958 demographic study, lacking documents available today included the figures with civilian deaths. Overmans believes this will reduce the number of civilian deaths in the expulsions. Overmans further pointed out that the 2.225 million number estimated by the 1958 study would imply that the casualty rate among the expellees was equal to or higher than that of the military, which he found implausible.[238]

    Analysis by historian Ingo Haar

    In 2006, Haar called into question the validity of the official government figure of 2 million expulsion deaths in an article in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.[239] Since then Haar has published three ar

    The German government continues to maintain that the figure of 2 million deaths is correct.[231] The issue of the "expellees" has been a contentious one in German politics, with the Federation of Expellees staunchly defending the higher figure.[232]

    In 2000 the German historian Rüdiger Overmans published a study of German military casualties; his research project did not investigate civilian expulsion deaths.[233] In 1994, Overmans provided a critical analysis of the previous studies by the German government which he believes are unreliable. Overmans maintains that the studies of expulsion deaths by the German government lack adequate support; he maintains that there are more arguments for the lower figures than for the higher figures. ("Letztlich sprechen also mehr Argumente für die niedrigere als für die höhere Zahl.")[207]

    In a 2006 interview, Overmans maintained that new research is needed to clarify the fate of those reported as missing.[234] He found the 1965 figures of the Search Service to be unreliable because they include non-Germans; the figures according to Overmans include military deaths; the numbers of surviving people, natural deaths and births after the war in Eastern Europ

    In a 2006 interview, Overmans maintained that new research is needed to clarify the fate of those reported as missing.[234] He found the 1965 figures of the Search Service to be unreliable because they include non-Germans; the figures according to Overmans include military deaths; the numbers of surviving people, natural deaths and births after the war in Eastern Europe are unreliable because the Communist governments in Eastern Europe did not extend full cooperation to West German efforts to trace people in Eastern Europe; the reports given by eyewitnesses surveyed are not reliable in all cases. In particular, Overmans maintains that the figure of 1.9 million missing people was based on incomplete information and is unreliable.[235] Overmans found the 1958 demographic study to be unreliable because it inflated the figures of ethnic German deaths by including missing people of doubtful German ethnic identity who survived the war in Eastern Europe; the figures of military deaths is understated; the numbers of surviving people, natural deaths and births after the war in Eastern Europe are unreliable because the Communist governments in Eastern Europe did not extend full cooperation to West German efforts to trace people in Eastern Europe.[207]