“Höchst unerwünschte Ausländer”: The fate of ethnic German expellees in post-war Austria Cover Image

“Höchst unerwünschte Ausländer”: The fate of ethnic German expellees in post-war Austria
“Höchst unerwünschte Ausländer”: The fate of ethnic German expellees in post-war Austria

Author(s): Sophie-Charlotte Schippmann
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: Austria; German expellees; Heimatvertriebene; integration; post-war period; Opfermythos

Summary/Abstract: The large influx of ethnic Germans from the East into Germany at the end of the Second World War is a well-known and researched fact. However, there were also about 300.000-632.000 expellees that ended up in post-war Austria. In contrast to Germany, Austria was not required by the Potsdam Agreement to take them in and consequently advocated their deportation. It was not only the financial burden associated with the expellees but also Austria’s aim to convince the allies of the “victim myth” that motivated Austria to favour deportation over integration. Taking in ethnic German expellees would highlight Austria’s close past with Germany and could even be perceived as an acceptance of legal succession of the Third Reich. The allies initially supported Austria’s decision but except for a large number of deportations in 1946 the plan was not carried to its conclusion. Around 350.000 expellees were able to remain in Austria. However, the fact that they were not granted equal rights in all areas until 1971 shows they were not welcome in Austria for a long time.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 41
  • Page Range: 7-21
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English