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„Where should we have gone after the liberation?“ Transit stops: Displaced Persons after 1945

With this exhibit the International Tracing Service draws attention to the fates of survivors of Nazi persecution, the Holocaust and forced labor - the Allies gave these people the name “Displaced Persons”.  After their liberation, these DPs were stranded in the country of the perpetrators, where they had to be first cared for and then managed by the Allies - something which demanded a very special kind of administration.  More than ten million Displaced Pesons found themselves in Europe after 1945. Created especially for the DPs, these special camps became transit stops.  

The survivors struggled to work through the suffering they had experienced, at the same time trying to look to the future. In the DP camps they gradually developed diverse structures, which document the extraordinary will to live that these people had: from organizing their own political groups, newspapers, theaters, schools, and kindergardens, through to historical commissions which took on the task of processing the past. In the DP camps, workers in the international help organizations and the care facilities of the Allies were confronted with multiple challenges:  First and foremost, the DPs needed food, shelter, and clothing, as well as medical attention. Later, the most important task was “repatriation”: helping some of the DPs to return to their homelands and supporting more than three million DPs with their emigration. Here it was also important to identify those who had collaborated with the Nazi Regime and were now trying to misuse the aid organizations for their own means.

The exhibit consists of some 10 topic stations, in which three glass display cabinets and lecterns, two tablets, a video-station and an audio-station are integrated. They were paid for out of the “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” foundation (EVZ) and supported by an international panel of experts. The travelling exhibit is dedicated to the different aspects of DP history: in this way individual biographies and personal histories are intertwined with the strategies the Allies used at the time.

picture shows the exhibit „Where should we have gone after the liberation?

With the exhibit the ITS draws attention to the fates of survivors of Nazi persecution, the Holocaust, and forced labor.