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The Holocaust History Project.
The Holocaust History Project.

Displaced Persons Camps


Hi, I am a senior in college, working on a history thesis paper. I am writing about the Displaced Persons camps and am having a lot of trouble finding specific information on the individual camps. Perhaps you have some ideas on how I can go about this research. Thank you.

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

Thank you for your query addressed to the Holocaust History Project. I apologize for the delay in responding but we have been swamped with requests.

I am one of the persons that responds to such queries. You may get other responses from our membership.

Presumably you are seeking information on the camps established by the Allies for displaced persons after World War II. There is a wealth of information published on the subject but if you were to be a bit more specific as to what you are seeking, we might be able to give you considerable assistance.

A few titles picked off of my library shelves might help get you started:

  • Germany 1947-1949: The Story In Documents
    The Department of State
    Publication 3556
    1950, U.S. Government Printing Office

    The chapter on "Population Adjustments" pages 118/146, covers the following topics:

    • German Prisoners of War: Release and repatriation (pp. 118-122)

    • Repatriation of Soviet citizens from U.S. Zone: Exchange of notes, February 24 and March 3, 1949. [...] (p. 124)

    • Displaced persons: Repatriation and resettlement U.S. Policy directive on movement of persons: JCS 1779, par 13, July 11, 1947. [...]

    • United Nations displaced persons and persons assimilated in status thereto

    • Constitution of the International Refugeee Organization (excerpts) effective August 20 1948 (p. 127) Agreement between the International Refugee Organization and U.S. occupation authorities, July 28, 1947 (p. 131)

    • Admission of displaced persons to the United States.

    • Displaced Persons Act of 1948 (Public Law 774, 80th Congress, 2nd Session) June 25, 1948. (p.137)

    • U.S. definition of term "Germanic ethnic origin" March 30, 1949 (p. 142)

    • Allied reserve powers in the field of displaced persons and admission of refugees: Occupation Statute, April 8, 1949. [...]

    • Status of displaced persons population in U.S. occupied area.

    • Cumulative emigration and number remaining, July 1949. Chart from report of Miltary Governor (p. 143)

    • Status report by month, April 30, 1948 - April 30, 1949: Table (p. 145)

    • Status report as of April 30, 1949: Table (p. 145

    • Expelees: Statement on Military Government approval of law concerning reception and integration of German expelees, January 24, 1947. (p. 146)

  • Decision in Germany
    Lucius D. Clay
    c. 1950, Doubleday & Company (New York)

    General Clay dedicates a number of pages to the issue of displaced persons and expelees.

  • The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany 1944-1946
    Earl F. Ziemke
    1975, Center of Military History Publication 30-6
    United States Army
    United States Government Printing Office
    L.O.C. Catalog Card Number 75-619027

    This book has considerable information on the subject. It covers interesting aspects such as:

    The DP Flood Begins

    In January 1945, the twenty-nine Poles in the camp at Barnd were the only displaced persons held by SHAEF in Germany. On 31 March, the army groups reported 145,000 on hand in centers and 45,000 shipped out to France, Belgium , the Netherlands, and Luxemburg ... Many thousands more had not reported to the centers or had not yet been evacuated from the division areas.

    The index covers the following subjects:

    Displaced persons:
    		behavior of...
    		and black market...
    		branch in SHAEF...
    		camps for...
    		control of...
    		and crime...
    		in final offensive...
    		forced repatriation of...
    		influx to Germany...
    		Negotiations with Soviet Union on...
    		in 'Overlord' plan...
    		rations for...
    		repatriation, Polish...
    		repatriation, Soviet...
    		repatriation, Western European...
    		SHAEF estimates on...
    		SHAEF policy on...
    		teams for...
    		Western European...
    		Yalta Agreement on...
    Displaced Persons Executive (DPX)...

  • Come as a Conqueror: The United States Army's Occupation of Germany 1945-
    Franklin M. Davis Jr.,
    c. 1967, The Macmillan Company (New York)
    L.O.C. Catalog Card No. 67-10682

    General Davis writes an anecdotal history of the occupation which dedicates a number of pages to the question of displaced persons.

As you can see from the above sampling, the subject is vast. There are books covering statistics, personal observations, criticisms, treatment, emigration, etc. Please let us know more precisely what you are seeking.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE


I would like to know more information about the german "Displaced Person" camps. Can you look up more info for this certain topic? Thanks.

Yale F. Edeiken answers:

I am one of the volunteers who aswers questions for The Holocaust History Organization. The Third Reich did not maintain "displaced persons" camps. These were established after the war by the victorious allies and, I assume, that you are asking about them rather than concentration camps.

The displaced persons camps were not well operated and an investigation was ordered by President Truman into their practices. This resulted in the "Harrison Report" which would be an excellent starting point for research on these camps.

There is an excellent book America and the Survivors of the Holocaust Leonard Dinnerstein (Columbia University Press; 1982) which publishes the entire Harrison Report as an appendix. It also contains a wealth of information including facts and figures about the camps and the eventual fate of the inmates.

I hope this gives you a good start in your research.

Yale F. Edeiken
The Holocaust History Project

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