The Troubled Integration of Refugees in Postwar Germanies


The postwar integration of millions of expellees, who made up some 20% of West Germany’s population, is often seen as a success on par with the Economic Miracle [Wirtschaftswunder] of the 1950s. Many of those migrants spoke different German dialects and were eyed suspiciously by locals who saw themselves as the “real” Germans. The official government policy of welcoming these refugees was not enough to prevent them from being ostracized in their communities. Newcomers were often denigrated with names such as “Pollacken,” a practice that robbed them both of their “Germanness” and the attendant moral right to make claims on scarce services and goods.


  1. < German Memory Construction after 1945: Redemption of the Military
  2. West Germany/ East Germany: Who/where are the better Germans? >