Global entanglements Europe: "Displacement and Resettlement of Ethnic Germans: a contested group outside of IRO mandate?"

Navigating Germanness and Exile
Ethnic German Expellees between DP Policies, Ethnonational Claims, and Refugee Agency in post-war Austria

The classification as “ethnic German” had a homogenising function that served governmental actors and international institutions to insert the thus classified refugees into a national frame and to keep them there for the sake of administrative clarity. The expellees’ self-proclaimed representatives equally sought to bind them to a regionally defined German Heimat community and to prevent the social fragmentation of their desired Volksgruppe. The project aims to break from these long-living groupness claims by confronting the social and class distinctions that shaped the expellees’ own approach to their ethnic Germanness. It seeks to focus on the former inhabitants of one locality and on how different social backgrounds created the possibility for a wide spectrum of possible life trajectories. These trajectories are expected to range from expellees who emphasised their Germanness by trying to “re-create” their lost hometowns to those that tried to break with their origins, those who never fully identified as Germans or those who exhibited a pragmatic approach to national identity.

Pauli Aro