Significant German population expelled and relocated
from Eastern Europe
Towards the end of World War I emerged the second Polish
Republic. Large areas with a German majority population
were assigned to the new Polish state. The politics of
Berlin and Warsaw was determined by mutual territorial
claims. Violent attacks between the German and the
Polish people became everyday occurence.
Due to the politics of displacement, from 1919 on many
Germans emigrated from the annexed territories to
Germany. 100,000 Germans left the eastern part of Upper
Silesia and Posen, a further 800,000 West Prussia.
In 1939, the northern and western parts of Poland, that
is, certain parts of Silesia and East Prussia as well as
new districts of Danzig-West Prussia and Wartheland were
annexed by the Greater German Reich; the eastern part of
Poland fell to the Soviet Union. In the acquired
territories German families were settled from eastern
Poland, the Baltic States, Bessarabia, Bukovina and
On 30 January 1945 the Red Army crossed the
Polish-German border and 6 million Germans had to flee
the territories east of the Oder-Neisse border. Hundreds
of thousands were forced to work in the Soviet Union.
German civilians slain by Polish residents
Already in the middle of the 12th century, the Hungarian
king Geza II invited German settlers into the country.
During the 18th century Danube Swabians were settled in
today's Hungary after withdrawal of the Turks.
They settled mainly in the fields of "Swabian Turkey" in
the Buda hills and in the Backa.
Population: 8,700,000 (1937),
of these 500,000 Germans.
On 31 October 1918 Hungary became an independent state
and had to cede around a third of its former territory
to Romania and Czechoslovakia.
Of the 500,000 Germans only 60,000 fled in the last days
of the war, 35,000 were deported to the Soviet Union
where they had to do forced labour.
From 1946 170,000 ethnic Germans were forcibly evicted,
under inhumane conditions, in the American zone to
Württemberg and 50,000 German nationals in the Russian
zone to Saxony.
About 270,000 Germans could remain in their homeland -
however, under the repression of a communist system.
Expulsion of the Hungarian Swabians
Already from 1330 on, Germans settled in the Gottschee
area near the Adriatic Sea.
The settlement in the area of today's Slovenia by
Germans was prompted mainly by the Counts of Carniola.
They brought dammers and deforestation specialists to
the Gottschee area. In the cities there were large
In the 15th century closed German communities came into
existence in the Backa and Banat.
Then in the 18th century the Danube Swabians colonized
the part of Serbian Backa north of Belgrade.
After 1945, the ethnic Germans in the Yugoslav
territories endured much suffering. Of the 500,000
Germans 135,000 perished under brutal conditions; that
is about a quarter of all residents. The people were
herded into camps and died by the thousands due to
violence, hunger and disease.
About 30,000 ethnic German men and women were
transported into the Soviet Union for forced labor.
290,000 displaced persons were deported across the
border into Austria or Hungary. Only 82,000 German
people were allowed to remain in their homeland or were
forcibly detained there.
Fleeing Germans of Backa
In the area of today's Romania the first German wave of
immigration was made up of Transylvanian Saxons who were
invited by the king of Hungary already in the 12th
century to settle and protect against eastern peoples.
In the 18th century the Danube Swabians were brought by
the Habsburgs into the region of Banat and Bukovina.
Then in the 19th century the Russian Tsars lured German
settlers into Bessarabia.
After the First World War Transylvania, the Bukovina,
the Banat, Satu Mare and Bessarabia fell to the Kingdom
Unlike many southeast European countries Romania
expelled only relatively few of the 238,000
Transylvanian Saxons, 220,000 Banat Swabians and the
other German-speaking ethnic groups.
80,000 Romanian Germans were deported to Russia for
forced labor. Only later fled many Germans the
unbearable living conditions of the communist regime
through Hungary and Austria and resettled in Germany.
A tragic fate befell the approximately 215,000 migrants
from Bessarabia, Bukovina and Dobrudja. First they were
thrown out of their homeland in the Warthegau and moved
to Danzig or West Prussia. Then they had, like all
Germans, to escape also from these areas or were
German family deported to a steppe-like countryside
in Slovakia and Ukraine
The German immigrants came in the area of today's
Slovakia in the 12th century.
That did not happen in the context of military conquests,
but at the invitation of the respective sovereigns.
So wanted the Hungarian king to build and develop the
deserted and desertified areas in the north and east of
his country by farmers, artisans, miners and merchants.
By the promise of special rights he could win the Zipser
Saxons who settled in northern Slovakia.