World War II Displaced Children: Location

displaced children in the Reich
Figure 1.--These Soviet children were being card for by an UNRRA team in ocupied Germany. The press acption read, "At Play... Until They Can Return Home: Some of the 300 children at he center established for Russian displaced persons in a former German barracks at Heidelberg. Play for the children is organized by formw teachers amongst the displaced persons with the assistance of the welfare officer of UNRRA Team No. 24 stationed at the center. The displaced persons in the center are cared for until repattriation may take place." The photograph was dated July 10, 1945. We know why workers were brought into the Reich. Just how these Soviet children got to the Reich is less clear.

During the war dispaced children appeared throughout Europe and in much of Asia. This was the result of the Wwar itself and the horrendous occupation policies of the Axis countries. The situation was somewhat different for adults and children. Jews were a special case. Here the German policy was to kill. The children and elderly were killed first because they could not work. The adults were essentially killed through labor by mistratment, lack of shelter, food, and medical care. The Jews were concentrated, with most brought into Poland to be killed immediately or worked to death, but at the end of the War the pitifully few survivors were forced marched into the Reich, many dieing along the war. Virtually no children survived once they fell into German hnds. The only real chance for the children was to be hidden. This was also the best chance for adults. After the War, it was difficult for Jews to go home, sspeciallin Eastern Europe. Mny who tried were attacked. Non-Jewish displaced children were mostly found it their home contries. Unlike Jewish children, the Germans made no attempt to stop occupied countries from caring for displaced children, but they did not supply needed resources. Plans were being laid to kill much of the population of Eastern Europe, but major killing actions were delayed until after the wat was won. To support the war effort, nillions of teenagers and adults were brought into the Reich as workers. Thus the Allies found large numbers of dispalced persons. Most of the displaced children were left in the occupied countries. We have found some displaced non-Germn children in the Reich. We are not sure just how they got there because the idea was to bring workers. There are several possibilities. Some of the wark workersere pregnant when selected for war work. They may have beem empregnated while in the Reich. Most of the women war workers were from Eastern Europe. The babies were generally killed after birth. Some may have been Lebensborn children. Some civilians including children were interned as a result of anti-partisan actions. And there were Soviets that cooperated with the Germans, but they generally fled west as part of family groups. There may have been other causes which we are not aware.


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Created: 12:56 AM 6/1/2017
Last updated: 12:56 AM 6/1/2017