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Project: 1945 - End of the War. Comming Home, leaving Home.

List of witnesses of this project

Migration is one of the keywords for the 20th century. In the first half of this century sixty to eighty million Europeans were forced to leave their homeland, many of them never to return again. The end of World War II brought the largest population movements in European history. Project ''1945 – End of the War. Coming Home, Leaving Home'' focuses on the phenomenon of migration in Poland and Czechoslovakia and the societal consequence of such population movements. Societies of these countries were irrevocably changed after the war. People returning home from the war found that their homes and communities were vastly different from the ones they had left. Thousands of Jews who survived the Holocaust, often could not find anything from pre-war times which they could link to their current lives. Soldiers coming from hard battles dreamed about life in peace and democracy, but soon discovered that this was only an illusion. A new political reality was being established and many people, especially from Poland, were deported to gulag camps. Others, who wanted to escape this fate had to flee. As the Soviet Union annexed the eastern territories of Poland and Poland annexed part of German territories, approximately two million Poles from the East were resettled to the West, and about one and a half million Ukrainians and Belorussians were moved to the Soviet Union. The Czech minority living in the region of Kladsko was resettled in Czechoslovakia. The loss of homes and communities also meant a loss of safety, something which had been maintained for centuries. People were now faced with a new and very difficult task – how to cope with the new reality?


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