The German Expellees: Victims in War and Peace by Alfred-Maurice De Zayas

By Alfred-Maurice De Zayas

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Extra info for The German Expellees: Victims in War and Peace

Sample text

Yes, it could well be. But it was with these words that the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized the sadness and the desolation that ensued upon the inhuman expulsion of 15,000 French farmers from Nova Scotia in 1755. They had settled and lived there in peace for 100 years. The English governor, Charles Lawrence, wanted to be rid of these French Catholics, whom he considered potentially disloyal to the British crown. Their homes were confiscated, their families torn apart. The men were loaded in ships and dispersed among the other British The Germans of East Central Europe 3 colonies; wives and children were separated from their husbands and fathers, never to see each other again.

German settlers moved into other regions of Central and Eastern Europe. King Ottokar II (1253-1278), among other sovereigns, promoted German settlements in Bohemia and Moravia. It was thus, 700 years ago, that a German-settled region near the Sudeten Mountains came into existence; only centuries later would it be called the Sudetenland. The westernmost corner of this territory, commonly known as the Egerland, was actually originally a part of the Duchy of Bavaria and not of the Kingdom of Bohemia.

The Peace Treaty of St. Germain forced Austria to relinquish the territory in accordance with the secret arrangement, even though a mere 3% of the population (242,000 total) were ofltalian extraction. The Treaty of Versailles also denied the right of self-determination to Germans who had been citizens of the Reich but who resided in areas that were now separated from prewar German territory. Without a plebiscite, Danzig was declared a free city, while the province of Posen and the major portion ofWest Prussia were awarded to Poland.

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