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MissingPersons and Politics$
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Jenny Edkins

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450297

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450297.001.0001

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Displaced Persons, Postwar Europe

Displaced Persons, Postwar Europe

(p.38) Chapter 2 Displaced Persons, Postwar Europe

Jenny Edkins

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the experiences of displaced persons in Europe after World War II. It recounts how, following the war, people were herded from camp to camp as the military and civilian authorities, caught unprepared by the scale of the problem, attempted to feed and house them and organize their repatriation. It considers how the camp bureaucracy operated, excluding those considered undeserving, separating nationalities, ignoring the political will of those it was dealing with—producing a system where the displaced person as person went missing under a system of labeling and control. It shows that those in the concentration camps evaded bureaucratic procedures and constraints and found their own ways of sidestepping categorization and depersonalization—or of escaping the camps altogether.

Keywords:   displaced persons, Europe, World War II, repatriation, bureaucracy, concentration camps, categorization, depersonalization

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