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Integration of East German Resettlers into the Cultures and Societies of the GDR

Jacobson, A; (2015) Integration of East German Resettlers into the Cultures and Societies of the GDR. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

A controversy exists in the historiography of ethnic German post-WWII refugees and expellees who lived in the German Democratic Republic. This question is namely: to what extent were these refugees and expellees from various countries with differing cultural, religious, social and economic backgrounds integrated into GDR society? Were they absorbed by the native cultures of the GDR? Was an amalgamation of both native and expellee cultures created? Or did the expellees keep themselves isolated and separate from GDR society? The historiography regarding this controversy most commonly uses Soviet and SED governmental records from 1945-53. The limitation of this approach by historians is that it has told the refugee and expellee narrative from government officials’ perspectives rather than those of the Resettlers themselves. In 1953 the SED regime stopped public record keeping concerning the Resettlers declaring their integration into GDR society as complete. After eight years in the GDR did the Resettlers feel that they were an integrated part of society? In an attempt to ascertain how Resettlers perceived their own pasts in the GDR and the level of integration that occurred, 230 refugees and expellees were interviewed throughout the former GDR between 2008-09. These interviewees represented several homeland origin groups and lived in a variety of localities including small, rural villages; middle-sized, established towns; and huge industrial centers. The results of these interviews have been analyzed in conjunction with primary archival sources and the secondary literature.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Integration of East German Resettlers into the Cultures and Societies of the GDR
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > CMII
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1464510
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