?Waiting? and ?Expecting? in Austria refugee camps after 1945 Displaced Persons in collective and individual memory
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC) 2018
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In the re-established Republic of Austria, the US-zone and especially the province of Upper Austria became a central point of migratory and refugee movements. One of the largest groups of refugees and dislocated persons in Austria consisted of Jewish men, women and children. The US-authorities designated them as ?Jewish displaced persons? (DPs) and the paper is focussing on this group. The reasons for their stay in Austria were different. The in-between-situation of the Jewish DPs caused a specific reception of their years in Central Europe between liberation in May 1945 and emigration (in most cases 1948 ? 1952, to Israel or the USA). And it affected the narrative of the life stories over the years in the destination countries, too. Linz, the capital of Upper Austria was widely known as Hitler´s favourite town, this had consequences for the narratives of the Jewish DP´s, but primarily for the second generation. This paper focuses on a collection of approximately fifty interviews and life stories concerning the decade following 1945. By most Jewish interviewees, the positive aspects of the camp life was put into into the foreground and the hope they had, that things will get better.
Different groups of testimonies, who lived in the US-American zone in Austria, especially in Upper Austria, have been interviewed about the refugee question in Austria, specifically concerning the Jewish DPs. The interpretation and re-interpretation of postwar-memories will definitely be a topic in this presentation. In the light of contemporary, very actual refugee movements from Near East to the European Union, the handling of the displaced persons and the refugee flows of the postwar period is going to be seen now more and more as quite successful management.