Euroregion Elbe/Labe

Conference about displaced persons, (homesick) tourists and 'new settlers' on June 9-11 in Teplice

Together with the German Society, we invite you to a conference on displaced persons in the GDR, their "homesick tourism" to their old homeland in Czechoslovakia and their encounters with "new settlers" there from 9 to 11 June in Teplice.


The situation of displaced persons and refugees from the former German eastern provinces and settlement areas of East Central Europe who had settled in the Soviet occupation zone/the GDR differed in important respects from that of their compatriots in the West. One crucial aspect was that the states in which their former homeland was located were among the "friendly brother countries" of the socialist camp and the people living there were considered friendly peoples. Refugees and displaced persons in the GDR were thus able to return to their old homeland in Bohemia or Silesia somewhat earlier and against a different political background than those in the Federal Republic.

Hundreds of thousands more GDR citizens traveled to Czechoslovakia and Poland on holiday or for business and met people there who often only arrived after 1945. For the refugees and displaced persons, such trips were always also trips into the past, to their former homeland, to the graves of their ancestors, to the houses in which they once lived and where other people now lived. Later, this was also possible for people from the Federal Republic, who - unlike those from the GDR - were able to speak publicly about it after their return and often did so in writing, which is why a lot of information is already available on this. Since this was not possible in the GDR, less is known about it.

This fact, often mentioned by those affected, has so far received little attention in research and in public. Encounters with Czech and Polish "new settlers" and their views on the former residents have also been sparsely investigated in this context. The conference is dedicated to these stories in the previously predominantly German-populated areas of Czechoslovakia and takes a comparative look at the situation in the People's Republic of Poland. More than 35 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, we also want to take a look at previous reconciliation initiatives from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic and talk to practitioners of cross-border cooperation about the future of understanding.

More about the conference and registration


This event is a cooperation project of the Deutsche Gesellschaft e. V. and the Euroregion Elbe/Labe.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs based on a resolution of the German Bundestag, the Small Projects Fund in the Euroregion Elbe/Labe (applied for) and the Institut für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen in Nordosteuropa (IKGN) e.V. – Nordost-Institut (funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media based on a resolution of the German Bundestag).

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