Documentary Ukrainica on the Situation of Ukrainian Displaced Persons in Post-War Europe (1945-1957)
In modern conditions, when Ukraine and European countries have faced a significant increase in the number of refugees and displaced persons as a result of military conflicts, the study of historical experience in solving the crisis issues associated with these categories of population after the Second World War is still topical.
The purpose of the research is to expand the source base of studying the life of Ukrainian displaced persons in postwar Europe, the introduction of previously unknown factual material to the scientific usage.
The paper, on the basis of documentary sources, focuses on the fate of the Ukrainian displaced persons in postwar Europe (1945-1957), their legal status, the attitude of the occupation zones administrations and the reasons for forcible repatriation. Considerable attention is paid to the organization and activity of the Ukrainian Relief Committees in terms of material support, legal protection of Ukrainian refugees and their resettlement from Europe to other countries. In the paper the documents, materials and memoirs of eyewitnesses of those events that have not been involved in the process before are analyzed.
The research concluded that the Ukrainian displaced persons, who stayed after the Second World War in Europe, refused to return to the USSR mainly for political reasons. Having chosen a difficult way of emigration, they fled away from Europe in order not to be in the power of the Soviet repatriation officials. That process lasted until the second half of the 1950's. The absence of full Ukrainian statehood also affected the legal defenselessness of Ukrainian refugees facing the administration of the occupation zones. Though even under such unfavorable conditions, they were able to self-organize, set up relief committees, open schools, promote science, and so on. Tens of thousands of representatives of the Ukrainian intellectual elite of humanities and technical sciences formed the intellectual potential of the Ukrainian community that failed to give its potential to Ukraine. However, it was mostly the Soviet society itself that incurred losses.