Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Southeast European History

Thomas Porena

Thomas Porena

Displaced Yugoslavia 1945: The Comeback of the Yugoslavian Prisoners of War,  Concentration Camp Inmates and Slave Labourers from Germany


An Analysis Of Social And National Reintegration


This dissertation project attempts to research the process of the comeback of Yugoslavian prisoners of war, concentration camp inmates and slave labourers at the end of the Second World War 1945, focusing on their social and political reintegration in the Yugoslavian society. The research will be based on two approaches.

Firstly, the dissertation will provide an overview of the personal history of the (subsequent) Yugoslavian retournees. After investigating the causes of their deportation to and their imprisonment in Germany as well as their lifes during imprisonment the aim of the dissertation's first part is to analyze the process of coming back to Yugoslavia. Hereby the research will focus on three time periods:

1) in Germany after the end of the war 1945,during their in lifes in  “Displaced Persons Camps”,

2) during the process of the actual return to Yugoslavia, and

3) during the period of their reintegration in Yugoslavia between 1945 and approximately 1949.


Secondly, the dissertation project will analyse the politics of repatriation in Yugoslavia between 1945 and 1949. The research will focus on the political activity of the “Commission for Repatriation”, founded in April 1945 as the official instituion of the "Democratic Federal Yugoslavia" for the repatriation of all Yugoslavian citizens from abroad. Then, the research will analyse the changes in the political activity of the “Commission for Repatriation” when the "Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia" was founded in November 1945. Finally, the aim of the dissertation's second part is to to compare the different political and ideological processes of nationalisation in the two Jugoslavian governments.

The following main questions will guide the research:
How strongly did the specific political activity of Yugoslavian individuals during their imprisonment and and their life in the “Displaced Persons Camps” in Germany determine the outcome of their social reintegration in Yugoslavia after the war?
Compared to other european countries is the process of repatriation and the politics of nationalisation in Yugoslavia after the Second World War to be understood as an exception?
Does the political and social integration of the retournees in Yugoslavia represent the process of renationalisation or, on the contrary, a disruption in the Yugoslavian national selfdefinition?