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People on the Move: Forced Population Movements in Europe in the Second World War and Its Aftermath (Occupation in Europe) Paperback – 1 Aug 2008


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About the Author

Pertti Ahonen, University of Edinburgh Gustavo Corni, University of Trento Kerzy Kochanowski, University of Warsaw Rainer Schulze, Essex University Tamas Stark, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Budapest Barbara Stelzl-Marx, L. Boltzmann Institut fuer Kriegsfolgenforschung Graz.

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Amazon.com: 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly overview of neglected topic 21 Oct 2011
By Patrick J. Brunet - Published on Amazon.com
First of all, Amazon needs to get the title right. It is People (SINGULAR) on the Move: Forced population movements in Europe in the Second World War and its aftermath. I suppose they used pre-pub data.

The massive forced population relocations in central and eastern Europe caused by World War II are very sparsely studied, if at all, in English language historiography. This is unfortunate as the Nazi's dislocated tens of millions of eastern and central Europeans under the rubric of obtaining lebenstraum (living space) for their population. To accomplish this, they followed two paths: the extermination of the Jews and the forced relocation of peoples in their way from the Baltic to the Balkans, including Italians!. This began in 1939 and grew through the war but the relocations continued after the war with dislocated peoples attempting to return home and the expulsions of Germans from stolen lands as well as movements caused by the new political boundaries and powers, especially the fear of the Soviets.

The six authors, from Scotish, English, Polish, Hungarian, Italian and German academic institutions approach the topic by first reviewing the plans and policies of Hitler, followed by chapers on population movements during and after the war; the experience of forced migration; the memory and commemoration of massed movements; and the experience of forced labor. This is history on a large scale, with individual countries losing millions of people. Virtually every page boasts statistics culled from forty-nine single-spaced pages of footnotes derived from sources in at least seven languages. German and Polish research dominate with very few English language sources. Despite having six authors, the text reads as if written with one voice, though in a somewhat dry, academic tone. Therein is the problem. After such a wide review of non-English language research, the writing style and presentation, was well as being published by a lesser known publisher, will limit the readership. Sadly, as of October, 2011, the date of this review, this has taken place. A search of WorldCat, the worldwide catalog of library holdings found that three years after its publication only eight English language libraries hold this title. It's $39.95 cost is very reasonable for an academic monograph published in the U.K., so cost should not be a problem. Perhaps declining library budgets are a factor or the appalling indifference/ignorance of acquisition librarians of history. English language readers - and especially American readers - need to expand their interest beyond western Europe in the conflict of the 1940's to see the horrific experience in the east. This scholarly review of European literature deserves a much wider audience.

Criticisms include a need for more and better maps; better coverage of the migrations/dislocations caused by the Soviets; better coverage on the postwar dislocations of Germans by other countries and more personal stories to punch up the narrative. These are pretty minor and, perhaps, outside the focus of the author, except for the need for maps. There is an assumption by the authors of a solid understanding of East European geography. Readers will find a very scholarly review of the forced migration with an almost encyclopedic attention to numerical documentation. Students doing papers or research on the topic would do well to start here first. General readers will find a slightly tougher than normal slog but will greatly benefit from their effort.
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