[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Re Vohlynian deportations

Richard Benert benovich at montanadsl.net
Thu Jul 8 10:39:39 PDT 2004

Karl Krueger wrote:

> Yes, Thank you Leo for sharing that with us. What I find amazing is that your
grandmother and aunt made it to Germany. There >were some Germans that seemed to
end up in Germany at this time so I wonder how they managed that. From a story I
have from >another contact, I realize my grandfather's brother knew the German
armies were advancing so he took his family westward to >meet them and be
"saved' by them. In EWZ I found a cousin to my grandfather who lived near
Vladimir Volhynsk and he also >ended up in Germany somehow with his family. But
the vast majority of Germans did get deported as I have seen in EWZ.

Apparently quite a few families in western Volhynia, where the advancing German
armies were closest, managed to be "overtaken" by them and avoided deportation.
Many of them returned to Germany immediately, I believe, and others certainly
did when the Russians staged their counteroffensive in 1916, most of them going
to East Prussia.  There they worked as day-laborers, which wasn't much to their
liking.  This led at least some of them to return to Volhynia after the war.

In addition to the German troops recruiting the returning expellees for farm
work in Germany, there was also a refugee organization in Germany, called the
F|rsorgeverein f|r deutsche R|ckwanderer (Welfare Society for German
Repatriates) that actively recruited Volhynian and Polish Germans to return to
Germany.  This had started before the war broke out, and over 25,000 returned to
Germany between c.1906 and 1914.  By early 1917, 33,000 more had returned.
17,000 more, returning from exile in 1918, were guided by the Welfare Society to
Germany. Especially prone to return were those who had leased their farms before
the war and found that their leases had been broken irrevocably.

According to the Society's figures, 20,000 returned to East Prussia, 4,000 to
Schleswig-Holstein, 3,600 to Pomerania, 2-3,000 to Silesia, Brandenburg and West
Prussia..  Others went to Westphalia, Hannover and Saxony.  I realize that these
figures don't add up to the 75,000 or so in the preceding paragraph, so take
them with a grain of salt.

Dick Benert

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