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Barton, Betty. / The problem of 12 million German refugees in today's Germany

Section IV: What is being done for the German refugees?,   pp. 30-34 PDF (1.6 MB)

Page 30

From the first post-war days of the occupation of Germany, the
Allied Military Authorities have insisted that the responsibility for the
care, maintenance, and administration of the Tolksdeutsche and Reichs-
deutsche refugees must rest with the German people, and with the local
German governing bodies. With no national government and but little
co-ordination permitted or possible between the decentralized state gov-
ernments, it could only be expected that there would be a wide range of
variation in the efficiency and consideration with which refugees were to
be handled in the various states.
A "Bill of Rights" for Refugees
In the spring of 1948 an effort was made to unify practices in the
administration of refugee matters. A pattern law was drawn up and has
been adopted with local variations by most, if not all, of the 11 western
Laender, or states.    It constitutes a kind of "Bill of Rights"
for the
This law is of such basic importance in any consideration of the
German refugees that it is here presented in its entirety. This text (trans-
lated) was enacted by the £andtag of North Rhine-Westphalia on June
2, 1948:
The war let loose by National Socialism has by its effect plunged the German
ple into misery. The 79olksdeutsche and Reicbsdeutscbe who were obliged to
flee from
their homes have particularly suffered. Their distress can only finally be
overcome by
permitting them to return to the German Eastern Territories, the restitution
of which
must, therefore, for the sake of the peace of Europe and of the world be
sought by
peaceful means and sympathetic cooperation between the peoples.
Irrespective of this question, which still remains to be decided, it is the
first and
foremost duty of every German to help the refugees to the best of his ability;
to accept
them in his community; and to give them a new home.
The basis of all measures must be the realization that the consequences of
the war
must be borne by the German community as a whole and that the refugees have
contributed more than their full share towards reparation.
The Landtag has passed this bill, conscious of the fact that the same rights
for the
refugees, as for the indigenous population, offer the only means by which
effective help
in the question of the refugees and prosperity under common living conditions
can be
1. Scope of Application:
The regulations of this "Bill," so far as refugees are concerned,
apply to the fol-
lowing persons:
A. 1. All persons of German nationality or race who before expulsion or flight
their last permanent domicile outside the frontiers of the German Reich,
to the boundaries of the latter on January 1, 1938, and had fled or were
from such domicile.

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