• O.P. Sarnatsky
  • B.V. Bondarenko
Keywords: refugees, displaced persons, World War II, third wave of Ukrainian emigration, cooperative movement, secondary emigration, economic life


Economic life of Ukrainian emigrants in the camps for displaced persons of Germany and Austria in 1945–1952 is analyzed the article. After the World War II millions of Ukrainians found themselves in the territory of Germany and Austria. According to the agreement between the USSR, USA and Great Britain, Soviet citizens should have been repatriated to the USSR. The secret agreement also envisaged forced repatriation. A significant group of displaced persons were Ukrainians. They were prisoners, ostarbeiters, members of collaboration groups, refugees. Many Ukrainians did not want to return to the USSR due to political and national reasons. Despite forced repatriation, about 450,000 Ukrainians did not return to the USSR. They formed the so-called third wave of Ukrainian emigration. Statistical data from documents of that time, memoirs and periodicals of 1945–1952 formed the source base of the article. The historiography of the problem has been considered. The problem of repatriation, activity of internment camps, resettlement to new host countries, socio-political activities of the new wave of emigration have become the subject of researchers’ studies. It should be noted that the acute politicization of the topic and the lack of access to archival sources did not facilitate its study by Soviet historians until the late 1980s. However, individual Soviet historians studied the repatriation of Soviet citizens after the war and the emergence of new emigration. The collection on Soviet-French relations also mentioned the agreement with France on repatriation and the problems of its implementation [1]. Soviet scientists, while studying the fate of war prisoners and ostarbeiters, paid attention to their return to the USSR [2]. Attempts have been made to refute the research of Western historians. For example, an article devoted to the research of Mykola Tolstoy, which repeated propaganda allegations of voluntary repatriation, absence of repressions against repatriates, obstruction from Western allies [3]. The attention of researchers is attracted to M. Pavlenko’s monograph, which despite the involvement not only examines the repatriation policy of the USSR and the allied states, but also describes the new wave of Ukrainian emigration [4]. Thus, Soviet historians did not make a significant contribution to investigation of the “third wave” of Ukrainian emigration. But emigrant historians began to study the history of the new wave of Ukrainian emigration in the 1950s–1980s. Being the direct participants of the events they tried to estimate number, social composition, countries of settlement and features of this wave of Ukrainian emigration [5]. The activities of Ukrainian political parties in 1945–1952 and their influence on emigration and relations with foreign governments were studied in detail [6]. The monograph of Volodymyr Marunyak [7] was the most fundamental and thorough work. Western historiography, analyzing the fate of collaborationist armed groups after the war, drew attention to the problems of repatriation, life in the camps of displaced persons, the formation of a new wave of anti-Soviet emigration [8]. Thus, foreign Ukrainian and Western historiographies have made some progress in studying the problem, although they have had shortcomings, including a limited source base and ideological restrictions. Previously closed archives became available to researchers in the late 1980s. Documents from Soviet repatriation bodies, diplomatic missions and state security agencies became available. Russian historian Viktor Zemskov was among the first to study the problem [9–12]. He not only carefully analyzed the statistics and directions of Soviet policy on repatriation, but also paid attention to the emergence of the new wave of emigration. Although the scholar acknowledged the violation of human rights by the USSR against repatriates and repressions against them, he noted their limitations and compulsions in the conditions of that time. V. Zemskov proved the violation of agreements by the Western allies of the USSR and their obstacles to repatriation. The author was one of the first to disclose the number, composition, and countries of residence of emigrants after the World War II. He highlighted interesting statistical material about Ukrainian emigration in his works. We find a different position in the works of Pavel Polyan, who unequivocally condemns forced repatriation and repressions, identifies the causes of the new wave of emigration and considers the actions of the Soviet leadership as a brutal violation of human rights [13–15]. The statistics given by him do not coincide with the data of V. Zemskov in some figures. The definitions, in addition, also differ. In conclusion, Russian historiography has paid much attention to the repatriation of Soviet citizens and much less to the emergence of the new wave of emigration. There are also no comprehensive studies of postwar emigration from the USSR. Ukrainian researchers studied the “third wave” of Ukrainian emigration in the 1990s based on new archival sources. Special researches on the repatriation of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons, their residence in camps, and resettlement to the countries of America and Australia appeared only at the turn of the 20-th – 21-st centuries. Lyudmyla Strilchuk in her dissertation and articles identified the number, composition, features of the new wave of Ukrainian emigration and the activities of international organizations in work with them [16–18]. Serhiy Rudyk considered the policy of Western countries regarding the resettlement of Ukrainian emigrants to the USA and Canada in his dissertation [19]. Mikhail Kunitsky’s dissertation analyzes the causes, procedure and consequences of forced repatriation of the USSR citizens [20]. The historian studies the struggle between countries of the anti-Hitler coalition over the repatriation problem. He investigates further fate of repatriates in the USSR and abroad. In our view, the “third wave” of Ukrainian emigration needs further careful study by Ukrainian historians, especially after the resettlement of displaced persons had been completed. After examining the sources, the author in the article came to the following conclusions. In the camps for displaced persons Ukrainian emigrants revived the traditions of cooperative movement in Ukraine and the cooperatives played a significant role in financing the cultural and educational life of the camps and providing social assistance. Handicrafts and folk crafts found further development among emigrants and helped them not only to survive physically but also to develop spiritually. After the departure of the most emigrants from Germany and Austria and the transfer of the camps to the German government, economic life in the camps declined. The experience that Ukrainian emigrants gained in economic activities in the camps for displaced persons they transferred to the new countries of their settlement.


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How to Cite
Sarnatsky, O., & Bondarenko, B. (2021). ECONOMIC LIFE OF UKRAINIAN EMIGRANTS IN THE CAMPS FOR DISPLACED PERSONS OF GERMANY AND AUSTRIA IN 1945-1952. Financial Strategies of Innovative Economic Development , (2 (50), 114-121.
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