November 12, 2017

1950. Soviet Deportation Plan for Germans Stokes Tensions with British

New Wave of Germans Expelled from Polish Territories
German expellee organizations demonstrate in the market square in Bonn, 1951 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

March 4, 1950

Another mass movement of uprooted, homeless people is revealed by British occupation authorities today. They charge that the Russian officials' plan to dump 250,000 so-called "ethnic Germans" from the new Polish territories into Western Germany is a means of disrupting the already strained economy and adding to unemployment and the refugee problems.

Ironically, this is the largest deportation program to occur in Northern Europe since the days the Germans themselves were carrying out similar measures against the Poles and other racial groups.

The British authorities refused entry to seven hundred expellees from what is now Polish territory. They charged that this group, mostly women and children, were not properly documented.

The refugees arrived at the British zonal border in fifteen freight cars. They were said to have been deported because they refused to take Polish citizenship.

Calling the action "inhuman and arbitrary," the British statement says that it appears the Poles and the Russians plan to deport all Germans east of the Oder-Neisse line, and that these refugees do not come under an earlier agreement to accept 25,000 of these persons who have relatives in Western Germany.

The statement said that these German refugees are the responsibility of the Polish authorities who initiated the movement and the Soviet zone authorities who facilitated the deportation.

Down in Leipzig, another trade fair has opened. The Russians have relaxed their zonal traffic regulations to allow French, Dutch, and Belgian businessmen in—and somehow always a few American businessmen show up to place orders.

The Soviet Union has the main exhibit, and it will be the first time that Russian goods will be offered for sale under the new 25-cent ruble.

Pictures of Stalin and the East German Communist leaders dominated the scene.

The political theme is German production, and all visitors, including the Americans, are being handed pamphlets saying: "Expel the warmongers from Germany."

It's all very gay.

This is Bill Downs in Germany. Now back to CBS in New York.