Originally posted on The History Girls.
Like most of us this summer, I’ve been shocked and moved by the images of refugees in flight from the turmoil of the Middle East, fleeing conflict by any means they can, making the long and perilous journey on foot, by boat, and on foot again, trekking towards Europe, seeking to find some sort of security, a new life for themselves and for their children.
This mass movement of people is unprecedented in recent times. In casting about to find any kind of analogy for what we are seeing in our newspapers and on our screens, the nearest most reporters and correspondents can find is the movement of German populations fleeing from the advancing Russians and then the further mass expulsion of ethnic German populations after the Second World War.
Until recent events, the mass expulsion of Ethnic Germans (the Volksdeutsche) who had been living in the different countries of Central and Eastern Europe, often for centuries, was rather lost to history, just another of the consequences, a postscript to the manifold horrors of the Second World War. It is, however, worth recalling it now. The scale of the population movement was a…