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The City Director of Haltern on the Housing of Displaced Persons (December 16, 1946)

Under Allied policy, foreign refugees and expellees were housed in camps on German soil but were not subject to the German authorities. This led to tensions. At the end of 1946, the city director of Haltern in the state of Westphalia, which was part of the British occupation zone, complained that a large portion of the city’s undamaged and inhabitable houses had been confiscated to accommodate foreign refugees. He noted that these houses were being plundered by their new inhabitants and were falling into disrepair as a result. Moreover, he explained that crime in the city had risen dramatically since the camp began operations.

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The City Director of Haltern to the Main Office for Work Administration for the British Zone, Forced Evictions in order to House Displaced Persons

Haltern, December 16, 1946

In April of last year, after the entry of Allied troops, the new district of Haltern (the so-called New Quarter) was forcibly evacuated within a very short time (sometimes 15 minutes). Local residents had to leave all their possessions behind, and the district was declared a prohibited area (DP camp).

From that time on, the camp housed, alternately, Russians, Italians, Yugoslavs, and most recently Poles exclusively. With this, a time of dire need and utmost hardship began [to descend upon] the inhabitants of this city, half of which was destroyed in the air raids. Unrest and threats, abuses, predatory thefts, and ongoing assaults and plundering all began with this camp. On top of this, the scum of the large cities of the industrial region teamed up with these criminals, and together they have thrown the local population into a panic-like fear of the Poles. The energetic men of the city of Haltern came together on the basis of neighborly aid, and, night after night, without regard for the demands of their jobs or the food crisis, they carry out patrols involving more than 500 volunteers in total. These measures, guided by the administration, have already had a positive effect.

What follows is my response to items 1-6:

1.) About 5,000 Poles are currently housed in the DP camp. This number changes constantly through departures and new arrivals.

2.) The DP camp consists of the “New City Quarter” and the settlement at the edge of the city. This section, in particular, was considered an adornment in Haltern’s design and was spared by the aerial bombing. It is made up almost entirely of new houses and single-family homes, all of which should be seen as the life work of industrial workers.

All told, there are 414 houses = 869 apartments in that area, where approximately = 3,800 of the evacuated local persons had their residence. If one looks at the extent of the damage in Haltern,

undamaged houses
473 houses
slightly damaged houses
842 houses
heavily    “                “
162 houses
completely destroyed “
146 houses

the ‘camp’ accounts for about 80% of the undamaged houses and about 30% of the inhabitable houses.

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