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Warlands pp 89–116Cite as

Palgrave Macmillan

Remaking Soviet Society: the Filtration of Returnees from Nazi Germany, 1944–49

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Abstract

The end of the Second World War in Europe brought liberation from Nazi captivity to several million Soviet citizens. Most had been taken westward by the Germans as prisoners of war or as forced labourers seized in occupied territories. A small minority of Soviet men had, voluntarily or not, joined the enemy’s armed forces. Over the subsequent months and years, the majority of these Soviet displaced persons returned to their places of origin. Their journeys home, however, were not simple trajectories. The time they had spent abroad, outside the purview of Soviet military commissars or intelligence operatives, marked them in the eyes of the Stalinist state as suspect. Both before and on their return to Soviet territory, repatriated citizens were confined in holding stations and camps, where they were subjected to ‘filtration’ (fil’tratsiia) pending their return home or alternatively their further resettlement or deportation. Referring to recently declassified political police records from Kiev region in Ukraine, this chapter considers the role and significance of the encampment, investigation and registration of returnees. It seeks to relate these practices of power to the postwar reconstruction of society and to the establishment of new normative identities and autobiographical narratives.

Keywords

  • Identity Document
  • State Border
  • Border Control
  • Displace Person
  • Filtration Procedure

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

All of Russia was on the move, everyone, peasants, collective farmers, and especially people whose passports had been taken from them and who had only identification cards. An enormous percentage of the population. They had not been able to leave their district without an NKVD pass. But suddenly all that was overturned: the wave of war had destroyed even those barriers, and Russia was on the move.

Aleksander Wat, My Century1

Question: Narrate under what circumstances you were liberated [from Dachau] by the Americans, how long and where you were held by them, and what you did during this time. Interrogation of repatriate Nikolai Akimovich Lial’ko, 18 May 19492

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Notes

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© 2009 Nick Baron

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Baron, N. (2009). Remaking Soviet Society: the Filtration of Returnees from Nazi Germany, 1944–49. In: Gatrell, P., Baron, N. (eds) Warlands. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230246935_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230246935_5

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