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Flight and Expulsion

1945 - 1950

15 million Germans lose their homeland in the former eastern territories of Germany and in the settlement areas of Central and South Eastern Europe. In 1950 more than 1.3 million refugees and expelled persons live in North Rhine-Westphalia. Two thirds of these reside in Westphalia, primarily in East Westphalia. The largest group is made up of Silesians, followed by East Prussians as well as Pomeranians and people from eastern Brandenburg.

The refugees become helpful workers in the reconstruction of destroyed towns, cities and industrial plant. They indirectly contribute to a relaxation of the tightly-meshed social structures in Westphalia. They also provide a valuable contribution to social renewal and the economic upswing in the 1950s.