Brothers in Arms? Polish Displaced Persons in British-occupied Germany, 1945-51 - Instytut Pileckiego


30.06.2022 (Thu) 18:00

Brothers in Arms? Polish Displaced Persons in British-occupied Germany, 1945-51

Come and join us for the next Pariser Platz Seminar

Brothers in Arms? Polish Displaced Persons in British-occupied Germany, 1945-51 - Pariser Platz Seminar

30.06, 18.00 | Pariser Platz 4A, 10117 Berlin | Register here:

Lecture: Dr. Samantha Knapton (University of East Anglia): "Brothers in Arms? Polish Displaced Persons in British-occupied Germany, 1945-51"

Additional comments: Dr. Markus Nesselrodt (Europa-Universität Viadrina)

All too often, the concepts of migration and displacement are separated from the construction of international humanitarianism and the process of (military) occupation. Yet, between 1945 and 1951 these victims of war became the joint responsibility of humanitarian workers (‘carers’) and military officials (‘protectors’) in occupied Germany. The everyday experiences of clothing, feeding, sheltering, and transporting these displaced persons (DPs) were shared by those on the ground implementing policies that had largely been created during wartime for peacetime purposes by those who would never actually experience their effects. Dr. Knapton’s research analyses the impact
of those ‘in the middle’ on post-war constructions of humanitarianism and occupation by combining top-down and bottom-up perspectives and by using Polish DPs in British-occupied Germany as a focal point. In her talk Samantha Knapton will also show how my work to date has led to my current research in Warsaw which explores how repatriation from British-occupied Germany to Poland was, at times, forced repatriation in everything but name. Caught between resettling into a hostile German host country or repatriating to a Soviet controlled Poland, many DPs in the camps were left with little choice.


Samantha K. Knapton received her PhD from Newcastle University (UK) in 2019 and has been working at the University of East Anglia (UEA) since 2018. Her first monograph, Occupiers, Humanitarian Workers, and Polish Displaced Persons in British-occupied Germany (forthcoming,
2022) focuses on the interventions of those ‘in the middle’ between governing authorities and Displaced Persons (DPs) in post-war occupied Germany. As co-creator of a global network focusing on the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), she is also the co-editor of the first volume on UNRRA, Relief and Rehabilitation for a Postwar World: Humanitarian Intervention and the UNRRA (forthcoming, 2022).

Sam’s current projects focus on transnational relations in the post-war world, with a strong emphasis on the position of Ano-Polish relations within the framework of forced displacement and international humanitarianism. She is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Pilecki Institute in Warsaw, her project is focused on Anglo-Polish attempts to encourage repatriation through invoking interwar concepts of ‘Polishness’ and post-war ideas concerning ‘nation-building’.