Memory, Politics, and Yugoslav Migrations to Postwar Germany

Memory, Politics, and Yugoslav Migrations to Postwar Germany

Christopher A. Molnar
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/11/2019
ISBN: 978-0-253-03775-6
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During Europe’s 2015 refugee crisis, more than a hundred thousand asylum seekers from the western Balkans sought refuge in Germany. This was nothing new, however; immigrants from the Balkans have streamed into West Germany in massive numbers throughout the long postwar era. Memory, Politics, and Yugoslav Migrations to Postwar Germany tells the story of how Germans received the many thousands of Yugoslavs who migrated to Germany as political emigres, labor migrants, asylum seekers, and war refugees from 1945 to the mid-1990s. While Yugoslavs made up the second largest immigrant group in the country, their impact has received little critical attention until now. With a particular focus on German policies and attitudes toward immigrants, Christopher Molnar argues that considerations of race played only a marginal role in German attitudes and policies towards Yugoslavs. Rather, the history of Yugoslavs in postwar Germany was most profoundly shaped by the memory of World War II and the shifting Cold War context. Molnar shows how immigration was a key way in which Germany negotiated the meaning and legacy of the war.

Author Bio

Christopher A. Molnar is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Michigan-Flint.


Memory, Politics, and Yugoslav Migrations to Postwar Germany is the illuminating story of one of Europe’s largest and most significant postwar migrations, and simultaneously of how difference and belonging have been continuously redefined in postwar Germany. Bringing together the histories of Yugoslav Displaced Persons, asylum seekers, guest workers, and refugees, Molnar persuasively links the reception of Yugoslav migrants to West Germany’s shifting relationship to the Nazi past and Communist east. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand the history of Germany, the Cold War, or migration and refugee policies in Europe up to the present day.”
 — Tara Zahra, author of The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World

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