The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War, by David Nasaw
In May 1945, German forces surrendered to the Allied powers, putting an end to World War II in Europe. But the aftershocks of global military conflict did not cease with the German capitulation.
Millions of lost and homeless concentration camp survivors, POWs, slave laborers, political prisoners, and Nazi collaborators in flight from the Red Army overwhelmed Germany, a nation in ruins. British and American soldiers gathered the malnourished and desperate refugees and attempted to repatriate them.
But after exhaustive efforts, there remained more than a million displaced persons left behind in Germany: Jews, Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, and other Eastern Europeans who refused to go home or had no homes to return to.
The Last Million would spend the next three to five years in displaced persons camps, temporary homelands in exile divided by nationality, with their own police forces, churches and synagogues, schools, newspapers, theaters, and infirmaries.
The Last Million tells the gripping yet until now largely hidden story of postwar displacement and statelessness. By 1952, the Last Million were scattered around the world. As they crossed from their broken past into an unknowable future, they carried with them their wounds, their fears, their hope, and their secrets.
Here for the first time, Nasaw illuminates their incredible history and, with profound contemporary resonance, shows us that it is our history as well.
“[M]asterful...A searching, vigorously written history of an unsettled time too little known to American readers.” - Kirkus Reviews
“A thought-provoking, highly recommended perspective on a complex and largely overlooked people and period of modern history.” - Library Journal