Groundbreaking and remarkably relevant to modern emergency relief efforts, The Long Road Home tells the epic story of how the mammoth refugee problem in the wake of World War II was painstakingly solved. While the war was still going on, the Western Allies began to plan for the humanitarian crisis they knew would come when the shooting stopped. Haunted by memories of the chaos and loss of life at war’s end a generation earlier, they were determined to get it right this time. But what faced aid workers in 1945 was not what they had planned for—Jewish survivors of the concentration camps and a mass of “displaced persons” from Eastern Europe—Poles, Ukrainians, Latvians, Yugoslavs—who did not want to go home. It would take five years to find them new countries—in Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia. Ben Shephard has drawn on a mass of materials, including newly discovered diaries and journals, to bring out the human reality of this story.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While being a captive in a Nazi slave labor camp, I did not know that Allied forces broke the Axis line during the Second Battle of El Alamein (October 23 - November 4, 1942). I didn't even know that the U.S joined the Allies to fight Nazi Germany until the day of liberation. We were cut off of any source of information. It is uplifting for me to learn from Ben Shephard's book that President Roosevelt decided, in 1942, to set up some sort of international relief body for the survivors of the war, for the Holocaust victims, and for the innocent civilians in enemy countries. The book elaborates the activities of the UNNRA and other relief agencies.
I was liberated on May 9, 1945 by the Russian Army. An officer stepped out from his tank and told us, "We have come to liberate you!" A flurry of excitement enveloped the camp but I do not recall an outburst of jubilation among the inmates. We were in a daze. Like Moses, a Russian colonel appeared to deliver the Jews from slavery...
Each war in history has its price. To be more precise, the price is usually paid by those who are lucky enough to survive such a traumatic experience. This is exactly what happened to millions of people who found themselves uprooted during WW2 and became displaced when the war ended. Among those millions one could find Latvians, Poles, Ukrainians, Yugoslavs, Russians and Jews, as well as Germans. The Allies were confronted by many questions and problems posed after the war, such as: How can mechanisms for international humanitarian aid made to work? To what extent can immigration be absorbed by the various countries? How can an occupying power restore prosperity to a defeated enemy? What about the fate of the different ethnic groups and how can they live together? What about the future of Poland? And how were the borders of Russia to be decided? These are only some of the many points raised and elaborated on in this tragic tale. Journals, oral histories and new essays...
After years of studying about WWII in Europe I sorta' stumbled across a sub-genre, which is -- what happened after the shooting stopped? Too often we forget that everything wasn't all peaceful and cozy the day after the war ended. In the case of "The Long Road Home," Ben Shephard focuses on the issue of dealing with the millions of displaced persons that were created during, and after, the war. There are the obvious groups such as concentration camp survivors and slave laborers, but there was also the issue of the millions of other refugees such as additional Poles, Ukrainians, those from the Baltic States, and even the Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans driven out of the rest of Europe after the war).
Unlike some other books in this sub-genre that try to portray the Germans as victims in this post war period without context, one of the things this book does is put the whole issue of post war chaos into perspective. The bottom line is that despite their best efforts, the Western...
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