after the war
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Refugees evacuating the Belgian town of Bastogne c.1944.
Photo courtesy U.S. National Archives
Photo: Rosalia Borschtsh.
Courtesy Alf Manciagli
Men with rifles were walking around all the time so nobody jumped down.
We asked where we were going.
A soldier said: "I don't know where you are going."
"How long will we be there?"
"Only God can tell you."
We all cried.
When WWII ended in Europe in May 1945, the chaos was certainly
far from over for millions of people from the United Kingdom through
the main theatres of war in France, Germany, Italy, Russia,
Yugoslavia and Greece. No nation escaped the ravages of war, and
for many people who found themselves unable to return to their homes,
the long journey to a settled life had only just begun. Many
civilians had been caught up in the war, some taken from their
homes in Ukraine and Poland and sent to Germany and Austria as
forced labour in factories and on farms.
Ship in a bottle lovingly made by Valentino Sbrizzi when he was
held as an enemy alien in an Australian internment...
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Apart from the devastation wreaked by bombing and invasion, European nations were
in turmoil with floundering economies, food shortages and millions of refugees seeking
shelter. Some were able eventually to return to their homes but many had no home to go
to; others were fearful of returning to countries which had been taken over by the
communists. These were known as displaced people and the United Nations Relief
and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) had to find them temporary accommodation
and find countries to accept those who could not return home.
This apron was taken to Austria by Anna Babij
when she was deported from Ukraine during
World War II...
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After the displaced
people were settled in their new homelands, other European and British people,
seeking a stable, more prosperous life, swelled the ranks of migrants. Many chose
Australia, which was encouraging newcomers to help build its economy. It offered jobs,
the chance to own a home, and start a new life far from the chaos of Europe.