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In War's WakeEurope's Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order$
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Gerard Daniel Cohen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195399684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195399684.001.0001

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“Who is a Refugee?”

“Who is a Refugee?”


(p.35) 2 “Who is a Refugee?”
In War's Wake

Gerard Daniel Cohen

Oxford University Press

The chapter discusses the screening operations conducted in the DP camps by Allied armies, UNRRA personnel and IRO staff members. A key challenge for the Western Allies was the identification of “true” and “false” refugees. From 1945 to 1947, antifascism was the main criteria used to separate genuine refugees from “usurpers of DP status.” Military screeners tried to identify former collaborators, veterans of the German army and Nazi sympathizers hidden among the DPs. With the intensification of the Cold War, anticommunism trumped antifascism in the granting of DP status. The IRO reintegrated into its ambit refugees previously rejected on the ground of collaboration. It also erected, for the first time in the history of political asylum, strict boundaries between political and economic refugees: the DP camps served as a laboratory for the attribution of refugee status in the postwar era.

Keywords:   retribution, political asylum, International Refugee Organization, 1951 Geneva Convention, international refugee regime, asylum seekers

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