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Emigrating From Germany to the U.S. After World War II — Part 3 of 3

(Trigger/Content Warning: This series talks about the effects of Nazism in Germany and war.)

The last two parts of this series focused on just my grandfather Hans and his time in Germany before and during World War II, but there are so many people who migrated during and after that conflict that ended up playing vital roles in other countries. 

World War II was one of the worst events that has ever happened to the human race. It impacted millions of people across the world, but the migration of humans before, during and after that conflict was one of the biggest culture-mixing events in history. Many of those people were refugees fleeing their home country from unspeakable violence and horrors, but they were not always met with open arms.

Refugees from Germany (Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash)
Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

Due to the tensions of World War II, the U.S. “waiting list” to immigrate into the country started to max out visas. Because of the persecution of the Jewish people in Germany, many started to try and flee the country.

According to U.S. government statistics, in 1940 the maximum number of visas given out by the United States to Germans was 27,355, but that barely accounted for the total number; 301,935 Germans were still on the waiting list to immigrate into the United States, and about 300,000 of those people on the waitlist were Jewish.

Even though 12 million German refugees fled from their war-torn country after the war, the people who were trying to integrate themselves into a new culture found it very hard (Sproer, 2015).

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Due to the harsh nature of the Hitler regime, many people from other countries held very strong resentment against the German people, and many still do to this day. This is very interesting, in that there was such a large number of people leaving Germany at one time, and the issue that many of these refugees were not welcome with open arms was very prevalent.

German communities were being stripped because they were now seen as an problem to the communities they came into. By removing German marks on communities, as well as the combination of millions of people leaving countries in Europe and moving around, it effectively rewrote the makeup of cultures across countries.

Rejecting the people of a country due to their leader, or things that are going on inside that country is terrible and should never happen. If we as humans rejected people immigrating due to the faults of their home country, humanity would never make any advancements or have what we have today.

Rejecting the people of a country due to their leader, or things that are going on inside that country is terrible and should never happen.

Albert Einstein, one of the most famous scientists in the world, fled from a rising Nazi Germany in 1940. If the United States had stopped Einstein from immigrating into the country just because of where he was coming from, who knows what the world may have lost in scientific value?

When looking at a person fleeing from their home nation, we must not look at them as tainted from the troubles of their homeland but rather a person ready to contribute their best to a new country.  

Overall, World War II was the worst event to happen to the human race, but because of it we had a mass migration. This led to a huge culture mixing in many countries which had positive impacts still to this day. 

Works Cited:

Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust. “How Many Refugees Came to the United States from 1933-1945?” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, https://exhibitions.ushmm.org/americans-and-the-holocaust/how-many-refugees-came-to-the-united-states-from-1933-1945

Spröer, Susanne. “What Germany’s PostWar Refugees Taught Us about Integration: DW: 16.07.2015.” DW.COM, 2015, https://www.dw.com/en/what-germanys-postwar-refugees-taught-us-about-integration/a-18575558.

Taylor, Adam. “The Forgotten Story of When the Germans Were the Refugees.” The Washington Post, WP Company, Dec. 15, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/03/the-forgotten-story-of-when-the-germans-were-the-refugees/

Williams, Robyn. “The Immigrant Who Changed the World.” ABC Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 3, 2017, https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/einstein-the-immigrant-who-changed-the-world/8405564.

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