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Straddling the Iron Curtain?

Immigrants, Immigrant Organisations, War Memories


Machteld Venken

In the aftermath of World War II, two migration streams entered Belgium: former allied soldiers from Poland and former Ostarbeiterinnen from the Soviet Union. This book focuses on these people’s attempts to give meaning to their war experiences in post-war life, and delineates the various processes they used to understand and articulate what they had been through. These processes were shaped not only by the characteristics of the war experiences themselves, but also by the changing positions which these immigrant men and women held within their home and host societies. Looking from the perspective of the newcomers, this study examines how they gathered in groups in order to remember their war experiences, and how they were integrated into, and/or excluded from, their home and host societies over time.
Contents: Migration into Belgium after World War II – Former allied soldiers from Poland – Former Ostarbeiterinnen from the Soviet Union – People’s attempts to give meaning to their war experiences in post-war life – Gathering in immigrant organisations in order to remember the war experiences – Integration into and/or exclusion from their home and host societies.