Who are the Displaced Persons DPs?
At the end of the Second World War, at least 40 million people had been displaced from their home countries. Above there there were former prisoners of war, released slave laborers, and both non-Jewish and Jewish concentration-camp survivors. The Allies categorized the refugees as “displaced persons” (DPs) and assigned the responsibility for their care to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).
A displaced persons camp is a temporary facility for displaced persons, whether refugees or internally displaced persons. Two years after the end of World War II in Europe, about 850,000 people lived in displaced persons camps across Europe.
Displaced persons were anxious to be reunited with families they had been separated from in the course of the war. Improvised efforts to identify survivors became formalized through the UNRRA's Central Tracking Bureau and facilities of the International Red Cross. The organization collected over one million names in the course of the DP era and eventually became the International Tracing Service.
In addition, displaced persons came from every country that had been invaded and/or occupied by Nazi forces many could not return home for fear of political persecution or retribution for perceived (or actual) collaboration with Axis powers. The people often moved from camp to camp, looking for family, countrymen, or better food and accommodation.