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Still Yearning for the Lost Heimat? Ethnic German Expellees and the Politics of Belonging
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies.
2003 (English)In: European Consortium for Political Research, General Conference,2003, 2003Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

As the infectedmedia debates in Austria and Germany on the Czech Republic-sobligation to compensate the Sudetengerman community in connectionwith the European Union-s enlargement have shown, is theissue of ethnic German expellees and refugees from Central andEastern Europe and their rights still casting a shadow over therelations between Germany and Austria and their Eastern neighbors.This paper suggests that German expellee communities, whosepolitical goals during a long time were supported by the logics ofthe Cold War, saw the fall of the Iron Curtain as a window ofopportunity to promote old irredentist claims on Poland, the CzechRepublic and other Central and Eastern European countries. Thefocus of this paper will be put on the mechanisms ofre-constructing, -inventing- and reproducing theSudeten German, Silesian and other expellee and refugee communitiesin the German states and Austria since WW II, especially during thelast decades. The paper shows that German expellee communities notonly reconstructed themselves after World War II, but managed totie new generations - without collective traumaticexperiences of their own - to memories and concepts of animagined diasporic German refugee community. In fact, severalexpellee communities transplanted, re-constructed and re-inventedtheir former German ethno-regional identity into a new German andorAustrian regional context and, thus, avoided assimilation in theirnew homelands, where they became integrated parts of an ethnicmajority.The development of these ethno-regional communities willbe analyzed with regard to processes of class and genderformations. Furthermore, the studied ethno-regionalistcommunities- role during the still on-going process of theEuropean Union-s enlargement will be discussed. It will beargued that the construction of a culturalized-European- identity within the European Union, the riseof a new regionalism in Western Europe and the parallel process ofthe enlargement of the EU have promoted the goa

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-22468Local ID: 1711OAI: diva2:242781
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07

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Süssner, Henning
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Faculty of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Thematic Studies
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

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