The ambivalent exception: American occupation policy in postwar Germany and the formation of Jewish refugee spaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article looks at the history of Jewish refugees in Germany and their place in the formation of the postwar refugee regime from the perspective of space. Focusing on the US occupation zone, it examines the spatial practices of refugee management employed by the occupation authorities and considers how Jewish 'displaced persons' (DPs) themselves related to postwar German space. Fundamental policy contradictions structured the lives of DPs in American-occupied Germany. Although the US occupation authorities preferred to segregate displaced persons in camps, they also felt the need to demonstrate that they were not reproducing the Nazi camp regime. These competing objectives led to spatial 'indeterminacy' inside and outside the camps. A fundamental ambivalence also structured Jewish spatial practices. Jewish refugees desired the protection and separation that camps afforded, but they also wanted access to German space. These competing desires framed the emergence of Jewish 'spaces of exception' in the DP camps and in what was officially considered 'Germany'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfes018
Pages (from-to)452-473
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

Keywords

  • 'State of exception'
  • Displaced persons
  • Germany
  • Jewish refugees
  • Space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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