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Transcript for "From Population Exchange to Ethnic Cleansing: Forced Migration in 20th-Century Eastern Europe"

Youtube Lecture Module: From Population Exchange to Ethnic Cleansing: Forced Migration in 20th-Century Eastern Europe

Dr. Theodora Dragostinova of the Department of History at The Ohio State University developed this lecture module, available on CSEES' Youtube channel, to discuss how the practice of population management developed in the 20th-century and uses cases studies from Eastern Europe to explore the different trends and policies of population management that took place in this time period and their implications, in the past, present, and future.

Slide 1, 00:00:03.199 --> 00:00:29.000:

>>Theodora: The goal of this online module is to provide an overview of various practices of forced migration that occurred in Eastern Europe throughout the 20th century that span the spectrum of evacuation, removal, deportation, expulsion, population exchange, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide.

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[Slide #1 text: Dr. Theodora Dragostinova, Associate Professor, Department of History, The Ohio State University, https://history.osu.edu/people/dragostinova.1]

Slide 2, 00:00:29.000 --> 00:01:42.000:

>>Theodora: So it's important to start this discussion by providing some key definitions of the terms that we are going to be using. In the 1990s, in the context of the Yugoslav civil wars, international observers introduced a seemingly new term to describe aspects of the military campaigns targeting civilian populations--ethnic cleansing. And I invite you here to read several definitions that were provided by the experts working for the United Nations. What I'm showing here is also an image from the gravesite of Srebrenica. The cemetery that international community sponsored to commemorate those who were lost when over 8,000 Muslim boys and men were separated from the rest of the population by Serbian paramilitaries and executed and buried in mass graves, as a demonstration of this act of ethnic cleansing that could acquire genocidal proportions.

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[Image on slide #2 depicts a large field with white stone grave markers in rows and a woman standing by a large, low, wall-like stone monument in front with the names of victims inscribed in it.

Text on slide #2: Two definitions of ethnic cleansing are given and are quoted from the United Nations Commission of Experts, 1994: “Rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area” and “A purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas”.]    

Slide 3, 00:01:42.000 --> 00:02:49:000:

>>Theodora: And the link between ethnic cleansing and genocide is important here because we have had a definition of what we understand genocide to be. A definition that was necessary for us to understand the magnitude of the crimes committed in the context of World War Two and the Holocaust. However, often that definition provided too high a bar to be able to prosecute perpetrators internationally. Therefore it was also necessary to distinguish between genocide and ethnic cleansing to be able to provide a sense of justice for the victims of those crimes. However, the link between the two types of crimes against humanity is clear. What I am going to further argue here is those two types of atrocities, ethnic cleansing and genocide, were in fact a part….

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[Image on slide #3 shows a building and gate at Auschwitz.

Text on slide #3: “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e ) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”. Definition from the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.]

Slide 4, 00:02:49:000 --> 00:04:10.000:

>>Theodora: …of a larger process of making, throughout the 20th century, of making forced migration, a legitimate international tool of handling populations. In the course of the 20th century, what we see is the rise of state violence, in the context of war, but also in the context of the aftermath of the war, when we see the state bureaucracies directly involved in the perpetuation of violence through the use of state infrastructure and state resources. And in this context many scholars talk about aspects of what they call population management, or population politics, or the radical handling of populations who are seen as undesirable, as foreigners, as enemies. And this is exactly the context in which forced migration became one of these new administrative tools that the state used vis-a-vis populations that were seen as undesired. In the context of forced migration what we think in the early 20th century,…

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[Image on slide #4 shows injured men sitting atop a train car.

Text on slide #4: A larger context: The twentieth century as the time of forced migration (typically, under the cover of war). The twentieth century saw the rise of state violence, or violence perpetuated by the state bureaucracy using state resources and infrastructure; Historians analyze various aspects of “population politics” or policies of “population management” during war; and practices of forced migration because people have no choice but to move.]

Slide 5, 00:04:10.000 --> 00:05:32.000:

>>Theodora: …is how we are experiencing the initiation of a brand new practice of population management that is population exchange. The exchange of populations, the virtual swapping of populations in territories for one or another. And typically population exchange is implemented in the aftermath of war, with the intention of separating people who had fought against each other, with the goal of preventing violence and providing financial and economic assets for the adaptation and resettlement of the affected individuals. But again population exchange has various manifestations. Sometimes it is intended to be a voluntary population exchange, giving the people the option to relocate. However, very often, it acquires the dimensions of a compulsory population exchange. So the argument I'm going to also introduce here, is that population exchange could actually lead to additional violence and additional chaos and could radicalize in a way that might become an aspect of ethnic cleansing as well. And I also want to pay attention that there have been…

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[Text on slide #5: Another precedent from the twentieth century: Population exchange. Typically, population exchange is implemented after a war with the intention of separating people who had fought against each other, preventing more violence from happening, and providing economic assets for the resettlement and adaptation of the affected individuals. Sometimes population exchange is “voluntary” but more often it is “compulsory”. The argument: Population exchange could lead to additional chaos and violence, thus becoming an aspect of ethnic cleansing.]

Slide 6, 00:05:32.000 --> 00:07:40.000:

>>Theodora: …different terms used throughout the 20th century to describe different aspects of these policies of forced migration, and I have listed some of these terms as they developed during the 20th century. I want you to pay attention to the first category here. The term the unmixing of peoples was used by the British diplomat Lord Curzon, who was serving as an international observer in the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War One and who in this context was suggesting that the international community should be implementing the unmixing of people belonging to different religions and speaking different languages. And in fact this obsession with unmixing became a core practice, a core logic, actually informing the various practices of forced migration during the 20th century because the logic of unmixing or ethnic unmixing went hand-in-hand with the aspirations of nationalism, to create nationally homogeneous, nationally pure territories, which would be void of ethnic minorities, which will be purged uh from undesired ethnic minorities. So all of these policies that I'm going to be discussing today are only understood in the context of nationalism and nationalist obsession with ethnic and national and racial purity, as opposed to the mixing of people and mixing populations. That's why I think it's legitimate to describe all of those practices as practices of ethnic unmixing. Again this obsession with ethnic or racial purity was key. Now two further clarifications before we start examining…

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[Text on Slide #6: How did the terms describing these practices evolve during the 20th century? 1) The “unmixing of peoples” (Lord Curson, early 20th century); 2) Repatriation (after the Great War); 3) Emigration of minorities (1919 Neuilly Convention); 4) Exchange of populations (1923 Lausanne Convention); 5) Removal of unwanted people, esp. to ghettos and reservations (World War II); 6) The Final Solution (The Holocaust); 7) Transfer (1945 Potsdam treaty); 8) Genocide (1948 UN Convention); and 9) Ethnic cleansing (Defined by the UN in the 1990s). These were all practices of “ethnic unmixing” connected to nationalism and the creation of nationally homogenous territories without minorities.]  

Slide 7, 00:07:40.000 --> 00:08:10.800:

>>Theodora: …the historical examples. I am mainly going to focus here on the period of the first half of the 20th century, and going to look mainly at events surrounding the Balkan Wars, World War One and World War Two, which in the context of these military conflicts, we see the implementation of increasingly radical policies of population management. So we will…

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[Slide #7 depicts a timeline showing the starting point as 1912-1913 with the Balkan Wars, the second point is 1914-18, the period of World War One and during which it is noted the Armenian Genocide occurred as well as population exchanges from 1919-1923, and finally ending with the period of 1939-1948 that is associated with World War Two during which 60 million people were on the move, the Holocaust took place from 1942-1945, and then transfers after the war from 1945-1948.]

Slide 8, 00:08:10.800 --> 00:09:08.000:

>>Theodora: …follow the evolution of these policies and we will focus mainly, exclusively, on the area of Eastern Europe. And here I'm using the term Eastern Europe as a geographical designation. Those maps, especially the map on the right, will allow you to see what are the territories that I'm mainly going to focus on, even though that I'm also actually treating for the purposes of our examination Greece and Turkey as part of the larger area of uh Eastern Europe. The various terms that historians use to talk about Eastern Europe – Central Europe, East-Central Europe, Southeastern Europe. Here for my purposes I am designating Eastern Europe to mean the lands between Germany and Russia and their peculiar processes occurring in these lands, that will be the focus of our examination.

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[Slide #8 shows two maps side-by-side. The map on the left shows a map of Europe that includes the countries of (from left to right, top to bottom): Iceland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Monaco, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Italy, Malta, Vatican, San Marino, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. While the map on the right specifies the countries of Eastern Europe as: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria countries that are located between the territorial boundaries of today's Germany and Russia and are the focus of the presentation.]

Slide 9, 00:09:08.000 --> 00:10:11.440:

>>Theodora: So let's begin with our historical examples. And when we think about the precedents that led to the formalization of population politics, of population management, of forced migration, as a key tool for handling populations, we really need to look closely at the years of the wars in the nineteen teens, the years of the Balkan Wars between 1912 and 1913, followed by World War One between 1914 and 1918. And I want to emphasize that for some places in Eastern Europe, the entire period between 1912 and 1918, and sometimes well into the 1920s, was a period of war. Of fighting and military campaigns, and disturbances and uncertainty. So that was a time of non-stop conflict.

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[Slide #9 background shows excerpts from two maps. The map on the left shows military campaigns showing the conflict area of the Balkan Wars in 1912-1913 that covers large areas of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Albania. The map on the right shows major fronts in World War One that occurred in present day Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovenia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece in 1914.

Text in the middle of slide #9: The precedent: Wars, border changes, and refugees. From the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) to World War One (1914-1918): Non-stop conflict during the 1910s.]

Slide 10, 00:10:11.440 --> 00:11:16.000:

>>Theodora: The Balkan Wars began as a war between the Christian allies, of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, excuse me, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece against the Ottoman Empire [speakers indicates with the cursor the countries involved in the Balkan Wars that are highlighted on the map on the right side of the slide: Bulgaria in the east fighting against its neighbor to the west Serbia, Montenegro and Greece to the south, Romania to the north, and the Ottoman Empire to the southeast. These countries all make up the Balkan peninsula and thus the war covered a huge land area]. So the Christian allies fought together against the Ottoman Empire. However, disagreements over how exactly to split up the lands of the Ottoman Empire led to the escalation of tensions between the Christian allies, and then led to the Second Balkan War in which Bulgaria fought against the rest of the countries, namely, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece but also Romania, as well as against the Ottoman Empire. So the entire region of the Balkan peninsula experienced, extremely harsh military campaigns in which prior allies had now become enemies. And because the goal of all the powers was to split up the territories of the Ottoman Empire in Europe among themselves,…

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[Slide #10 text: The Balkan Wars (1912-1913) – From “Christian Allies” to “fratricide”.]

Slide 11, 00:11:16.000 --> 00:12:26.500:

>>Theodora: …one of the techniques that they used in order to be able to claim these territories was to target civilian populations that were deemed to be detrimental to their own national causes. So now you see the armies but also paramilitary formations targeting civilians because they did not speak the right language, they did not follow the right religion, or they did not have the right ethnicity. And in this context, we see the mass flight of civilians, who fled their villages and towns as refugees and fled to neighboring territories where they could have security and protection. And as you can see from some of these images here, very often these refugees were actually women and children because the men were summoned to fight. The men were rounded up in the various armies, or again in the paramilitary formations. Perhaps some of the most dramatic movements of people…

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[Slide #11 shows two images to illustrate point of who were the people fleeing these conflicts. Both images show groups of people, presumably refugees living in camps. Most are women and children.]

Slide 12, 00:12:26.500 --> 00:12:56.500:

>>Theodora: …that occurred during this time period, was actually the flight of Muslims, who were now fearing the Christian armies, and who were fleeing in huge numbers the original areas of residence and actually they were trying to get to the Ottoman Empire. The numbers are unknown but some historians put the number upward of one million Muslims who now fled as refugees from the Balkans.

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[Slide #12 shows a map with the Ottoman Empire in the east, Greece at the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula across the Aegean Sea from the Ottoman Empire and bordered to the north by an area of the Ottoman Empire that extended north into the Balkan peninsula, with Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria farther north. Arrows show how the armies of Greece moved north, while Montenegrin, Serbian, and Bulgarian forces advanced south to try to claim these Ottoman territories in the Balkan peninsula that resulted in the movement of Turkish and Albanian refugees from these areas in the Balkan peninsula southeast back to the Ottoman Empire.

Text on slide #12: The flight of up to 1 million Muslims from the Balkans: A massive refugee wave often encouraged by the state.]

Slide 13, 00:12:56.500 -- > 00:14:37.000:

>>Theodora: …And in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars because of the magnitude of civilian casualties, and because of the level of violence, there was an international commission constituted whose goal was to look into the development of the conflict and how it affected civilian population. And the observations and the the records of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace investigation clearly show us patterns of behavior vis-à-vis civilian populations that constitute practices of ethnic cleansing. Because people were often targeted again because of their religion, because of their language, because of their perceived ethnicity, and purged from specific territories, which the rival nation wanted to claim for its own country. So even before the emergence of the term ethnic cleansing, we actually see the institution of practices that could be described with this term. So here it is interesting to actually have this conversation. Can we talk about ethnic cleansing before the term is coined? Before the term is defined? And what do we lose and what do we gain when we use this  term to describe these practices. Now, after the end of the Balkan War, unfortunately, one year…

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[Slide #13 shows three images. The image on the left shows a field in which dead bodies are laying ready for burial. The center image shows a muddy field with refugees walking and in horse drawn carriages. The third shows the cover of the report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “Report of the International Commission To Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars.”

Slide #13 text: Civilian casualties and forced migrations – were those practices of ethnic cleansing (before we even knew the term)?]

Slide 14, 00:14:37.000 -- > 00:15:16.560:

>>Theodora: …what we see is that Eastern Europe, and particularly the Balkans, were engulfed by violence again because World War One started in 1914. In the context of fighting throughout the European continent, what we are seeing now is further radicalization of these policies of population management. And I also want to emphasize that these were policies that were not used just by Eastern Europeans vis-a-vis their populations. In fact many of the Western countries were using very similar, …

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[Slide #14 shows a map of battles and troop movements on the Eastern Front of World War One as German forces pushed into Russia and Austro-Hungarian forces pushed into the Balkans.

Slide #14 text: World War One (1914-1918).]

Slide 15, 00:15:16.560 -- > 00:16:07.000:

>>Theodora: …policies. What we think is that in the context of this Great War now all of the countries were implementing radical measures of population management that included for example the internment of dangerous foreigners to special internment camps, the deportation of foreign citizens who were deemed to be dangerous for the security of the country. And here you are seeing in these pictures, in particular pictures from Great Britain, which in the aftermath of the eruption of World War One actually rounded up German citizens, who were now of course fighting on the opposite side, so they were seen as dangerous. And the situation...

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[Slide #15 shows three images. The image on the top left is people standing in a line. The image on the bottom left is make-shift beds in a large hall of a church. The image on the top right is a camp with an enclosed fence for German citizens living in Britain.

Slide #15 text: Radical measures of population management: The deportation and interment of dangerous foreigners. Pictured here: Germans in Britain.]

Slide 16, 00:16:07.000 -- > 00:16:46.000:

>>Theodora: …was similar in Eastern Europe on the Eastern Front. One might actually argue that World War One was even more dramatic because it truly saw [speaker users the cursor to point out the Eastern Front on the top right hand corner of the map, the most western portion of Russia] the clash of the four empires: the Russian, the Austrian, the German, and the Ottoman Empire [speaker indicates the territories of the four empires, with Germany in the central, northern part of Europe, Austro-Hungarian Empire directly south of the German Empire, Russia bordering both the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires to the east, and the Ottoman Empire in the far south-east], which were all fighting and advancing their various goals, and also the various Balkan countries [speaker indicates the Balkan countries of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece who were bordered on the north by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and to the south by the Ottoman Empire] had their own agendas as well. Because of the vast amount of territory that the war on the Eastern Front covered,…

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[Slide#16 shows the same map as on slide #14 but a larger portion of it to emphasize the vast amount of territory at war in Europe as four empires fought against each other, as well as allied nations in Western Europe. Large fronts existed in Belgium and France to the west, as well as those previously mentioned on the Eastern Front in present day Germany, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, as well as in the Balkans.

Slide #16 text: World War One on the Eastern Front: The clash of the Russian, Austrian, German, and Ottoman Empires (1914-1918).]

Slide 17, 00:16:46.000 -- > 00:18:02.000:

>>Theodora: …what we're actually seeing the constant swinging [speaker uses the cursor to indicate the area on the map that is the swinging line of the Eastern Front that shifted back and forth from west to east from 1914-18, with Russia being farthest to the east (right), and the Austro-Hungarian and German armies on the left (west) advancing back and forth], in the border between Russia and Germany and Austria-Hungary as the military campaigns advanced and then retreated, as the troops went forward and then again withdrew, what we're seeing is this constant change of the line of the battle. And that covered vast territories and often populations fled the various armies in a process that Peter Gatrell has described as a "whole empire walking" on the shifting borders between Germany and Austria-Hungary on one hand, and the Soviet Union and Russia on the other. So you have millions of people, who are now fleeing military conflict as refugees. So what we think is with the radicalization of these policies, now we have a vast increase in the number of people who could be described as refugees, and I'm going to return to this point in uh a little bit because we are basically seeing the emergence of the modern notion of a refugee as a result of the war. But also importantly,…

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[Slide #17 text: A “whole empire walking” on the shifting borders between Germany and Russia/Soviet Union.

Three images are on slide #17. The image on the top left is of a map showing the fluctuations of the location of the Eastern Front from 1914, showing the Russian army having advanced very far west into the lands of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires in 1914, the Eastern Front line in 1917 at the time of the Russian Revolution that shows that the German and Austro-Hungarian armies had advanced several hundred kilometers to the east between 1914 and 1917 into the lands of the Russian Empire, and finally the Eastern Front in 1918 when the Austro-Hungarian and German Armies had pushed even further east, even further into the territory of the Russian Empire, capturing large swathes of what is today Belarus, Ukraine, and southwestern Russia. The image on the bottom left and top right show families who have packed their belongings into carts or automobiles to flee from advancing armies.]

Slide 18, 00:18:02.000 -- > 00:20:20.240:

>>Theodora: …World War One and the fighting, the military campaigns, became a pretext and cover for even more radical population solutions that led to the first genocide committed in areas adjacent to Europe and of course I'm talking here about the Armenian Genocide. Between 1915 and 1916, the Ottoman Empire, which was of course also fighting against Russia, and this is the border between the Ottoman Empire and Russia [speaker shows on the map the border between what would have been the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, in the Caucasus, the northeast corner of the map, between present day Turkey and Armenia]. The Ottoman Empire wanted to prevent the formation of an Armenian independent state, and also used the war as a pretext to claim that the Armenians were collaborating with the Russians and using this pretext, it started rounding up Armenian populations, and marching them literally from their homeland [speaker indicates on the map the area from which Armenians were forced to flee in the Caucasus in the northeast, across Turkey, to the southwest deserts in present day Syria] to the Syrian desert in extremely harsh conditions where people had no access to food or water and many perished in the process, but also Ottoman authorities and also paramilitaries, in slaughtered, literally massacred hundreds of thousands Armenians. And this is the context in which we have the targeting, deliberate targeting, and elimination, for elimination, of one particular population defined as an ethnic group. So the Armenian Genocide claims between 750 and over 1 million victims, we don't have the precise numbers, but it was in the context of war that the Ottoman Empire managed to launch these absolutely systematic policies of targeting the Armenian populations and eliminating them because they were deemed to be enemies. Many of the surviving Armenians fled the Ottoman Empire, and they went to Europe, and they also joined the rank of refugees, which helped actually create a positive image for the plight of refugees in post-war Europe. As did…

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[Text on slide #18: Under the cover of war: The Armenian Genocide, 1915-16.

There are three images on slide #18. The top two images show Armenian refugees fleeing the violence and massacres that were occurring in the Ottoman Empire as part of the Armenian Genocide. The image on the lower left is a map of the Anatolian peninsula and Caucasus that shows the territories of the Ottoman Empire, the routes that Armenian were forced to march, concentration camps, and areas in which there were mass causalities.]

Slide 19, 00:20:20.240 -- > 00:21:31.500:

>>Theodora: …another group, and this is the group of White Russian refugees who fled Russia in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution. When the Bolshevik Revolution began in the midst of World War One in 1917, it led to the withdrawal of Russia from the conflict. But then with the victory of the Bolsheviks, a civil war ensued between the Bolsheviks on the one hand, and representatives of various formations still loyal to the emperor, to the Russian Empire. Many members of the clergy, members of the officer corps, members of the bureaucracy, their families, and also anyone who deemed that they will be in danger under the Bolshevik regime. Often these people fled the Russian Empire because they feared for their life, and then their their arrival in Europe, in Western Europe, raised awareness for the plight of refugees.

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[Text on slide #19: The Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and civil war (1918-1920) led to the flight of White Russian refugees.

Images on slide #19: The image on the top left is of White Russian refugees, showing priest, military officers, and other dignitaries. On the top right is an image of a refugee camp in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) showing women washing clothes. A map on the bottom left shows the vast expanse of the Russian Empire and the areas where resistance to the Bolsheviks and fighting took place by the White Army following the 1917 revolution, mostly in the western portion of the country, west of the Ural Mountains.]  

Slide 20, 00:21:31.500 -- > 00:23:12.000:

>>Theodora: Now what we are seeing during and immediately after the Great War is really the birth of the modern conception of a refugee. As a result of the conflict, in the duration of four to six years, because in some areas actually the worst refugee movements the occurred after the war, not necessarily during the war, but in the aftermath of the war. As a result of the conflict between 10 and 12 million people were forcibly on the move, in other words were subjected to various practices of forced migration, and thus became refugees. So in the aftermath of World War One, what we are seeing is the beginning of the codification of the modern conception, of the modern term, referring to refugees. I'm providing you here with a contemporary term. However I think that this term, which is broader and more inclusive, captures quite nicely the reality of who were the refugees -- people fleeing war, violence, conflict, or persecution and who cross an international border to find safety in another country. I believe this is a very precise but at the same time broad definition that allows for the accommodation of various circumstances. So what you're seeing is in in the in the in the immediate aftermath of the war, people thinking actively about the plight of those millions of people who had fled their countries in search of safety.

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[Slide #20 text: The birth of the modern refugee during and after the Great War: Between 10 and 12 million people forcibly on the move. “Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country.” –UNHCR definition based on the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.] 

Slide 21, 00:23:12.000 --> 00:24:22.000:

>>Theodora: And that became an international problem, the plight of the refugees led to international involvement. The newly constituted League of Nations established a new international organization, the High Commissariat for Russian Refugees, whose goal was to provide help to the White Russian refugees in particular, and that organization was under the leadership of Fridtjof Nansen pictured here, who actually received the Nobel Prize for Peace because of his work on behalf of the refugees, and this organization became the precursor to today's United Nations High Commission on Refugees. It had a more narrow mandate because it was focused on one group of people, but nevertheless it established important policies that governed the way international institutions and organizations treated refugees in the years to come. So World War One was a watershed in many ways,…

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[Slide #21 text: International involvement: The League of Nations and the High Commissariat for Russian Refugees under the leadership of Fridtjof Nansen – the precursor to today’s United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).

Images on slide #21: The photo on the left is of Fridtjof Nansen. The photo on the top right shows Nansen standing in the middle of a large crowd of refugees.]

Slide 22, 00:24:22.000 --> 00:26:35.120:

>>Theodora:…and it was also a key period in which we see the experimentation with another practice that I want to discuss here, and that is specifically the practice of population exchange. Population exchange was first practiced in Southeastern Europe in the Balkans. Actually, the first instance of population exchange on a small scale occurred after the Balkan Wars, when a population of about a 100,000 was swapped between the border between Bulgaria and Turkey, right here [speaker points to a small area of land on the map where Bulgaria and Turkey bordered each other, the small strip of land to the west of Istanbul that connects to the European continent]. 100,000 people were swapped between the two countries. But in the aftermath of World War One, that practice was expanded to also accommodate other population. And again the goal of population exchange was to proactively fix the ethnic composition of problematic areas, that had seen as the cause of violence, or that had been seen as sort of like potentially being able to cause more violence. The first internationally sanctioned population exchange took place between Bulgaria and Greece [speaker points to the Balkan peninsula on the map where Greece and Bulgaria bordered each other to show an area of land that came under Greek control following the war that was on the coast close to the former Ottoman Empire/Turkey]. The two countries had fought against each other, both in the Balkan Wars and World War One, and both countries had claims over the same territories, and these are these territories that formerly belonged to the Ottoman Empire and the borderlands between these territories that victorious Greece actually ended up incorporating in its territory in the math of World War One. And in order to pacify the situation between Bulgaria and Greece and help with calming down the situation between the two countries, which had fought as enemies for more…

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[Slide #22 text: Another solution: Population exchange in the Balkans (Southeastern Europe) during and after the Great War.

On the right side of slide #22 is an excerpt of a map. The map shows the lands of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey the flows of people into and out of these countries from 1915 – 1923.]

Slide 23, 00:26:35.120 --> 00:28:28.399:

>>Theodora:…than 10 years, the League of Nations included in the peace treaty between Bulgaria and Allies, a convention for the voluntary and reciprocal, immigration of minorities between Bulgaria and Greece. And according to that document, basically the document guaranteed the voluntary choice of each individual to either remain in their place of birth as a minority, or to relinquish their current citizenship, relocate to the other country, which they perceived as their national homeland, and to receive compensation for their real estate left behind. In other words the convention had provisions, which allowed people who felt insecure in the aftermath of the war to be inhabiting a country that saw them as enemies, as foreigners, allowed them the financial means to relocate to another country, but also guaranteed that they will receive compensation for their properties left behind that then they can use as money that will help them with accommodation and adaptation to the new country of residence. So there was an elaborate process, and this is some of the documents associated with the convention, elaborate process by which people could file a declaration for immigration, list their properties, their family, neighbors [speaker uses the cursor to point to the left and center document as examples of the forms that people completed], and testified that here that from this point on, they wished to be considered citizens of the other country. Under the provisions of this convention, more than 150,000 people…

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[Text on slide #23: The League of Nations in action: The Neuilly Treaty of 1919 (between Bulgaria and the Allies) & The Convention for Voluntary and Reciprocal Emigration of Minorities between Bulgaria and Greece.

On slide #23 there are images of three pages from actual documents that people submitted as part of this process to apply for citizenship and compensation to emigrate to another country.]

 Slide 24, 00:28:28.399 --> 00:29:51.279:

>>Theodora:…actually left their territories. Some of them did that voluntarily, but actually very few people did so. What ultimately happened is that increasingly over the course of time, people experienced extreme pressure. Peer pressure from nationalists in their own communities who wanted to see them go to the other country, but there were also people from the rival ethnic group, who wanted to get rid of minorities for their own reasons, so they were putting pressure on minority populations to file declarations for immigration and go to the other country. So even though this population exchange was envisioned as voluntary, in the end, it ended up actually triggering additional migration and compelling, forcing many individuals to sell their properties, to resettle, and to permanently relocate to a different country, and for some of these people, that was something that they did not necessarily desire, but they ended up having to do because of the various pressures that they experienced in their local settings. Now when we talk about population exchange,…

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[Slide #24 image: Greeks departing from Bulgaria (Mesemvria/Nesebar) under the 1919 Convention for Emigration, 1925. Image shows people standing on the shore with many small wooden boats extremely full of people departing].

Slide 25, 00:29:51.279 --> 00:33:00.000:

>>Theodora:…the most dramatic case, the most dramatic example of a population exchange that occurred during this time period, was the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish War of 1920 - 1922. After the end of World War One, the Sèvres Treaty between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies, put on this area [speaker points to map on right of slide that shows Anatolian peninsula and indicates areas on the western coast of Anatolia that was put under Greek administration. Greeks landed on this area of the Aegean coast and then spread further north and east into the area. Arrows show different paths and time frames for groups of Greeks moving further into Turkey, and Turkish nationalists as a result moving west to meet the Greeks at the Aegean Coast area] of what is today Turkey, under Greek administration and occupation, and as the Greeks started landing on the coast, on the Aegean coast, they actually started expanding their control over the area, triggering the harsh reaction of Turkish nationalists who mobilized to defend their land, their country, what they saw is their rightful country, rightful land, against what they perceive as the Greek invaders, and a war ensued between Greece and Turkey, which raged for two years, and which was conducted in a extremely harsh way and which saw the spread of massacres against civilian populations throughout the area. And you can see in some of these maps how um badly affected the entire area of Western Anatolia was as a result of this war.

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[Slide #25 text: The Greco-Turkish War of 1920-22 after the Sèvres Treaty between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies  (The Turkish War of Independence).

Slide #25 images: The map on the left of the slide marks towns in western Anatolia that were burnt due from 1919-1922 due to the hostilities between Greece and Turkey. 24 towns in western Anatolia in all were burnt down, with all but two of the fires started by the Greek Army. The map on the right, as described in the transcript above, shows the movements of Greeks into the territory of Anatolia as they landed on the western Aegean coast of Anatolia and moved east, inland, and Turkish nationalists moving west to defend against the Greeks.]

Slide 26, 00:33:00.000 --> 00:32:05.760:

>>Theodora:…People fled violence in huge numbers. That process escalated after Turkish nationalists entered the port of Izmir, Smyrna, which was the site of actually the location of an important, significant, prosperous Greek merchant colony, and set that city on fire, causing even more chaos and more refugee flight, as people were…

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[Slide #26 text: Refugees: People fleeing violence and destruction during the war.

Slide #26 images: Image on the top left shows a long column of presumably refugees moving by horse or walking in a long line across a rugged expanse. Image on the bottom left shows a crowded dock by a town front that has been destroyed, and the third photo on the top right shows a lone ferry crossing a river with families and a cart on it.]

Slide 27, 00:32:05.760 --> 00:32:31.519:

>>Theodora:…desperately trying to leave Smyrna on vessels sent to them by the Greek government, which was trying to help them evacuate. But there were simply not enough ships available for people to flee. So you're seeing here these overcrowded ships and people being left behind because there was no way to accommodate everyone. And in the aftermath…

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[Slide #27 images: Photo on top left shows people standing very closely together pushing to grab items, a loaf of bread is in one person’s hand at the front. Photo on bottom left shows a small boat getting ready to leave port with a long line of people still standing in line on the dock. And the image at the top right shows a very crowded ship deck.]

Slide 28, 00:32:31.519 --> 00:35:31.040:

>>Theodora:…of this humanitarian tragedy, there was another conference and another peace treaty negotiation that ensued that led to the signing of a new treaty for the Ottoman Empire, the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which had important consequences because it actually led to the creation of the Turkish Republic and reversed the territorial arrangements of the previous treaty, but most important for our purposes here, it also sanctioned a population exchange because previously in January there was a convention concerning the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations signed. The goal of that convention was to stop the violence had that had already uprooted so many hundreds of thousands of people. To stop the violence, and also to help the people who are already fleeing, relocate, accommodate, adapt to new places. What is interesting here is that this population exchange used the criterion of religion. So it spoke about the exchange of populations defined as religious rather than linguistic or ethnic minorities. So that was an compulsory exchange. No one had the right to stay behind. A compulsory exchange between Greek Orthodox Christians living in Turkey, who now had to resettle to Greece, and of Muslims living in Greece who now had to resettle to Turkey. There were some small exceptions that were, there was some some populations that were allowed to stay in place on the reciprocal grounds. So small exceptions, but the vast majority of Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians had to be exchanged. And we are talking here cumulatively upwards or close to 2 million people, of which about half a million of Muslims who fled Greece and close to a million and a half Christians who fled the Ottoman Empire. Now something that I want to emphasize as I am discussing this treaty that because of the treaty, and because of the practice of compulsory population exchange, that was not a population exchange applied only to areas that had suffered extreme violence, that was an exchange that was also applied to areas that had been actually able to avoid violence during the war. So there were people who never experienced massacres and fighting who actually now had to relocate to the other country under the provisions…

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[Slide #28 text: A new treaty for the Ottoman Empire: The Treaty of Lausanne, 1923. Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations, January 1923 (The goal: Preventing more violence and helping integration). The criterion of religion: The compulsory exchange of Greek Orthodox from Turkey to Greece and of Muslims from Greece to Turkey (with some small, reciprocal exceptions).

Slide #28 images: The excerpt of the map on the top right of the slide uses arrows to show Greeks being relocated from the Caucasus, Turkey, the Soviet Union, and Bulgaria back to Greece. Armenians were also relocated from Turkey to Bulgaria and Greece. While Turks were relocated from Greece to Turkey as a result of the Treaty of Lausanne. The excerpt of the map on the bottom shows the Anatolian peninsula with the territory that was to become Turkey highlighted, with the capital indicated as Ankara. Treaty of Lausanne is prominently written in the middle of the peninsula.]

Slide 29, 00:35:31.040 --> 00:37:09.000:

>>Theodora:… of this treaty. And what you're seeing extremely dramatic situations in people, in which people are literally given a week, a few days, to gather their belongings, to dispense with their property, to be able to organize their lives so that they may embark on a boat and leave and go to the other country. So now as a result of this convention for the compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey, what you are seeing is the systematic, radical removal of populations defined by their religion under the supervision of the international community. And again if we return here to the definition of ethnic cleansing, what was happening with the removal of these populations one might claim actually reminds very much practices of ethnic cleansing. By removing, by purging territories of populations that belong to a particular ethnic group. So the goal might have been to stop violence, and to help with the accommodation of refugees, but actually the effect of population exchange was that it mandated the forced relocation of people who had not been affected by war and violence previously. And by doing that, the outcome was to purge territories from people who didn't want to resettle but they had to because of their religion.

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[Slide 29 text: The removal of targeted populations after the signing of the Convention.

Images on slide #29: The top left image shows people crowded onto a sailboat. Bottom left image shows a heavily loaded boat and a dock on which many people are standing in front of a town on a coast. The image on the top right shows three boats, the foremost heavily loaded with people.]

Slide 30, 00:37:09.000 --> 00:37:45.920:

>>Theodora:…So as I mentioned, upwards of 2 million refugees, 2 million people became refugees as a result of this population exchange, and both Greece and Turkey faced extremely difficult conditions of accommodating such vast numbers of people, in particularly in Greece, that was a very dramatic development because Greece was exhausted after years of fighting, weak, and lacked economic resources to accommodate a million and a half refugees. And…

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[Text on slide #30: 2 million refugees as a result of the population exchange. Difficult conditions of accommodation.

Images on slide #30: The image on the left shows people walking in front of white tents that are in front of a building with tall front pillars. The image on the top right shows a coast, with two boats in a body of water surrounded by a shore and hills. People and tents are amassed at the base of the hills.]

 Slide 31, 00:37:45.920 --> 00:38:12.160:

>>Theodora:…again in this context what we see is the intervention of the international community, the League of Nations actually helped with the accommodation of the Greek refugees by helping building refugee villages, by financing various agricultural projects to be able to provide people with the means to survive.

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[Slide #31 text: Refugee accommodation with the help of the League of Nations. The international community closely involved in the refugees’ integration.

Slide #31 images: The image on the left shows a flat field with small huts or houses built in a regular pattern across it. The image on the right is a close-up photo of a small house with people working in front of it with tools and equipment around the front.]

Slide 32, 00:38:12.160 --> 00:40:11.119:

>>Theodora: But what the Lausanne Treaty did, and universally internationally it was considered to be success, if you read the proceedings of international negotiations, of international conventions, of diplomatic negotiations, you will see that politicians universally saw Lausanne as a success. What we should ask here is, does really the practice of compulsory population exchange constitute an aspect of ethnic cleansing? And was this in particular, a process of ethnic cleansing sanctioned, encouraged, by the international community as intermediaries? And what gives international observers the right to classify or to term the execution of the Lausanne Convention as a success, given the fact that the people who were actually targeted for removal, for forced migration, often did not want to do this and then they faced conditions of deprivation in the need to adjust to a completely foreign environment, in order to serve as this example of quote unquote success? So there are a lot of things that one can think about and discuss in the context of population exchange, what exactly happened in 1923 and what sorts of precedents did it create for future developments of this radical population politics that I am discussing in this presentation. Because ultimately if we start examining...

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[Slide #32 text: The “success” of Lausanne. Compulsory population exchange as ethnic cleansing?

Images on slide #32: On the top right, the same map as on slide #28 is shown that shows the direction of the populations flows as a result of the compulsory population exchanges that took place as a result of the Lausanne Treaty. Image on the bottom right shows three boats with the closest one being very full of people.]

Slide 33, 00:40:11.119 --> 00:42:00.000:

>>Theodora:…subsequent events, what we're going to see is that extremely dangerous precedents were set in the early part of the 20th century, because as a result of this perception of Lausanne as a success, forced population movements, forced migration, was now seen as a legitimate tool of unmixing population, as let me emphasize, successful tool for unmixing population. So when the next global conflict happened in Europe only some 20 years later, in the course of World War Two we see the institution of even more radical policies of population movement, which often also included forced population movements, the movement of forced laborers, but also the exchange of populations. And the cumulative numbers of people who were subjected to forced migration during and after the Second World War in Europe are truly staggering, some 60 million people at one point of the conflict or the other, had to move against their will. Again because of this normalization of the concept of forced population movement, as a legitimate, successful tool of managing populations. Now in the context of World War Two, there is no doubt that the most radical policies of population…

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[Text slide #33: A dangerous precedent: Forced population movements seen as a legitimate tool of “unmixng”. Over 60 million Europeans on the movie during and after World War Two.

The image on slide #33 is a map of Europe during World War Two. It shows that the war’s events occurred throughout Western Europe, Northern Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe from 1942-45.]

Slide 34, 00:42:00.000 --> 00:43:20.000:

>>Theodora:…management were reserved vis-a-vis the Jewish populations. First the Jews in Germany, but then all the Jewish populations under Nazi administration. And what we're seeing is as the conflict evolved, as World War Two escalated, so did the Nazi policies of population management vis-à-vis the Jews. With the beginning of the war, the Nazi bureaucratic machine immediately started thinking about the option of immigration because it wanted to get rid of the Jewish populations. There were various plans where exactly those Jewish populations would be sent to, in order to not, in the racial thinking of the Nazis, be contaminating German soil. So the Germans were thinking in terms of immigration, even to Madagascar off the coast of Africa. But then when the war evolved, they started moving Jewish populations further to the east, and very soon after the war developed, they started…

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[Slide #34 text: Under the cover of war again. The removal of the Jewish populations to ghettos.

The image on slide #34 is an excerpt from a map showing the extent of Nazi occupied territories at the furthest extent of their control in 1944. Nazi control extended south of Rome, across France, north to Denmark, to the Eastern Front, and throughout the majority of the Balkan peninsula.]

Slide 35, 00:42:00.000 --> 00:43:56.079:

>>Theodora:…opening up ghettos, where they started putting Jewish populations in these ghettos, and even reservations. So they were rounding up entire areas and emptying them of Jewish populations, and taking them to, up to, ghettos. And then of course as the war escalated, and I'm not going to go in detail here because this history is known well, as the war escalated,…

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[Text on slide #35: Removing undesired populations: The Jewish ghettos.

Images on slide #35: Image on top left shows a Nazi officer stopping and inspecting the documents of a group of men. On the bottom left, the image shows a cart loaded high with household items. The image on the top right shows a brick wall being built across a road to block it.]

Slide 36, 00:43:56.079 --> 00:44:38.000:

>>Theodora:…by 1942 the architects of the Final Solution had already come up with a comprehensive plan, how to go from the removal to the destruction of the Jewish population of Europe. So in the beginning of 1942, we see the Final Solution, followed by the mass deportation of Jews to extermination camps, which became operational by the summer of 42, and which continued functioning.

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[Text on slide #36: From removal to destruction: The Final Solution and the deportation of Jews to extermination camps.

Image on slide #36: Slide #36 shows the same map as on slide #34 that shows the extent of Nazi control in 1944. This version of the maps shows arrows that indicate transfer routes of Jewish populations from the various territories under Nazi control back to Germany to extermination camps.]

Slide 37, 00:44:38.000 --> 00:45:56.500:

>>Theodora: By the end of the war, the technology of genocide was put in place, it was activated, it included the the use of state bureaucracy, state infrastructure, technology, again sponsored by the state and which led to the killing of more than six million individuals, a people who were targeted because of their perceived belonging to a hostile racial group. So again you can see this escalation of the policies of forced migration, how we can go from removal to destruction under the cover of war. And I want to point out that in the process of coming up with the Final Solution, Hitler was very much also looking at the experience of the Ottoman Empire with the Armenian Genocide and studying that experience. So we know for a fact that actually the architects of the Final Solution were looking at the lessons of those prior precedents, which they used for their own goals. However, …

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[Slide #37 text: The technology of genocide: 6 million people killed.

Images on slide #37: the image on the top left is an aerial image of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex that marks barracks, headquarters, convoy areas, etc. to illustrate the organized structure that the Nazis created to commit genocide. The image on the bottom left shows the metal entry gates to Auschwitz with the writing “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work makes you free). The image on the top right shows a large group of men, many of whom are holding suitcases, who have disembarked from a train walking across a platform with an officer at the front.]

Slide 38, 00:45:56.500 --> 00:47:42.960:

>>Theodora:…practices of forced migration did not end at the War's end, at the end of World War Two, and in fact you might claim that on one level, it accelerated after the War's end because in 1945, after the end of the war in August of 1945, what we see is that the victorious Allies authorized the so-called transfer, this is the word that they had used, transfer of Germans from territories where they now were part of minorities, to Germany, but also of other populations, of Poles, of Ukrainians that was connected to the shifting of the border of Poland. Poland was basically moved 200 kilometers to the west and territories that previously belonged to Poland were given to the Soviet Union [speaker indicates area on the right side of the map of Poland, in what would be eastern Poland that bordered the Soviet Union and were lands given to the Soviet Union], and Poland was compensated with German land for these territories that were given to the Soviet Union [speaker indicates an area on the left in the map of Poland, in what would be the western border between Poland and Germany]. So Poland was literally moved up 200 kilometers to the west and those territories that were previously [speaker moves cursor around to indicate the shifting of borders from east to west] inhabited by Germans were now subjected to the transfer of those Germans out of these territories to Germany [speaker points to area on the left of the map, which became western Poland, land previously held by Germany to show that in these areas, Germans were transferred out], and similarly territories that were given to the Soviet Union you see the transfer of Poles out of these territories up to Poland [speaker indicates the area on the right side on the map of Poland to indicate the areas that were Polish that were now transferred to the Soviet Union and thus Polish people in this area were subject to transfer back into the new Polish border]. So now you have another population exchange, which is termed transfer, between 14 and 16 million Europeans were swapped under those provisions and in the process…

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[Text on slide #38: After the war’s end: The “transfer” of 14-16 million Europeans (Germans, Poles, Ukrainians, etc.) under Allied supervision in 1945.

Image on slide #38: The image on the left is an excerpt from a map to indicate how as a result of World War Two, countries’ territorial boundaries were changed, and as a result, throughout Europe, people were forced to relocate to align with these new borders. The image on the right is a map of Poland, which shows the “The Curzon Line”. The Curzon Line demarcated a 200 kilometer area in the east of Poland that bordered the Soviet Union. At the end of the war, this area was ceded to the Soviet Union, and as a result, Polish territory was extended by a similar amount of area to compensate Poland, mainly in the west, on the border with Germany, as well as a small area in the north by the Baltic Sea.]

Slide 39, 00:47:42.960 --> 00:47:47.000:

>>Theodora:…more than one million people died. And again the vast majority of people who were transferred during this time period were again families, women and children, because the men were often still fighting, or they had not been demobilized. So we have now again the international community, actually using the precedent of Lausanne as a success, its perception of the Lausanne Convention, the population exchange between Greece and Turkey as a success, to justify what it thought would be an orderly and humane transfer of populations in the aftermath of World War Two. And the magnitude of this transfer is so huge that some historians of modern Europe actually talk about the ethnic cleansing of Europe. As a result of the transfer, the European territories would emerge as as nationally homogeneous as as they ever would be.

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[Text on slide #39: From “wild” to the ”orderly and humane transfers” between 1945-1948: The “ethnic cleansing of Europe”.

Image on slide #39: Top left shows young children standing holding bags and luggage with a train in the background. Bottom left shows a cart moving along a dirt road with people walking beside it, the road running next to a railway line. Top right shows a military truck backed up close to a train with many people milling about between the truck and train.]

Slide 40, 00:47:47.000 --> end:

>>Theodora:…So what are the lessons of this historical example? What should we be focusing on from this historical experience? And what I really want to dwell on is the fact that there truly is a slippery line between population exchange, transfer, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, and that in fact they are part of a spectrum that can go from voluntary population exchange, in which people are supposed to be having some agency to decide whether they want to move, to practices of genocide where people are physically exterminated for who they are. Now the goal of population exchange is to proactively fix the population composition of territories, with the goal of preventing more violence, but it is clear from the historical experience that population exchange has the propensity of creating more chaos, more volatility, more violence, because generally people don't want to leave their homes if they're given that option. Just for that reason population exchange could become the pretext, and actually the manifestation, of ethnic cleansing, because it deliberately removes groups based on their religion, on their language, on their ethnic characteristics, from particular territories, because the goal here is again to unmix territories, because the mixing is seen as a problem, as an aberration. So from that point, we're just so close to the next step, because once radical policies of removing populations is in place, the probability of escalating violence goes up, especially in conditions of war, often leading to genocidal policies that not only remove, but actively destroy communities and individuals for the sake of national or racial purity. So it is this destructive potential of population exchange that I would like to point out one more time because practices that are perceived to be as beneficial, that are perceived to be as a success, could actually lead to the worst types of crimes against humanity that we have known in history.

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[Slide #40 text: Lessons learned? The slippery line between population exchange, transfer, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

Slide #40 images: the top right shows a photo of three boats in the water, with the closet boat full of people. The bottom right images shows a long line of people walking along a train track in the winter].