The following post contains significant information quoted and paraphrased from resources at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Library and Archives and focuses on the history of Germans in Lithuania. It is shared here for its scholarly and historical perspective and may help provide a political and social history to the family history we all seek.
Many books and articles detail the history of the Baltics: these points center on what happened to the Germans who settled in Lithuania.
1. Australia and Canada faced similar issues, but only Canada will be detailed in this post.
2. After the “resettlement versus repatriation” issue was settled, Canada acknowledged that the desirable Baltic DPs could help solve their industrial labor shortage.
3. Canada’s restrictive Depression Era immigration policy only allowed (1) Americans and British who could support themselves or (2) families of male Canadian citizens.
4. Although delayed by the Canadian Parliament and the return of Canadian servicemen and their dependents, public figures and the Canadian press, urged their countrymen to accept a broader immigration policy at the same time that other notable leaders believed that mass immigration would only provide cheap labor which would impact blue collar workers and foster another Depression.
5. On May 26, 1946, the law allowed Canadian residents “who were capable of caring for them, to sponsor the admission of first degree relatives in Europe plus orphaned nieces and nephews under sixteen years of age.” Soon churches could sponsor displaced pastors.
6. In June 1947 Canada passed a law which allowed to 5,000 DPs to work as domestic servants (women) and to accept requests from specific industries and factories to employ men. Later this number was increased to 45,000 DPs plus dependents. Relatives could be spouses, parents, children, and siblings, orphaned nieces and nephews under age 21 and fiancées.
7. Many descriptions of how this immigration policy played out have been omitted from this post but would be of interest to a researcher with family members who were DPs to Canada.
8. Generally, the DPs were culturally accepted somewhat because of Baltic immigration to Canada in the 1920s. “Between 1946 and 1962 Canada accepted 163,984 DPs” due to economic and moral responsibilities.
Note: I am aware of the distinction between Germans in Lithuania and those who considered themselves Lithuanians. Since many DPs lived during Lithuania’s independence from 1918 to 1939, one must ask if they considered themselves German or Lithuanian.
The results of EWZ research (in 8 forthcoming posts) and the discovery of a new family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, led to reading about DPs in Canada.
The reader may not have DPs to research, but an explanation of the forthcoming posts on EWZ records will explain their importance in researching Suwalki Province ancestors. Family members who went to Canada may not be another topic of individual interest, but may serve as background reading. In 2016 I did not know that I had DP relatives who immigrated to Canada, but in 2017 I did! Some readers may just come back to have a closer read some day.
Future posts will include the following information:
Lithuanian Immigration to Canada after the Second World War by Milda Danys
Lithuanian Immigration to Canada after the Second World War “Lithuanians in Winnipeg”