Skip to main content

Doctoral Defense of Imogen Bayley

Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12:45 pm – 3:30 pm

Due to the extraordinary measures introduced by CEU in regard to the Covid-19 virus situation, the doctoral defense will take place on-line.
For further information, contact Margaretha Boockmann,
PhD coordinator (

Fighting for a Future: Postwar Migration Policy and the Displaced of the British Zone (1945-1951)

Far from sites of bare survival, the Displaced Persons (DP) camp universe that emerged at the end of the Second World War represented a lively world of debate and activity. Fundamentally, this thesis explores the interaction between migration policy and the migration strategies of those Displaced Persons (DPs) who populated the DP camp universe of Occupied Germany from 1945-1951. It demonstrates in particular how the policies of the British Zone impacted DPs’ itineraries after 1945 and aims to highlight the structural factors that constrained the lives of postwar displaced persons, while examining the ways in which DPs own migratory strategies adapted to, negotiated and even challenged those constraints.

While the past few decades have seen a steady stream of scholarship devoted to DPs in the aftermath of the Second World War, there is today a new wave of interest in chronicling the voices of the agencies and governments who came into contact with them and in particular, of the DPs themselves. In its exploration of the relationship between formalized collective pressure and individual migratory considerations, and its juxtaposition of the individual and the collective, this research offers a fresh analysis of the migratory experiences of Displaced Persons after the Second World War and what this can reveal about displacement more generally. While the life of the refugee was constrained by very real structural factors, displaced subjects with specific experiences sought to modify their circumstances by making choices and acting upon them.

Examination Committee

Erin Kristin Jenne – chair (International Relations Department, CEU)

Carsten Wilke – supervisor (Department of History, CEU)

Marsha Siefert – CEU internal member (Department of History, CEU)

Philipp Ther – external member (University of Vienna)

Jessica Reinisch – external member (Birkbeck, University of London)

The doctoral dissertation is available for inspection. Should you wish to access it, please contact
Margaretha Boockmann (