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  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Zwischen humanitärer Solidarität und Transitprinzip. Die Umsiedlung von Flüchtlingen in der Schweiz durch die International Refugee Organization, 1947–1952
    The resettlement of «Displaced Persons» after the Second World War by the International Refugee Organization (IRO) has popularly been presented as a success story by the authorities. Switzerland joined the organisation in 1949 and consequently resettled several thousand refugees as part of international resettlement programs. The article aims to shed light on this largely unexplored episode in Swiss history. It seeks to understand Switzerland’s humanitarian involvement not only on a structural but also on an individual level by complementing the federal sources with several refugee case histories. The stories are able to better convey the precarious refuge experience in transit. Refugees were caught between the pressure exerted by Swiss authorities to leave the country and the conflicting fact that not everyone was eligible for resettlement under the Mandate of the IRO. This meant that refugee families especially were faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to leave family members behind; a situation that was further complicated by the impending liquidation of the IRO, which put the refugees under considerable time pressure. The case histories therefore not only complicate the image of Switzerland’s «humanitarian tradition» but also reveal the ambivalences of humanitarian aid on an individual level.