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German History in Documents and Images
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Family of Expellees at Camp Benthe near Hannover (1950)
Like Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria, Lower Saxony was also a major "expellee state." The 2.217 million expellees and refugees who were living there in 1950 accounted for almost one-third of the state’s total population. They were originally housed in private accommodations, but this quickly led to the overcrowding of available living space. Makeshift camps had to be set up. In 1947, there were approximately 1,000 such camps in Lower Saxony. Residents had to contend with severe shortages of all basic necessities and catastrophic hygienic conditions. Living space was also extremely tight. Photographer unknown.