War Refugees in Russia (1917)
During the First World War, hundreds of thousands of people had to flee their homelands before enemy troops. Belgians, Poles, the Baltic States, White Russia, and Serbia suffered in particular. By 1916 in Russia alone, there were already five million refugees whose homes had been destroyed by the Russian army during its retreat in order to impede the advance of the Germans. Countless refugees, above all children and the elderly, did not survive the hardships of hunger, cold, and sickness that they suffered during the flight. In addition, new border demarcations established in the peace treaties concluded at the war’s end resulted in the forced resettlement of as many as five million Europeans.