The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War

Historian David Nasaw is the author of the award-winning, acclaimed biographies The Patriarch, Andrew Carnegie, and The Chief. In his sweeping new masterwork, THE LAST MILLION: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War (Penguin Press), Nasaw turns his attention to the gripping yet little-known story of the million displaced persons left behind in Germany following the end of World War II: Jews, Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, and other Eastern Europeans who refused to go home or had no homes to return to. The Last Million would spend the next three to five years in displaced persons camps, temporary homelands in exile, divided by nationality, with their own police forces, churches and synagogues, schools, newspapers, theaters, and infirmaries. By 1952, the Last Million were scattered around the world. As they crossed from their broken past into an unknowable future, they carried with them their wounds, their fears, their hope, and their secrets. Nasaw shares this history in a wide-ranging conversation with Atina Grossmann, author of Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (Princeton University Press) and Professor of History in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union, whose research relates to transnational Jewish refugee stories. This program was funded, in part, by a Humanities New York CARES Grant, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This event took place on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

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