An unknown author writes in a DP camp magazine about the shortcomings of just having a single term for all displaced persons.
General designations are often not correct. The clearest proof of this are the two world-famous letters D.P. Their correct meaning is Displaced Person – abducted persons […]. For us Jewish DPs this is certainly a correct designation. We are homeless people who have lost our loved ones, and we cannot return to our former homes, even after the armistice. […] But let us look at the other category of DPs. These are non-Jewish people for whom the term DPs – displaced persons – is not appropriate. […] They voluntarily joined National Socialism. […] While we are DPs, deported persons, they are PDs, political desperados.
After the end of World War II, Berlin became a place of refuge for millions of refugees and displaced persons (DPs). Several groups of people who had lost their homes through war, enslavement and persecution fell under the DP status.
In addition to former forced laborers, foreign contract workers and prisoners of war, Jewish displaced persons also found themselves in Berlin. They had been liberated from Nazi concentration camps or on death marches or were returning from exile. They called themselves she‘erit hapletah, (Hebrew for “the surviving remnant”, in Yiddish sheyres hapleyte). For most of them, Germany, as the land of the perpetrators, was the last place they wanted to stay.
Three larger transit camps for Jewish DPs were established in the destroyed city. Being housed in a camp again had a retraumatizing effect on many. But within a few months, the camps developed into self-governing small towns within the urban area of Berlin. The camps remained only until 1948, but some residents stayed in the city for the rest of their lives.
In August 1946, the first issue of the Yiddish language camp newspaper Undzer Lebn appeared, which was to be the central organ of camp life. Often written humorously, the authors devoted themselves to topics of social, political, and cultural interest. The newspaper was published at irregular intervals and had a circulation of up to 3,000. In addition, numerous Yiddish-language publications appeared in the DP camps. Separate Yiddish libraries were established.