HC Deb 05 February 1947 vol 432 cc1760-1
36. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many displaced persons were in the British zones in Germany and Austria at the latest convenient date, and what are their nationalities.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. John Hynd)

In January, 1947, there were approximately 269,000 non-German displaced persons in the British zone of Germany and 68,000 in the British zone of Austria. Of those in Germany the majority are Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, Esthonians and Yugoslavs. In Austria the majority are Yugoslavs, Poles and Hungarians.

Air-Commodore Harvey

What steps is the Minister taking, in co-operation with his colleagues, to see that the poor wretched people are placed in other countries and given suitable work?

Mr. Hynd

We have been taking consistent steps to ensure, first of all, their repatriation, where possible, and where that is not possible, their placement elsewhere. The House will be aware that already over two million of these unfortunate people have been repatriated from Germany alone. In the last quarter of last year, they were repatriated from Germany at the rate of 3,600 a week. Unfortunately, on account of the present weather conditions, we have had to suspend the operation, but we are exploring very closely and urgently the question of placing in other places those people who are unwilling or unable to be repatriated.

Mr. Frank Byers

Has there been a proper classification of these displaced persons to see for what jobs they are properly fitted?

Mr. Hynd

Yes, Sir. The question of the trade and professional qualifications of these people is being examined at the present time with a view to assisting and expediting attempts being made to have them settled in other countries.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

With regard to those displaced persons who are non-repatriable, is it not the case that the International Refugee Organisation made inquiries of all countries in the world for places of refuge for them, with very disappointing results?

Mr. Hynd

It is certainly true that the results so far are disappointing, but some results are beginning to show, and we already have resettlement missions in Germany examining the possibilities of moving large numbers of these people.

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