Refugees and citizens in East-Central Europe in the 20th century

The Unlike Refuge? is a 5-year comparative research project funded by the European Research Council (Consolidator grant) and hosted by the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

The project aims to write refugees back into the history of East-Central Europe, a region which is often considered a place to leave rather than to search refuge in. Since September 2019, the project team has been systematically probing the interactions of civil societies, humanitarian organisations and nation-states with refugees in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia and their successor states in the 20th century. Read more on our project!

The research team is led by the project’s Principal Investigator Michal Frankl (add link) and currently has nine members, who are covering a broad range of topics going across the region and within the respective time period. Doina Anca Cretu is focusing on refugee camps in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War. Lidia Zessin-Jurek explores the issue of refugees to Poland with focus on the late 1930s. Ágnes Katalin Kelemen investigates the conceptual history of refugeedom in Hungary. As for the Cold War era, Maximilian Graf researches refugees from communist countries in Austria, while Nikola Karasová concentrates on Cold War refugees in Czechoslovakia and Julia Reinke on Greek refugees in the German Democratic Republic and the Polish People’s Republic. Francesca Rolandi scrutinizes the problem of refugees to Yugoslavia with focus on the Upper Adriatic region. And last but not least, Karla Koutková examines the refugeedom in post-communist East-Central Europe.

The project deploys methods from spatial studies and combines traditional historical enquiry with digital humanities methods. It attempts to produce new microhistorical studies of refugee spaces and analyses of life trajectories of selected samples of refugees. Learn more about our progress (add link to int ws)!

We will be glad if you follow the activities of our members in the news or join us for some of the events that we organize!