Derek Holmgren

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Major Field: European History
Other Fields: 
Russian and East European History
Konrad H. Jarausch

BA University of Denver
MA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010
MA Thesis: “Gateway to Freedom and Instrument of Order: The Friedland Transit Camp, 1945–1955”
PhD University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015

Research Interests

My research and teaching interests include modern German and European history, the history of refugees and population displacements, the history of German-Polish relations, social history, and cultural history.

My dissertation, entitled “‘Gateway to Freedom’: The Friedland Refugee Camp as Regulated Humanitarianism, 1945-1960,” uses the Friedland refugee camp as a case study of issues associated with the displacement and resettlement of German populations following World War II. From its establishment in 1945 to 1960, the Friedland camp processed nearly 2.2 million German refugees, expellees from Eastern Europe, returning prisoners of war, and non-German Displaced Persons. I focus on German and military government efforts to aid and resettle these populations, arguing that the camp functioned as a form of “regulated humanitarianism” necessary for reestablishing social order after the upheavals of war and displacement. In particular, I focus on the development of German and military government policy regarding these groups, the camp’s administrative history, and a prosopographical study of the camp’s personnel and residents. My research offers a new, critical perspective on the postwar return to order, the relationship between the military government and German authorities, and the mythologization of the Friedland camp as the so-called “Gateway to Freedom” for millions of Germans.

Curriculum Vitae

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