Coming Home to the Third Reich

Return Migration of German Nationals from the United States and Canada, 1933–1941


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About the Book

During the 1930s, Germany’s industrialization, rearmament and economic plans taxed the existing manpower, forcing the country to explore new ways of acquiring Aryan-German labor. Eventually, the Third Reich implemented a return migration program which used various recruitment strategies to entice Germans from Canada and the United States to migrate home. It initially used the Atlantic Ocean to transport German-speakers, but after the outbreak of World War II, German civilians were brought from the Americas to East Asia and then to Germany via the Trans-Siberian Railway through the Soviet Union. Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 ended this overland route, but some Germans were moved on Nazi ships from East Asia to the Third Reich until the end of 1942. This book investigates why Germans who had already established themselves in overseas countries chose to migrate back to an oppressive and authoritarian country. It sheds light on some aspects of the Third Reich’s administration, goals and achievements associated with return migration while also telling the individual stories of returnees.

About the Author(s)

Grant W. Grams is a historian, writer and lecturer specializing in German and migration history. He lives in Edmonton, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Grant W. Grams
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 243
Bibliographic Info: 3 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8189-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4247-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Frequently Used Abbreviations vii
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Migration from Germany, 1919–1932 13
2. Migration from Germany, 1933–1939 22
3. Return Migration Administration, 1933–1941 33
4. Return Migration, 1933–1936 63
5. Return Migration, 1937–1939 77
6. Organizations and Return Migration 117
7. Return Migration During World War II 136
Conclusion 166
Appendix 1 173
Appendix 2 176
Appendix 3: The Montreal Bund in 1935 178
Chapter Notes 179
Bibliography 217
Index 231

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “This book deals with a fascinating and scarcely researched topic, using a wealth of archival materials and uncovering interesting case studies. It is a welcome addition to the field of historical migration studies in general and to the study of National Socialist migration policies in particular.”—Jannis Panagiotidis, Scientific Director of the Research Center for the History of Transformation (RECET) at the University of Vienna, author of The Unchosen Ones: Diaspora, Nation, and Migration in Israel and Germany