Ties of Urban Heimat: West German Cities and Their Wartime Evacuees in the 1950s

Document Type


Publication Date



Historians have demonstrated that the concept of Heimat served to forge a common German identity after 1870 and to renew West Germany after Nazism. But how did Heimat shape West German responses to the devastation and dislocation of World War II? This article expands current understanding of Heimat by arguing that evacuees who fled the cities during the war employed the notion of urban Heimat to maintain their relationship with their hometowns, despite the fact that many of them were unable to return for years after the war.


DOI: 10.2307/1433084