Repatriation of Cossacks After World War II - Aftermath


The Cossack officers, more politically aware than the enlisted men, expected that repatriation to the USSR would be their ultimate fate. They believed that the British would have sympathised with their anti-Communism, but were unaware that their fates had been decided at the Yalta Conference. Upon discovering that they would be repatriated, many escaped, some probably aided by their Allied captors; some passively resisted, and others committed suicide. Of the Cossacks who escaped repatriation, most hid in the forests and mountains, some were hidden by the local German populace, but most hid in different identities as Ukrainians, Latvians, Poles, Yugoslavians, Turks, Armenians, and Ethiopians. Eventually, they were admitted to displaced persons camps under assumed names and nationalities; many emigrated to the USA per the Displaced Persons Act. Others went to any country that would admit them (e.g. Germany, Austria, France, and Italy). Most Cossacks hid their true national identity until the dissolution of the USSR in late 1991.

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