Comparison — the Way to Understanding: Conclusions

  • Etienne François


For most Algerians, Germans, French people and Poles, the memory of the massive population transfers that marked World War II and the Algerian War remains, even today, abiding, conflictual and often painful. For me personally this memory is at once that of my mother, born in 1917 in an Algeria where she spent her early childhood; of my godfather, who taught philosophy at the lycée in Algiers from 1958 to 1962; of my father-in-law and his entire family, from Silesia; and lastly of my wife, born in Breslau late in the World War and forced to flee the city with her mother and sister in the panic of February 1945. This dual dimension — personal and family roots on the one hand, powerful collective memories on the other — is a summons to a comparative scrutiny of these two events and, even more so, of the memory of the flight and expulsion (Flucht und Vertreibung in the hallowed term) of Germans from the eastern provinces and of the ‘repatriation’ of the French of Algeria.


Eastern Province French State French People Public Reminder Good Working Order 
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© Etienne François 2016

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  • Etienne François

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