Station: [17] Displaced Persons

Looking back, the arrival of people expelled from Germany’s eastern territories after the end of the Second World War could be seen as a success story. Many of the displaced persons who arrived in the Kraichgau region brought farming experience with them, and some also had significant artisanal skills and qualifications.

From the Sinsheim transit camp, these people were assigned to communities in the region and soon accounted for thirty percent of Eppingen’s population.

With a great deal of diligence and ambition, the “new citizens” tried to find their feet and integrate as best they could.

An impressive example of this is Franz Wild, who was the first entrepreneur to package very small quantities of potatoes into bags, and thus establish a trade that resulted in arguably the sector’s largest and most advanced enterprise today.

It was a brilliant idea, since the new, post-war buildings only had cellars with concrete floors, which made it impossible for people to store large quantities of potatoes domestically, as they had done previously.

And let’s not overlook the achievements of Emil Thoma, a local Eppingen pastor.

Under the Third Reich, he’d been denounced by local residents and interned in Dachau concentration camp. After his return in 1947, he founded the housing cooperative “Neue Heimat”, which enabled many of the refugee families to find new homes.

All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen