The dispersal of refugees

In 1945 and 1946 Latvian refugee organisations were against the divergence of exiles in the world as they hoped of the liberation of Latvia and returning back home. Seeing however, that the "cold war" might last for years and further stay in Germany that was ruined by the war and flooded by refugees was no longer prospective, the refugee community started to change opinions in favour of emigration in 1946-1947.

The first important emigration invitation for the refugees in Germany came from Great Britain. In reply to the offer by Great Britain's Ministry of Labour in 1946 and 1947 about 900 Latvian women left to work at tuberculosis sanatoriums in that country. At the beginning of 1947 an agreement was entered into between the American occupation authorities and the Government of Belgium on the employment of 20 000 displaced persons (mainly men from the Baltic countries) in coalmines in Belgium. About 1000 Latvians, basically former soldiers, left for Belgium as a part of this campaign named "The Black Diamond". About 16 000 Latvians were enlisted for work in Great Britain in 1947 and about a thousand – for work in Canada.

Mass emigration started during the IRO period in 1948. In October 1948 an agreement was reached between the IRO and the Government of Australia on the resettlement of 100 000 refugees in Australia. Individual immigration was promoted by the Government of Canada and also the USA passed a decree on the refugee admission to the United States in 1948. Immigration was based on the guarantees granted by the US citizens that the immigrant refugee would be provided with accommodation and employment and that such refugee would not be a burden to the society of the United States. Acquiring of the guarantees were extremely difficult for the refugees and only in the second half of 1949 the Latvian emigration flow became faster.

In the situation of intensive emigration the work of refugee organisations and culture institutions underwent a speedy downfall. The Central Council of Latvia actually closed down in November 1950 and the place of the Central Council of Latvians was taken over by the Latvian Central Council in Germany in 1951.

The refugee times in Germany were over and for the majority of former refugees exile overseas started.

The UNRRA circular advertising work in tuberculosis sanatoriums in Great Britain for the refugee women of the Baltic states. 19 July 1946

Number of former Latvian nationals who left Germany as at 31.12.1951:

Argentina 640
USA 38 637
Australia 19 601
Belgium 1 244
Bolivia 7
Brazil 794
Chile 134
France 925
French Morocco 53
Israel 58
New Zealand 545
Canada 8 619
Great Britain 13 792
The Netherlands 117
Norway 130
Paraguay 33
Peru 6
Uruguay 2
Venezuela 731
Sweden 611
Other countries 6

Total 86 922

As at 01.01.1952 there still remained 16 016 Latvians in Germany.