Latvians used to have different ways to refer to the period of time from the end of the war in the summer of 1945 to the end of the “big exodus” in 1951, namely the time of living in the British, US and French occupation zones in the territory of the later West Germany.

It was referred to as the “DP time”. The name derives from the abbreviation DP (displaced persons) used to refer to all persons in the post-war Europe who did not live in their permanent places of residence.

Or it was referred to as UNRRA time, with reference made to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration that operated in Germany from 1945 to 1947 and whose main task was to return the refugees (DPs) to their former places of residence, that is repatriation.

Still another reference used was IRO time. It was related to the operation of the International Refugee Organization that begun on 1 July 1947 and ended in 1951. The task of this organisation was to displace in new countries those refugees who did not want to be repatriated from Germany.

Still others called that period the camp time. This denomination originates from the living conditions as the majority of refugees lived in the special camps intended for non-repatriate DPs.

And there are still other people for whom this period of time is related to the notion of “Little Latvia”. The Latvian refugees that were gathered in the DP camps felt like a community of the Latvian nationals. They immediately started to restore activities of Latvian culture, professional, academic, economic and political organisations to the extent possible in the conditions of the occupied Germany. The self-government organisations of the refugee settlements were established so as if they were authorities of the Latvian state. It was as if a state without a territory and administrative power, but in the minds of refugees its was a reflection of a state