The „Niemands“ – Heimatlose Ausländer in Mannheim

in: Journal of Migration History, 7(3), 220-243.


Maria Alexopoulou


Heimatloser Ausländer (homeless foreigner) was a status granted to Displaced Persons, who were mostly slave or foreign workers during the Third Reich. How did local authorities and the population in Mannheim – an industrial ‘migration-city’– deal with these first ‘Ausländer’ of the Federal Republic of Germany? This article outlines how local authorities managed housing for dp s and later homeless foreigners and how their concerns were treated with at the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners office). It also looks into the reactions and attitudes of the population mirrored in local/regional administrative files and press coverage. The self-denomination as Niemands (nobodies), originating from sociologist and Mannheim based son of dp s, Stanislaus Stepień, expresses the history of a group of migrants who have been mostly forgotten after serving as projection surfaces and transmission objects for racial knowledge about the ‘migrant Other’ and ‘the German’.

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