Let’s talk: Is there a difference between WW2 refugees and today’s refugees?

When we talk about World War 2 survivors we remember the struggles and poverty thousands of people across Europe battled
Let's Talk

When we talk about World War 2 survivors we remember the struggles and poverty thousands of people across Europe battled in the face of Hitler’s regime.

People who were sent to concentration camps, or removed from their families for years on end, or forced to flee their home country over fears of being persecuted for their religion.

When we talk about refugees around the world and in Australia today though, it often draws a different set of arguments and a fair bit of anger.

Many people are uncomfortable with the amount of refugees in Australia and the huge influx of refugees across Europe has caused riots and major protests.

So why is there such a difference of opinion between WW2 refugees and today’s refugees?

The idea of refugees from the Middle East coming into Australia has many people worried. There is a fear that it will cause problems for our society and many say they worry about the risk of terrorism filtering through into Australia.

Others though, point out that the influx of immigrants into Australia after WW2 was actually good for the country’s culture and economy and helped us to become a more open and accepting society.

A group of WW2 survivors teamed up with charity CARE to write letters and send packages to young refugees from Syria to show their support and solidarity.

The survivors, who are now in their seventies and eighties, say they understand how hard it is to be a young child and be forced witness the atrocities of war first hand.

A video by Mashable shows the children opening their letters and being overcome with tears as they read the kind words from a stranger who knows exactly how they feel.

The video has made some people reconsider how they think about refugees coming into Australia, with some saying they had never thought about the comparison between WW2 refugees and today’s.

Today we’d like to know your opinion on this issue.

Let’s talk: Do you think there is a difference between WW2 refugees and today’s refugees from the Middle East? Why are more accepting of European refugees from WW2 than they are of today’s refugees?

Watch the Mashable and CARE video below.

Do you think there is a difference between WW2 refugees and today’s refugees? Why are some people are more accepting of European refugees from WW2 than they are of today’s refugees?

  1. vicki Bath  

    I believe there are differences.

    1. The word refugee has been hijacked, to cover anyone wanting to leave their country
    2. Many ‘refugees’ are not fleeing from war torn countries
    3. Many ‘refugees’ are intent on changing the host country s society norms to reflect those they left behind ‘to escape’?
    4. Many governments in these host countries have ignored the plights of their own citizens in favour of those ‘refugees’
    5. Much of the negativity seen from the citizens of the host countries towards the ‘refugees’ has been exacerbated by their government.
    Hank you

    • I agree entirely Vicki. Also, most of the current crop of refugees follow Islam, the political and legal tenets of which are not compatible with civilised, Western society.

    • Raylene Hamson  

      Vicks I agree with you 100%

    • Ruth Westcott  

      Vicki, you hit the nail on the head with everything you said. I totally agree with you.

  2. Liz Tant  

    My parents were displaced persons from Europe after ww2 ,but had a job and accommodation to come to as Australia needed workers.Now there are no jobs and not enough accommodation for these people.That’s the difference.

  3. Denis  

    Today’s refugees only want to go to a handful of western countries like UK, Germany, Canada, Australia etc, so I classify then as economic refugees
    The refugees as such today coming to greece are not all sirians, the include Pakistanis, Afganies and other Asian countries which see the opportunity to migrate for economic reasons

  4. The refugees now are in exactly the same situation as those during and after the Second World War. They do not want to leave their home countries but are being forced to do so because of persecution, dislocation and poverty as a result of war and loss of all they possess. They want a safe future for their children as we all do. What the WW11 refugees are doing in preparing care packages for these refugee children is wonderful. It will give them some hope and some understanding that not all people in the world want to destroy them and their families. Australia has a proud history of resettling and supporting refugees and the refugees have made huge contributions to making it the wonderful country in which to live. Give the present refugees the same opportunities.

    • Raylene Hamson  

      Margaret, sorry can’t agree with what u say but that’s your opinion , there are “refugees”” that have left their homes completely intact and claim asylum in the uk for no other reason than to get free house free benefits free medical and don’t have to work ……mean while Britain has war vets sleeping on the streets …..why is it that western governments and PC bleeding hearts are willing to help outsiders when they have thousands of their own countrymen who fought for your & their freedom and rights to be kicked to the gutter, why are outsiders deemed to be more needy than your own country men ,women, families?? It’s because the media, governments all select photos…news items to make the western world feel guilty ….why if we have to take in some of these people why aren’t they Christians ….?? Old and water will never mix no matter how you try… Ask yourself this the people that arrived here when our borders were open are working and supporting themselves ( very few) how many have multiple wives and all claiming benefits ? So the difference between now and after ww11 is the people that came here wanted a new life and by God the worked bloody hard to get it and didn’t rely on handouts , they didn’t make demands and talk about their human rights….take more than 1 wife ….and helped build this country….this lot just want want want!!

  5. Roskoe  

    The refugees from WW2 settled and integrated into our population, accepting our culture, beliefs, customs and allegiance to to our flag and government. The new “refugees” will not accept any of these things and expect that we change everything to to fit their beliefs and political agendas. We can’t say Christmas or Easter as it offends Muslims and all food has to be halal approved. Their agenda is eventual control of the host nations and there is a huge risk of terrorists and terrorist recruiters infiltrating our country.
    The new influx of refugees is nothing like the previous real refugees and are a real threat to our way of life.

    • Totally Agree They don’t seem to be “refugees” in the sense of the word. More of a Takeover Army, using our welfare system and anything they can get for free. Not intending to fit in to our way of life but want to take over our country and make it their own with their own way of life with sharia law etc. They need to be sorted out from genuine refugees and sent back to where they came from Before they can do any more serious damage to our country.

      • Irene blair  

        The so called refuges flooding into Europe are refusing food off volunteers and throwing it onto railway tracks because it has a Red Cross on it and as happened in Germany on New Year’s Eve. Their young men think they have the right to sexually abuse western women as they are not covered this didn’t happen with ww2 refugees

  6. A refugee flees to the first country of safety, Australia is not that close to the Middle East.
    WW two refugees did not demand like today’s people do. They just hoped for safety. They were prepared to be driven any where in the world for that and most of all “fit in” and “Work” not ask for hand outs . Work they were given and places they were sent to without a choice.
    They did not try to rape our women and children or convert us to their religion. Ie. Coptic rc Jewish etc. they got on with their own lives and fitted into Australia and elsewhere.
    If they are prepared to do that then they are welcome what ever colour race or creed!

  7. maszki  

    Firstly you fail to define ‘refugee’ and then compound the failure by grouping all present day ;movers’ as refugees when in fact the majority would not be defined as refugees under the UN Convention on Refugees.
    These failures are the normal ‘ we are victims’ ploy.

    To answer your question YES there is a substantial difference between genuine refugees pre and post WW2 and of today.

    That difference is that pre and post WW2, refugees were subjected to a vetting process; simply put, the receiving country had an opportunity to say yes or no to the refugee

    Such is not the case with the vast majority of those who turn up on the borders of the EU (and Australia).

    Only a small percentage of the flood pouring into the EU are genuine refugees, and of that group only a minute number actually register in ‘first country’ locations and then seek out representatives of the intended safe haven to be processed.

    There is a significant clause in the UN Convention which states
    F. The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:
    (a) he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes;
    (b) he has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee;
    (c) he has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nation
    Note very carefully the words..” there are serious reasons”

    Until our government processes the person claiming refugee status to ensure that person has not committed any of the acts listed in (a), (b or (c) then that person is not covered by the Convention.

    Of course, attempting to enter a country without proper documentation is a serious crime.

  8. There is no comparison between WW2 refugees and current ones. During the war I met many Polish people and German Jews in Glasgow and Perthshire. It was a different time and a different situation

  9. Most of the refugees today are not refugees they are the invading soldiers of Mohamed . just carrying out the orders he gave 1400 years ago to invade and conquer all the nations of the earth so that Islam will rule the world.

  10. What concerns me about the present refugees is that so many are young, fit men, well dressed and with the latest mobile phones. The amount of women and children who come in with them are minimal compared to the men. These men have already caused a lot of trouble in Europe. Hospitals have had to employ guards with dogs to keep the men from molesting the female staff, women on the street are being harassed. Red Cross food and water has been thrown on the ground with demands that the “host” country provide “proper” housing and halal prepared food.

    Once a refugee has reached a place of safety, they are deemed legally to have reached asylum, but this is not good enough for most. They want to go to the country of their choice and they are prepared to do anything to get there.

    The refugees after WW2 were only too grateful to be brought to safety anywhere and didn’t demand social services, housing and medical care. Of course they were helped but not because they were threatening to riot if they weren’t given everything they wanted. They were prepared to settle, work and observe the laws of the countries who gave them refuge and integrated themselves into that culture.

    Oh yes, there’s a HUGE difference between the post-war immigrants and the “refugees” who are flooding Europe.

    • jenala  

      This comment is so true.Genuine refugees fleeing war would gladly register in the first country and be grateful for any help given not demand everything and choose which country they want. Refugees in the second world war did not want to kill us they just wanted sanctuary and safety.

  11. I believe that there is a huge difference between WWII displaced people who came to Australia and the majority of those claiming to be refugees today. My husband’s family spent six months in a large camp in Naples after the end of WWII – where they could apply to be accepted into different countries (Canada, Australia, South Africa, the UK). His parents applied for Australia because they believed there was no snow here – and that it was a Christian country. The whole family were medically examined and checked for any adverse records or behaviour e.g. Nazi activities or sympathies. When accepted, they were all vaccinated and given classes on what to expect in Australia. Upon arrival by ship in Australia they were housed for some weeks in Nissan huts in a large camp near the port. They were again medically examined and vetted for any other potential problems. They were then sent by rail to a large camp outside one of the larger country towns. A number of families were housed together in large wooden, un-lined huts – with camp stretchers and blankets hung up for privacy. The father and oldest boy were required to work as labourers on the railways and roads for two years. The younger children were sent to school in the town. They were taught English and were required to learn about Australian history, laws and culture. They saved and bought a home in the town and the children completed their schooling there. If any one of them had committed any serious offence they knew that the whole family could have been deported back to the camps in Europe. Only after some years were they allowed to apply for citizenship. They were true refugees in that they could not return to their home because the area had fallen under the control of Russia and the borders were closed. They tried hard to assimilate and never expected Australians to adopt their ideas. They all became proud and useful citizens who appreciated and worked hard for the better life they had been offered.

    The truth is that no country can take in huge numbers of foreigners quickly without disrupting the recipient society. Those who are judged to be true refugees need time to be vetted and educated – before they are accepted and assimilated into a dramatically different society. Those who are not willing and able to assimilate into the host society should be returned whence they came from along with their family.

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