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Konczal, Kornelia (2021): German property and the reconstruction of East Central Europe after 1945: politics, practices and pitfalls of confiscation. In: European Review of History-Revue Europeenne D Histoire, Vol. 28, No. 2: pp. 278-300

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This article explores one of the largest property transfers in modern European history: the confiscation of real estate and movables left behind by up to 12 million Germans who fled or were expelled from their homelands in Eastern Europe around 1945. The praxeological approach applied here provides an opportunity to take a closer look at three overlapping processes that every instance of property confiscation is made up of: legal, physical and administrative seizure. With a focus on the developments in Poland and Czechoslovakia, it is argued that difficulties faced by the authorities of both countries during the takeover of German property were not only the result of wartime destruction and post-war chaos, but were also caused by the so-called cobra effect, i.e. measures conceived as solutions to problems that actually make them worse. The ways in which the politics of confiscation were implemented in Poland and Czechoslovakia had a major impact on the post-war reconstruction of the social order in these countries.

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