After World War II, tens of millions of ethnic Germans from Central and Eastern Europe were forcibly expelled into Allied-occupied Germany and Austria. What happened to all the homes they left behind? That is, to whom was ownership transferred—were the expelees given the opportunity to sell their real estate on the private market, or were they obliged to transfer ownership to the newly installed or restored governments, or was the property simply abandoned with no legal formalities? If the properties were typically nationalized or abandoned, then how were homes reallocated? Did the governments systematically survey the evacuated properties and try to match them up with locally displaced citizens, or was the process more haphazard? Were there any less war-torn countries that ended up with a housing surplus?

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