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Heimatvertriebene (German meaning "homeland expellees") is a term for the 12—16 million German citizens (regardless of ethnicity) and ethnic Germans (regardless of citizenship) who fled or were expelled/ethnically cleansed after World War II from the parts of Germany annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union and from other countries, and who settled in both West and East Germany, and Austria.

Those who had fled "voluntarily" but who were later refused permission to return are often not distinguished from those who were forcibly deported. By the definition of the West German Federal Expellee Law, enacted on 19 May 1953, refugees of German citizenship or German ethnicity, whose return to their home places was denied, were treated like the expelled.

Numerous atrocities occurred during expelling and fleeing, such as mass killings and mass rapes. More generally, there were various Allied atrocities during the war and postwar period causing many millions of deaths, although the exact numbers are disputed, see Claimed mass killings of Germans by the WWII Allies.

Relations between Germany and its East European neighbors remain somewhat difficult due to an often emotional controversy concerning the rights of the expelled. Much of the controversy is due to demands of some groups of the expelled or their descendants for revocation of expulsion decrees, official apologies, prosecution of perpetrators, and compensation for lost properties.

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