Saggi di Dodis

Saggi di Dodis 4 (2022/5)

Lelia Ischi

Die «Heimkehrverweigerer». Aserbaidschanische Internierte im Spannungsfeld der schweizerisch-sowjetischen Beziehungen 1945–1948

Shortly before the end of the Second World War, April 1945: A group of Azerbaijanis in German uniforms crosses the Swiss border. These escaped Soviet prisoners of war were subsequently interned in Switzerland and shortly afterwards proved to be a particular challenge in the sensitive undertaking of re-establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. This article deals with the repatriation issue of the Azerbaijani internees as an important aspect of the rapprochement between Switzerland and the Soviet Union in the immediate post-war period. In retrospect, their deportation to Turkey in 1948 can be classified as risky in terms of foreign policy, given the fragile relations with the communist superpower, which have just been restored in 1946, and the Soviet Unions’ demand of «total» repatriation.