Лагерь Эль-Шатт — Югославия в египетской пустыне

В последние годы Второй мировой войны около 30 000 югославских беженцев из Далмации нашли убежище в египетском лагере Эль-Шатт. Изначально беженцы находились в Италии, но с началом боёв между союзными войсками и немцами было решено разместить людей в находящемся под британским контролем Египте. Беженцы жили по одной или две семьи на палатку. В лагере образовывались школы, мастерские, хор, общая прачечная. Одну палатку превратили в церковь. Также выпускалась газета под названием «Наш лист».

За 18 месяцев пребывания в египетской пустыне было зарегестрировано 300 браков и родилось 650 детей. Умерли 825 человек — они похоронены на мемориальном кладбище на месте, где раньше находился лагерь.

Когда победа югославских коммунистов в Народно-освободительной войне была уже очевидна, в лагере Эль-Шатт также проходили переговоры о будущих отношениях между партизанами, партией, зарождавшейся Организацией Объединенных Наций и армией Великобритании. Для Коммунистической партии лагерь в Египте также стал полигоном для государственного строительства на родине и способом продемонстрировать свою способность организовывать и мотивировать своих будущих граждан.

Мемориальное кладбище в египетском лагере Эль Шатт, где во время Второй мировой войны находились 30 000 беженцев из Хорватии. Кладбище пострадало во время израельской оккупации полуострова, и было временно заброшено после развала Югославии. В 2006 году мемориал восстановили. 


The camp, located near the Suez Canal in the Sinai desert, was established by the British in the summer of 1944 to accommodate the large number of civilians fleeing from what is now Croatia ahead of a German invasion. Pictured above, dozens of children at the camp smile for a photo

More than 33,000 refugees, mostly women, children and elderly, fled from the southern Dalmatian area to Italy, from where Allied forces evacuated  to Egypt to stay at El Shatt, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration's refugee camp

During the 18 months that refugees stayed at the camp during World War II, there were 300 marriages and 650 children were born. Images show how the thousands of Yugoslavians tried to make their days as normal possible after fleeing from their homes and moving into the refugee camp

Images show old and young people alike relaxing in the camp and trying to while away the hours by painting, sculpting and letting the children play on a see-saw and swings. The refugees returned home at the beginning of 1946 when the war was over and a more stable political situation in Yugoslavia was established

Other shots, like the one above of a man caring for a woman in what appears to be a makeshift hospital room, depict the hardship that was endured by the refugees as doctors tend to weary patients, thin men build furniture and women try to find clothes to fit their children


Although far from home and living in poor conditions, they tried to preserve the illusion of normal life. They established schools, various workshops, a shared laundry and issued a newspaper. Camp officials would occasionally stage plays, dances, and other entertaining events, and families could enjoy bathing in the Suez Canal and watching the warships pass by

People from Dalmatia had difficulty adjusting to desert conditions (the refugee camp pictured above), especially children who suffered from intestinal diseases. Many of them died

The British government also kept a strict regime, allowing exit from the complex only with passes. On several occasions, the area of El Shatt was bombed. More than 30,000 people lived in the refugee camp for a total of 18 months

The camp, which sat right on the water (a beach swing set pictured above), was divided into five smaller bases. Refugees lived in tents, large enough to hold one or two families 

The refugees were mostly from Makarska (around 6000), Vodice, Hvar, Vis, Korčula, Ravni Kotari and Bukovica. They were initially taken to Italy after fleeing from Yugoslavia, but because of heavy fighting in the country between Allied forces and the Germans, they were eventually taken to Egypt

The refugee camp came out of a British-led scheme known as the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration, which launched in 1942. The organization, which was based in Cairo, helped provide for some 40,000 Poles, Greeks and Yugoslavs

During World War II, Eastern European refugees were spread out between camps in Egypt, southern Palestine and Syria. At the time, Aleppo was a booming city for exiles, spies and immigrants. There were a myriad of groups that would provide for those who had been exiled 

 Politics were carried into the camp Yugoslavia. According to one accound, a small group of communist-sympathetic Yugoslav dominated the inner workings of the camp and would bully those who did not join the rainks. They also attempted to indoctrinate children with propoganda

By the end of the war, refugees returned to their homelands - very few remained in the Middle Eastern cities as thousands left the camp to return to Europe. About 4,000 remained in Egypt until 1948 for political reasons

The entirety of the camp covered almost 65 square miles (170 square kilometers). While the UK's Middle East Relief and refugee Administration set up the fund, the country had few resources to spare the refugees and turned to the United Nations

Since the camp closed in 1946, the memorial at the camp has nearly been destroyed twice. The original cemetery was destroyed during the Israeli occupation of the peninsula's in the 1967 war. Less than 20 years later it was again affected when the Socialist Federal Yugoslavia collapsed and Croatia waged a war for independence that ended in 1995


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