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Colour Images Of European WWII Refugees Give Fresh Perspective On Migrant Crisis

Between 1939 and 1945, more than 60 million Europeans were forced to leave their homes to flee the horrors of World War II. A little over seven decades later and we're driven back in time as hundreds of thousands of refugees from countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan desperately try to find shelter in Europe.

With this in mind, Time Magazine commissioned Sanna Dullaway to add colour to these historic photos showing WWII refugees making the journey from France, Poland, German and Belgium towards safer lands in the east and south.

In 1942, as the Washington Post reminds us, the UK created the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA), which allowed 40,000 Europeans to set up refugee camps in Syria, Egypt and Palestine. A little known fact and one which puts a new perspective on society's attitude towards those making the opposite voyage today.

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"Displaced persons cross a bridge on the River Elbe at Tangermunde, which was blown up by the Germans, to escape the chaos behind German lines caused by the approach of the advancing Russians on May 1, 1945." (Photo: Fred Ramage-Keystone, Getty Images / photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway/ Time Magazine)

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"French refugees, returning to their homes in St. Pois, France after the Germans were driven out by the American forces, stop to rest at the side of the road on August 10, 1944." (Photo: AP/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

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"A large group of refugees fleeing Paris in anticipation of the German invasion, 1940." (Photo: FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time magazine)

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"Group of passengers from the Portuguese ship Serpa Pinto, which was stopped by a German submarine and ordered abandoned off Bermuda, are shown after their arrival in Philadelphia, May 31, 1944. The U-boat officers abandoned plans to sink the vessel and permitted the passengers to re-board her after receiving wireless orders from Berlin." (Photo: AP/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

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"The only survivors of 150 Polish people who walked from Lodz, Poland to Berlin Huddle in blankets, on December 14, 1945. They are waiting by a railway track hoping to be picked up by a British army train and given help." (Photo: Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

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"Germans who were uprooted during the war are pictured at the Lehrter Strasse Transient Refugee Camp in Berlin on Sept. 26, 1945." (Photo: Henry Burroughs/AP/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

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"A family of Belgian refugees hold and support each other as they pass a military vehicle while walking the road to France, circa 1940. Behind them are other groups of refugees fleeing occupied Belgium." (Photo: Three Lions/Getty Images/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

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"Refugees stand in a group on a street in La Gleize, Belgium on Jan. 2, 1945. They are waiting to be transported from the war-torn town after its recapture by American forces during the German thrust into the Belgium-Luxembourg salient." (Photo: Peter J. Carroll/AP/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

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"A crowd of refugees stood behind barbed wire on May 18, 1945, while waiting to cross the border into the neutral state of Lichstenstein. A thorough check by the customs office had to be performed for each of these displaced persons." (Photo: Getty Images/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

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"A man pulls a refugee's pram, attached by a cord to his bike, up a hill in Roncey, France on August 7, 1944." (Photo: Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

"A displaced persons camp in Germany, March, 1945." (Photo: Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

Entre 1944 et 1945. Des réfugiés en provenance de l'Est du Reich allemand. Lieu et date inconnus. (Berliner Verlag / AP / Photo colorisée par Sanna Dullaway pour TIME magazine)

"Refugees from the East of the German Reich (German Empire) around 1944-1945. Place and date unknown." (Photo: Berliner Verlag/AP/Photo colourised by Sanna Dullaway for Time Magazine)

All photo captions provided by Time magazine. The full selection of images can be found right here

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By Rachid Majdoub, published on 04/07/2016

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