Since VE Day, 8 May 1945, the world has been marked by mass movements of civilian refugees fleeing armed conflict and famine. Scholars estimate that at least 40 million people were displaced by WWII.
This includes 250,000 Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and over 800,000 Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews running from government-sponsored violence in Arab lands triggered by the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
During this period, many Jewish and Gentile refugees were transported to new lives in new lands by ships. The image of homeless people waiting by the shore for safe passage is iconic.
Currently, there are an estimated 4 million refugees from the civil war in Syria. They are primarily flooding into Europe, Canada, and the U.S. The economic, social, and political repercussions cannot be fully fathomed at this point in time. Some informed estimates put the potential number of climate change and sea rise refugees over the next 50 years in the many tens of millions or higher. But these are just theoretical models.
Yet one thing seems certain—the human race is on the move like never before.