As early as March 1943, shortly after Himmler's initial order to evacuate the Volksdeutsche from Russia, Lorenz alerted minority leaders Schmidt, Altgayer, and Karmasin about the possibility of evacuating Volksdeutsche from southeastern Europe.1 Planning for an evacuation was an extremely sensitive matter, since any preparations of this sort -- especially at this early date -- smacked of defeatism and ran counter to Hitler's intent to fight to the end. Consequently, all references to evacuation were couched in provisional terms, implying a later return, once the military situation improved.
According to VoMi's master plan, its RKFDV sections as well as those dealing with the minorities would participate in the evacuation. The department responsible for nonresettler Volksdeutsche living and working in the Reich would supervise refugee housing and physical care while the BfE would register the refugees -- who were to be classified as provisional Reich Germans -- and handle all paperwork. VoMi's resettler camps were to be readied for the anticipated influx. Its planners envisioned the evacuation as an orderly process, not much different from the resettlements. But as events unfolded, it was anything but orderly.2 Carefully laid-out plans more often than not were ignored. Exigency, not blueprints, dictated the course of the operation.