This article retraces the history of two war relief public administrations for «national refugees» in the aftermath of World War II: the High Commission for War Refugees (1944-45) and the Ministero per l’assistenza post-bellica (1945-47). By examining the preparation and aims of relief programmes, the de nition of different categories of people in need of assistance and policy legacies, the essay highlights the importance given to the matter by the Allied occupation headquarters and the transfer of administrative knowledge between international organizations and the Italian government. The article analyses for the rst time the policies aimed at taking care of and rehabilitating internally displaced persons in Italy after 1945. It shows how the persistence of this problem supported the growth of public action, the recognition of a right to social assistance and the reform of the social security system, marking a discontinuity with the past and contributing to a development, though eeting, of the modern welfare state.
Keywords: Refugee camps; Rehabilitation; Social services