What do the Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen, the American director Woody Allen and the French chansonnier Charles Aznavour have in common?
The history of Europe is a history of migrations.1  Frequently, voluntary or forced migration processes were based on religious or denominational motives. Modern research distinguishes between push and pull factors in questions around the motives for migration: push factors explain situations where migrants yield to external pressure, while pull factors apply where the decision to migrate is voluntary. In a religious context, for example, the persecution of a particular faith practiced by an individual or a group can be a push factor. On the other hand, the search for a "promised land", the proclamation of one's own beliefs by missionary religions or the prospect of forming a new community with others who share one's own religious convictions would be examples of pull factors. In historical reality, religious forces as triggers for migration rarely stood alone, but overlapped with socio-economic, demographic, political or ecological factors.
Migrations for religious reasons always touch the sphere of law; these are found in the context of the toleration, recognition, favoring and promoting or exclusion and persecution of certain religions. But they also have social and cultural effects on the migrants and on the post-migrant host society by triggering intercultural processes that influence collective identity and promote either tolerance or isolation. All of these processes are subject to change over the course of history.
Religious migrations have often become firmly rooted in the collective memory of the respective group. The exodus of the ancient Jews from the slavery of the Egyptian pharaoh under Moses' leadership, for example, is one of the central narratives of the “Tanakh“ “Tanakh“ The Tanakh, also referred to as the "Hebrew Bible", includes the books of the Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim. Its contents correspond to the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. 's origins and thus forms a basis of Jewish identity.2  Many Christian denominations, such as the members of the Armenian Apostolic Church or the Mennonites, also draw a sense of group consciousness from their historical persecution and diaspora situation.
Examples from the history of Eastern Europe
1. Poland as a host country for persecuted Jews
The history of Eastern Europe offers many examples of religiously motivated migration over the centuries. One of the best known is the settlement of Jews in medieval Poland, which was encouraged by the Piast rulers. Already in the 10th and 11th centuries, Jewish communities began settling in the centers of the emerging Polish state. When Jews were expelled from the territories of the Holy Roman Empire, Duke Bolesław Pobożny ("the Pious") granted them freedom of belief, trade and movement within his domain under the terms of the Kalisz Privilege, which he issued in 1264.3  The Polish king Casimir III ("the Great") extended the privileges of the Jewish population in Poland in 1334 with the Statute of Wiślica Statute of Wiślica The Statute of Wiślica is considered the first constitution of Lesser Poland. When Kazimierz III. Wielki issued it on the occasion of his enthronement in 1334, he created a legal framework that strengthened not only the rights of the peasantry but also those of the Jewish population in social, economic and judicial terms: for example, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and accusations of ritual murder and counterfeiting of money were explicitly forbidden, Jews were not allowed to be charged higher customs duties than the rest of the population, and they were granted the right to their own courts. . While, in other European countries, people of the Jewish faith were being persecuted and deported, "Polin", as the country was called in Yiddish, became a safe haven, offering them, comparatively, significant freedoms.4 Poland became a center of Talmud studies in Europe in the early modern period; the first printing works of Hebrew texts were established in 
deu. Krakau

Krakow is the second largest city in Poland and is located in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship in the south of the country. The city on the Vistula River is home to approximately 775,000 people. The city is well known for the Main Market Square with the Cloth Halls and the Wawel castle, which form part of Krakow's Old Town, a UNESO World Heritage Site since 1978. Krakow is home to the oldest university in Poland, the Jagiellonian University.

deu. Lublin

Lublin is a large city in eastern Poland. It is the capital of the voivodeship of the same name and is inhabited by just 340,000 people. Lublin is home to the prestigious John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin.

 in the 16th century. Magnificent synagogues were also built throughout the country. In rural areas, however, many Jews lived in severe poverty. In the centuries that followed, periods of flourishing culture and tolerance in Poland alternated with periods of exclusion. A large proportion of Polish Jews were murdered during the German occupation in the Second World War; many survivors emigrated to the USA, Western Europe or Israel at the end of the war.
2. From Friesland via Prussia and Russia into the world – the Mennonites
A global migration for religious reasons – that is, among other things, the history of the Mennonites, a Christian denomination named after the Dutch theologian Menno Simons (1496-1561).5  He advocated adult baptism and unconditional pacifism. The Mennonites originally came from regions in the Netherlands and Switzerland. In particular, their stance as a peace church and the resulting rejection of military service repeatedly brought them into conflict with state institutions. From the Netherlands they migrated via East Frisia to 
deu. Danzig

Gdansk is a large city on the Baltic Sea in the Polish Pomeranian Voivodeship (Pomorskie) with about 470,000 inhabitants. It is lying on the Motława River (German: Mottlau) on the Gdansk Bay.

Historische Orte
 and the 
Royal Prussia
deu. Polnisch Preußen, deu. Preußen Königlichen Anteils, pol. Prusy Polskie, pol. Prusy Królewskie, deu. Königlich Preußen

Royal Prussia is the name for those parts of the historical region of Prussia that fell from the ecclesiastical Teutonic Order to the Kingdom of Poland in the 15th century. These included large parts of Pomerania, including Danzig, Warmia and the Kulm region. The parts of Prussia that remained under the rule of the Teutonic Order formed the secular Duchy of Prussia in the 16th century, which fell to Brandenburg in 1618. It was not until the first partition of Poland-Lithuania in 1772 that Royal Prussia also came under Brandenburg-Prussian rule.

. There they played a major role in the agricultural development and settlement of the lower Weichsel valley and delta. The half-timbered houses they built can still be seen in many villages today. When this area fell to Prussia during the partition of Poland at the end of the 18th century, and the Mennonites were to be called up for military service, many of them fled and found refuge in the 
Russian Empire
rus. Росси́йская импе́рия, rus. Rossijskaja imperija, deu. Russisches Kaiserreich, deu. Russländisches Reich, deu. Russländisches Kaiserreich

The Russian Empire (also Russian Empire or Empire of Russia) was a state that existed from 1721 to 1917 in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and North America. The country was the largest contiguous empire in modern history in the mid-19th century. It was dissolved after the February Revolution in 1917. The state was regarded as autocratically ruled and was inhabited by about 181 million people.

. However, when the exemption from military service was lifted there too under Tsar Alexander II in the late 19th century, the privileged period in Russia ended and many Mennonites now sought their fortune overseas. In the USA they met with Mennonite communities who had already emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 18th century and who had founded, among other things, the city of Germantown. But the South American states also became important host countries. To this day, an intensive religious sense of community and the cultural knowledge of a centuries-long history of persecution and migration continue to shape the group identity of the Mennonites.
3. The Expulsion of Protestant Groups from the Habsburg Monarchy
In the course of the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Habsburgs became one of the pillars of the papacy in the process of re-Catholicizing Central Europe. The members of the Bohemian Unity of the Brethren, which can be traced back to the Hussite Reformation and was initially tolerated in the Czech lands, experienced this as early as the 17th century. In 1628 their bishop, the well-known pedagogue and theologian Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius) was expelled from the country and began a lifelong exile, which led him via Poland, Sweden, Prussia and
Upper Hungary
slk. Horné Uhorsko, hun. Felső-Magyarország, deu. Oberungarn

'Upper Hungary' (Slovak Horné Uhorsko, Hungarian hist. Felsőmagyarország, currently Felvidék) was the name of an administrative district created in 1541 and comprised the northeastern part of Hungary, which remained Habsburg. Even after its dissolution in the 17th century, the name survived and is still used in Hungary to name the geographical territory of present-day Slovakia, which is viewed critically in Slovakia itself.

finally to the Netherlands.6  Some Brethren survived the period of persecution as Crypto-Protestants, others fled abroad. In Nowawes and in Böhmisch-Rixdorf near Berlin, the Prussian kings granted refuge to some of them,7  while the Saxon nobleman Nikolaus von Zinzendorf established a new community of Bohemian exiles ( Exulanten Exulanten Term for people who had to leave their homeland as (mainly Protestant) religious refugees from the 16th to 18th centuries. Derived from Latin "exsul" = exiled. ) in Herrnhut – the Herrnhuters, who went on develop and pursue missionary activities around the world.8
Also well-known is the migration of about 20,000 Salzburg exiles – Lutherans from the mountain valleys of the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg – who were expelled in 1731 and were able to settle for the most part in Prussia.9 This expulsion process triggered a massive publicity campaign throughout the Protestant states of Europe. In 
East Prussia
deu. Ostpreußen, pol. Prusy Wschodnie, lit. Rytų Prūsija, rus. Восто́чная Пру́ссия, rus. Vostóchnaia Prússiia

East Prussia is the name of the former most eastern Prussian province, which existed until 1945 and whose extent (regardless of historically slightly changing border courses) roughly corresponds to the historical landscape of Prussia. The name was first used in the second half of the 18th century, when, in addition to the Duchy of Prussia with its capital Königsberg, which had been promoted to a kingdom in 1701, other previously Polish territories in the west (for example, the so-called Prussia Royal Share with Warmia and Pomerania) were added to Brandenburg-Prussia and formed the new province of West Prussia.
Nowadays, the territory of the former Prussian province belongs mainly to Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) and Poland (Warmia-Masuria Voivodeship). The former so-called Memelland (also Memelgebiet, lit. Klaipėdos kraštas) first became part of Lithuania in 1920 and again from 1945.

 the new arrivals populated areas where a plague epidemic had shortly before led to a sharp decline in population.
Only three years later (1734) Emperor Charles VI began to expel Lutherans from the Salzkammergut and Carinthia. They found a new home as "Landler" in the Transylvanian parishes of
deu. Neppendorf, hun. Kistorony

The village of Neppendorf (Romanian Turnișor) was founded in the Middle Ages by Transylvanian Saxon immigrants; later Protestant religious refugees from the Salzkammergut and Carinthia also settled here. Today Neppendorf belongs to Sibiu and is located halfway between the old town and the international airport.

(Romanian: Turnisor, Hungarian: Kistorony),
deu. Großau, deu. Grossau

Großau (Romanian Cristian) is a village with about 3,600 inhabitants in Transylvania, a few kilometers west of the international airport Hermannstadt/Sibiu. It is known for its fortified church and is one of the places in the region where, in addition to the Transylvanian Saxons who had settled here since the Middle Ages, Protestant religious refugees from the Salzkammergut and Carinthia settled, later also known as "Landler".

(Romanian: Cristian, Hungarian: Kereszténysziget) and 
Apoldu de Sus
deu. Großpold, hun. Nagyapold, ron. Apoldu Mare, ron. Polda Mare

Großpold (Romanian Apoldu de Sus) is a village in Transylvania. It has about 1,450 inhabitants and is located a few kilometers northwest of Sibiu. Großpold is one of the places in the region where, in addition to the Transylvanian Saxons who had settled here since the Middle Ages, Protestant religious refugees from the Salzkammergut and Carinthia settled, who were later also called "Landler".

 (Romanian: Apoldu de Sus, Hungarian: Nagyapold) – though, incidentally, this was not completely accepted by the Transylvanian Saxons, who had been living in the area for centuries and were also Protestant Lutherans.10  The Austrian authorities glossed over the resettlement process from the Habsburg heartlands to 
deu. Siebenbürgen, deu. Transsylvanien, deu. Transsilvanien, ron. Transilvania, ron. Ardeal

Transylvania is a historical landscape in modern Romania. It is situated in the center of the country and is populated by about 6.8 million people. The major city of Transylvania is Cluj-Napoca. German-speaking minorities used to live in Transylvania.

 with the term transmigration transmigration Euphemistic administrative term used by the Austrian court chancellery in the 18th century to describe deportations of population groups for religious-confessional, but also for ethnic or social reasons.
Also on the basis of their Protestant religious convictions, in 1837 Emperor Ferdinand I expelled “Crypto-Protestants“ “Crypto-Protestants“ Crypto-Protestants are people who outwardly practice the majority religion (usually Catholicism), but whose inner convictions and private lives follow Protestantism from the former Salzburg part of the Zillertal, which had belonged to Tyrol since secularization. As a result, the Protestant-Lutheran mountain farmers had to search for a new place to live. Most of the families affected were settled in the 
Jelenia Góra Valley
pol. Kotlina Jeleniogórska, deu. Hirschberger Tal

Hirschberg valley, a Silesian landscape rich in castles and monuments, became known as the "Silesian Elysium" in the middle of the 19th century and remained a touristic hot spot until the Second World War. Many of its towns and villages date back to the settlement by Germans in the 13th century. As early as 1305, 24 villages in Hirschberg valley were mentioned in documents, Hirschberg itself followed in 1355.

 (Polish: Kotlina Jeleniogórska), on the Lower Silesian side of the Krkonoše Mountains, on the initiative of Countess Friederike von Reden and with the permission of the Prussian King Frederick William III.11  In memory of their origin, they named their most important town 
deu. Zillerthal-Erdmannsdorf

Mysłakowice (hist. dt. Zillerthal-Erdmannsdorf) is a municipality in southwestern Poland. Erdmannsdorf was first documented in 1305. In the 19th century, Erdmannsdorf castle was the summer residence of the Prussian king. In 1837, Frederick William III. left a large part of the estate to protestant refugees from Zillertal in Tyrol, wo founded their Tyrolean-style settlement "Zillerthal" there. In 1937, Erdmannsdorf and Zillerthal were joined together as municipality of Zillerthal-Erdmannsdorf.

 (Polish: Mysłakowice). Several houses built in the typical alpine architecture style have been preserved and still stand today as a physical trace of this migration history. Like most German Silesians, the descendants of the so-called “Zillertaler Inklinanten” were expelled from their new homeland after 1945, when Silesia was transferred to Poland.
4. The Diaspora of the Russian Old Believers
In the 17th century a fierce internal conflict broke out within the Russian Orthodox Church when Patriarch Nikon of Moscow (1605-1681) called for a series of reforms. The points of contention ultimately concerned theological details – for example, the wording of the creed, making the sign of the cross with three fingers spread instead of two, the number of communion loaves, and the spelling of Jesus' name ("Іисусъ" instead of "Ісусъ"). The so-called Old Believers, who supported parts of the Russian elite, held on to the traditional principles and resisted the reforms. There was violent persecution of Old Believers by the reformers. Tsar Peter the Great, in his efforts to modernize the Russian Empire, intensified the reforms and ordered that the Old Believers' boyars trim their traditional beards. Many Old Believers fled to remote areas of Russia that were inaccessible by paths or roads. One group settled in the then Ottoman 
deu. Dobrudscha, ron. Dobrogea, bul. Добруджа, deu. Trans-Danubien, eng. Dobrudja, bul. Dobrudža

Dobruja (rum. Dobrogea, bulg. Добруджа) is a historical landscape in the border area between southeastern Romania and northeastern Bulgaria. Dobrogea is situated on the Danube and the Black Sea.

.12 There, tolerated by the Muslim authorities, they founded their own monasteries and churches. Many of the "Lipovans" still live in the 
deu. Donau, slk. Dunaj, hun. Duna, hrv. Dunav, bul. Дунав, ron. Dunărea, srp. Дунав, ukr. Дунай

The Danube begins at the confluence of the Breg and Brigach rivers, whose springs are both located in the central Black Forest . It is 2857 km long and today flows through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Before it flows into the Black Sea, it fans out to form the Danube Delta, which is now an ecological reserve.

 today as fishermen and smallholders. In the area that is today part of southern Ukraine they built a small town, 
ron. Vâlcov, rus. Вилково, ukr. Вилкове

Vylkove is situated in the Danube Delta, on the Ukrainian side of the border with Romania. It was founded by Lipovans at the end of the 18th century.

Due to the war in Ukraine, it is possible that this information is no longer up to date.

 (Ukrainian: Вилкове), where canals form the main traffic routes, like in Venice. An important place of pilgrimage in today's Romanian Dobruja is the monastery of Slava Cercheză, and another important center is the large village of 
rus. Сарикёй

Sarichioi is situated in the Dobrogea in Romania and belongs to the district of Tulcea. In the years 1654-1796, Lipovan religious refugees settled there.

. Even today, many male Lipovans can be recognized by their long beards and traditional dress. They have preserved an ancient variant of the Russian language and have held on to their religious customs. Like other minorities in 
deu. Rumänien, ron. România

Romania is a country in southeastern Europe with a population of almost 20 million people. The capital of the country is Bucharest. The state is situated directly on the Black Sea, the Carpathian Mountains and borders Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine and Moldova. Romania was established in 1859 from the merger of Moldova and Wallachia. Romania is home to Transylvania, the central region for the German minority there.

, they have a political lobby, the "Comunitatea Rușilor Lipoveni din România". A group of Old Believers moved to North America in the 19th century, where an important community still lives in the US state of Oregon, for example.
5. Armenians
With the Christianization of the Armenians and the foundation of the Armenian Apostolic Church in 301, the oldest Christian state church and at the same time the oldest oriental Christian church was established. The major dispersion of Armenians in the Orient,
lat. Tauris, rus. Крым, rus. Krym, ukr. Крим, ukr. Krym, deu. Krim

Crimea is a peninsula separating the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov. It is inhabited by nearly 2.3 million people. The capital is Sevastopol. The island is largely inhabited by Russian-speaking populations. Its status has been disputed under international law since 2014.

and the Eastern Balkans led to an Armenian diaspora in the Middle Ages, which also spread to the Danube principalities of
Western Moldavia
ron. Moldova, deu. Moldau

The term Moldova here applies to the historical landscape in today's Romania, which goes back to several historical states and provinces like the former Principality of Moldova. Moldova borders Bessarabia to the east and Bukovina to the north.

ron. Țara Românească, deu. Walachei

Wallachia is a historical landscape in the South of Romania, bordering the mountain range of the Southern Carpathians and the historical landscape of Transylvania in the North, the Danube River in the South and Bulgaria in the political sphere. The biggest city of Wallachia is the Romanian capital Bucharest.

and to 
deu. Polen, pol. Polska

Poland is a state in Central Eastern Europe and is home to approximately 38 million people. The country is the sixth largest member state of the European Union. The capital and biggest city of Poland is Warsaw. Poland is made up of 16 voivodships. The largest river in the country is the Vistula (Polish: Wisła).

 in the 14th century.13 The Armenian cathedral of
deu. Lemberg, pol. Lwów, eng. Lviv, rus. Lwow, rus. Львов, yid. Lemberg, yid. לעמבערג, ukr. Львів, ukr. L'viv

Lviv (German: Lemberg, Ukrainian: Львів, Polish: Lwów) is a city in western Ukraine in the oblast of the same name. With nearly 730,000 inhabitants (2015), Lviv is one of the largest cities in Ukraine. The city was part of Poland and Austria-Hungary for a long time.

Due to the war in Ukraine, it is possible that this information is no longer up to date.

(Ukrainian: Львів, Polish: Lwów), which dates from the middle of the 14th century, is an eloquent architectural testimony to this early presence. During the early modern period, richly decorated, ornamental buildings housing Armenian department stores were built in the planned city 

Zamość is a city of 63,000 people in southeastern Poland. It is located in the Lublin voivodeship not far from the border with Ukraine. Zamość is located in the Roztocze region.

, the aristocratic ruler of the city having granted them tolerance. In the 17th century, Armenian refugees from the Danube principality of Moldavia arrived in Transylvania and found refuge in 
deu. Elisabethstadt, lat. Elisabethopolis, hun. Ebesfalva, hun. Erzsébetváros, ron. Ibașfalău

Elisabethstadt is a small town inhabited by 7,400 people in the historical region of Transylvania. It was founded in the Middle Ages by Transylvanian Saxons.

 (Romanian: Dumbrăveni, Hungarian: Erzsébetváros), where a baroque church still bears witness to their presence today. Priests of the Armenian Church had already maintained good relations with the Roman Catholic Church in the late Middle Ages; in the early modern period, Armenian Catholic (united) church communities were established in Poland and Transylvania, for example, which in practice led to a strong linguistic acculturation of the members. The genocide of the Armenians in the 
Ottoman Empire
tur. Osmanlı İmparatorluğu, deu. Osmanisches Reich, deu. Ottomanisches Reich

The Ottoman Empire was the state of the Ottoman dynasty from about 1299 to 1922. The name derives from the founder of the dynasty, Osman I. The successor state of the Ottoman Empire is the Republic of Turkey.

 (1915) caused a further exodus, and today important Armenian communities can be found in France, the USA, Canada and a number of South American countries. Many of the emigrants have continued their religious practices far from their original homeland.
6. The church integration of German displaced persons and refugees after 1945
From 1945, West and East Germany began admitting German refugees, displaced persons and ethnic German repatriates from Eastern Europe, leading to a loosening of the denominational boundaries in many German regions, which, until then, had been relatively sharply delineated.14  For example, the arrival of Catholic Silesians in Lower Saxony reinforced the Catholic diaspora in the Oldenburg region and in East Frisia, while Protestant East Prussians and Transylvanian Saxons loosened up, in confessional terms, the predominantly Catholic areas of Bavaria and the Protestant Zipsers did the same in Catholic Baden. While church integration – even in regions of the same denomination – was anything but easy in the early days, this new proximity of Catholics and Protestants proved to be an important long-term impulse towards a more ecumenical coexistence of Christians in Germany. At the same time, independent traditions were preserved over a longer period of time: In congregations with a high proportion of Catholic Lower Silesians, for example, a Christmas service without "Transeamus usque Betlehem", a well-known Silesian choral work, remained, for many years, unthinkable. Furthermore, pilgrimage traditions from places that were considered unreachable during the Cold War continued to be practiced in the host regions; for example, Catholics from the county of Kłodzko made pilgrimages to Telgte in the Münsterland region, while for Catholic Upper Silesians, the Upper Bavarian town of Altötting became a new pilgrimage destination. At the same time, various Protestant customs and musical traditions also had an impact on the Protestant Church in Germany and thus became common property.
The examples given here are representative of many other religious communities that have migrated throughout European history. This phenomenon was not limited to Christian churches and communities. When the Russian Empire expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries and Islamic groups such as Tatars or Circassians were expelled, some of them migrated to the provinces of the Eastern Balkan Peninsula, which at that time still belonged to the Ottoman Empire. This became home, in particular, to the Tatars, who mostly lived in peaceful coexistence with the region’s Christian communities.
Today, people are still fleeing persecution and war for religious reasons, for example Christian and Iraqi Syrians or Shiite Muslims from predominantly Sunni areas in the Middle East. While the importance of religion is declining in many European countries, in other parts of the world, belonging to a particular religious group continues to be a criterion for exclusion.
Let us return once again to the initial question: The Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen came from a Jewish family whose ancestors emigrated to North America from Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire. The ancestors of New York director Woody Allen also migrated to the USA from various Jewish communities in the Tsarist Empire and
deu. Österreich-Ungarn, deu. Donaumonarchie, deu. Doppelmonarchie, deu. Habsburgerreich, deu. Habsburgisches Reich, deu. Habsburgermonarchie, hun. Osztrák-Magyar Birodalom, eng. Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, eng. Austrian-Hungarian Empire

Austria-Hungary (Hungarian: Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia), also known as Imperial and Royal Hungary Monarchy, was a historical state in Central and Southeastern Europe that existed from 1867 to 1918.

. The French chansonnier Charles Aznavour, on the other hand, was born into an Armenian family: his father emigrated from 
rus. Грузия, rus. Grusija, kat. საქართველო, kat. Sakartwelo, deu. Georgien

Georgia is a republic in the South Caucasus. The land is inhabited by 3.7 million people and is located on the border between eastern Europe and western Asia. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi. The country is located on the eastern end of the Black Sea and borders Russia as well as Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Georgia has been an independent state since the fall of the Soviet Union.

, while his mother escaped the genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire.
English translation: William Connor

Siehe auch