Although relationships between the Germans and Russians in Bessarabia were good, the nationalist and Pan-Slavist movements restricted the privileges of German colonists. Their situation deteriorated severely with the outbreak of the First World War when German schools were closed, German services and newspapers were prohibited. They lost much of their land and were threatened with mass evacuation to Siberia.
After Bessarabia had become part of Romania in 1918, however, the liquidation and expropriation laws were repealed. The colonists received their land back and their schools and churches were allowed to reopen. The following two decades were prosperous, and Bessarabians retained their German heritage while being loyal Romanian citizens. In the 1930s, 2.8% of the population of Bessarabia was German, with an active cultural life. Not for long, however.
In 1940, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina were occupied by Soviet troops and it was agreed to resettle the more than 93,000 Bessarabian Germans to the Reich. They were allowed to take food and whatever personal property they could carry, but were not compensated for their homes, businesses or wealth, and they ended up primarily in camps throughout Saxony, Franconia, Bavaria, the Sudetenland, and Austria, images below.
The biggest majority were resettled on farms in the Warthe-Gau and West Prussia in 1941/1942. In January 1945, Russian troops advanced on these regions, and the Germans suffered tremendous losses while trying to flee. Those lucky enough to survive went to Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Saxony, Lower Saxony, and Holstein, but others were deported to the Caucasus and to Siberia.