These 3 pictures are circulating the net, it appears, courtesy of Ahmet Aykac, whose FB page describes as a professor who studied at Columbia. He seems to have a fairly small following, and this wouldn’t be significant but for the fact that within a week this has already been shared over 244,000 times! No matter one’s views on the current refugee crisis, this post is just wrong, factually and logically.
The first thing that should strike the observant person, is that these pictures look awfully clear (and colorful!) to be from World War 2, which the post implies. This is because they’re not from WW2, and these refugees are not going to North Africa. If you look closely at the third picture, you can see the name of the ship, Vlora. A brief google search brings up the history of this photo and events.
These were taken in 1991, when tens of thousands were fleeing the collapsing communist regime of Albania, in hopes of resettling in Italy. Good information about this event can be found here, or in this New York Times article.
While one wouldn’t necessarily need to check with their grandparents about an event that happened only 24 years ago, doing so might not get you the information that this post suggests. The response from the Italian government was quite harsh. The refugees were detained by Italian authorities, and within a couple of weeks most were deported back to Albania. Whether or not this was the appropriate or ethical response is beyond the scope of this site, but they were not welcomed with open arms, and were nowhere near North Africa.
As far as European refugees in World War 2, there were certainly many. Millions from Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe fled for a variety of reasons. If desired, some info can be found here on that. After a small amount of research, it appears the vast majority of these refugees were taken in by Western Europe, the United States, and Israel. I couldn’t find anything documenting significant populations fleeing to North Africa, but I’d be happy to update this post if someone provides reliable information on that.