Groups that have experienced collective suffering are sometimes more sympathetic toward outgroups, while other times they display higher outgroup prejudice. What can account for these contradictory observations? This study uses a unique historical episode of forced displacement to examine how perceptions of recognition of the ingroup’s victimhood affect views toward outgroups. We collect data on descendants of ethnic Germans ousted from Central and Eastern Europe after the end of World War II, and examine their attitudes toward Syrian refugees today. Both observational data and an experiment are used to test the role of victimhood recognition. When they learn that their suffering is acknowledged by more Germans than they expected, descendants of expellees become more positive toward refugees. Interestingly, this effect is not symmetric. When recognition of suffering is revealed to be lower than respondents’ expectations, their sympathy toward refugees does not decrease. This effect is not present among respondents without a family background of forced expulsion. Additional evidence documents the underlying mechanism at work.