The Évian Conference was convened 6–15 July 1938, at Évian-les-Bains, France, to discuss the Jewish refugee problem and the plight of the increasing numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing persecution by Nazi Germany. It was convened at the initiative of United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt who perhaps hoped to obtain commitments from some of the invited nations to accept more refugees, although he took pains to avoid stating that objective expressly. Historians have suggested that Roosevelt desired to deflect attention and criticism from American policy that severely limited the quota of Jewish refugees admitted to the United States.
The conference was attended by representatives from 32 countries, and 24 voluntary organizations also attended as observers, presenting plans either orally or in writing. Golda Meir, the attendee from British Mandate Palestine, was not permitted to speak or to participate in the proceedings except as an observer. Some 200 international journalists gathered at Évian to observe and report on the meeting.
Adolf Hitler responded to the news of the conference by saying essentially that if the other nations would agree to take the Jews, he would help them leave:
I can only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals [Jews], will at least be generous enough to convert this sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on luxury ships.
The conference was ultimately doomed, as aside from the Dominican Republic, delegations from the 32 participating nations failed to come to any agreement about accepting the Jewish refugees fleeing the Third Reich. The conference thus inadvertently proved to be a useful propaganda tool for the Nazis.
The Nuremberg Laws stripped German Jews, who were already persecuted by the Hitler regime, of their German citizenship. They were classified as "subjects" and became stateless in their own country. By 1938, some 450,000 of about 900,000 German Jews were expelled or fled Germany, mostly to France and British Mandate Palestine, where the massive wave of migrants led to an Arab uprising. When Hitler annexed Austria in March 1938, and applied German racial laws, the 200,000 Jews of Austria became stateless.
Hitler's expansion was accompanied by a rise in vicious and violent anti-Semitic fascist movements across Europe and the Middle East. Significantly antisemitic governments came to power in Poland (from 1935 the government boycotted its own Jewish population), Hungary and Romania, where Jews had always been second class citizens. The result was millions of Jews attempting to flee Europe, while they were perceived as an undesirable and socially damaging population with popular academic theories arguing that Jews damaged the "racial hygiene" or "eugenics" of nations where they were resident and engaged in conspirative behaviour.
Before the Conference the United States and Britain made a critical agreement: the British promised not to bring up the fact that the United States was not filling its immigration quotas, and any mention of Palestine as a possible destination for Jewish refugees was excluded from the agenda. Britain administered Palestine under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine.
Conference delegates expressed sympathy for Jews under Nazism but made no immediate joint resolution or commitment, portraying the conference as a mere beginning, to the frustration of some commentators. Noting "that the involuntary emigration of people in large numbers has become so great that it renders racial and religious problems more acute, increases international unrest, and may hinder seriously the processes of appeasement in international relations", the Évian Conference established the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (ICR) with the purpose to "approach the governments of the countries of refuge with a view to developing opportunities for permanent settlement." The ICR received little authority or support from its member nations and fell into inaction.
The United States sent no government official to the conference. Instead Roosevelt's friend, the American businessman Myron C. Taylor, represented the U.S. with James G. McDonald as his advisor. The U.S. agreed that the German and Austrian immigration quota of 30,000 a year would be made available to Jewish refugees. In the three years 1938 to 1940 the US actually exceeded this quota by 10,000. During the same period Britain accepted almost the same number of German Jews. Australia agreed to take 15,000 over three years, with South Africa taking only those with close relatives already resident; Canada refused to make any commitment and only accepted a few refugees over this period. The Australian delegate T. W. White noted: "as we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one". The French delegate stated that France had reached "the extreme point of saturation as regards admission of refugees", a sentiment repeated by most other representatives.
The only countries willing to accept a large number of Jews were the Dominican Republic, which offered to accept up to 100,000 refugees on generous terms, and later Costa Rica. In 1940 an agreement was signed and Rafael Trujillo donated 26,000 acres (110 km2) of his properties near the town of Sosúa for settlements. The first settlers arrived in May 1940: only about 800 settlers came to Sosúa, and most later moved on to the United States. The Sosúa Virtual museum is a living memorial to the settlers.
The result of the failure of the conference was that many of the Jews had no escape and so were ultimately subject to what was known as Hitler's "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". Two months after Évian, in September 1938, Britain and France granted Hitler the right to occupy the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, which made a further 120,000 Jews stateless. In November 1938, on Kristallnacht, a massive pogrom across the Third Reich was accompanied by the destruction of over 1,000 synagogues, massacres and the arbitrary arrest of tens of thousands of Jews. In March 1939, Hitler occupied the remainder of Czechoslovakia, which now took in a further 180,000 Jews, while in May 1939 the British issued the White Paper which barred Jews from entering Palestine or buying land there. Following their occupation of Poland in late 1939 and invasion of Soviet Union in 1941, the Germans embarked on a program of systematically killing all Jews in Europe. In this, the Nazis had local assistance in at least some cases. Sémelin argued that local help was virtually always required to identify and organize the removal of Jews.
In her autobiography My Life (1975), Golda Meir described her outrage being in "the ludicrous capacity of the [Jewish] observer from Palestine, not even seated with the delegates, although the refugees under discussion were my own people...." After the conference Meir told the press: "There is only one thing I hope to see before I die and that is that my people should not need expressions of sympathy anymore." Chaim Weizmann was quoted in The Manchester Guardian as saying: "The world seemed to be divided into two parts – those places where the Jews could not live and those where they could not enter."
In July 1979, Walter Mondale described the hope represented by the Evian conference:
"At stake at Evian were both human lives – and the decency and self-respect of the civilized world. If each nation at Evian had agreed on that day to take in 17,000 Jews at once, every Jew in the Reich could have been saved. As one American observer wrote, 'It is heartbreaking to think of the ...desperate human beings ... waiting in suspense for what happens at Evian. But the question they underline is not simply humanitarian ... it is a test of civilization.'"
|High Commission for Refugees from Germany|
|General Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Committee||
The international press was represented by about two hundred journalists, chiefly the League of Nations correspondents of the leading daily and weekly newspapers and news agencies.
Evian is a brand of bottled spring water.
Evian or variation, may also refer to:
Évian-les-Bains (aka Évian) a commune in France
Évian Accords (1962) a treaty that ended the Algerian War of Independence
Évian Conference (1938) a conference to deal with Jewish refugees fleeing Germany
The Evian Group at IMD (formerly Evian Group) a group of governments and businesses committed to global markets that are open, inclusive, equitable, sustainable
Evian Resort Golf Club, Évian-les-Bains, France
The Evian Championship (golf) a women's golf championship in France
Thonon Évian Savoie F. C. (aka Évian) a soccer team located in Thonon-les-Bains, FranceExpulsions and exoduses of Jews
In Jewish history, Jews have experienced numerous mass expulsions and have fled from areas after experiencing ostracism and threats of various kinds by various local authorities seeking refuge in other countries.
The Land of Israel was always regarded by Jews as the Jewish homeland. After its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel adopted the 1950 Law of Return restoring Israel as the Jewish homeland and making it the place of refuge for Jewish refugees at the time and into the future. This law was intended to encourage Jews to return to their homeland in Israel.Golda Meir
Golda Meir (Hebrew: גּוֹלְדָּה מֵאִיר; pronounced [ˈɡolda meˈʔiʁ], born Golda Mabovitch, May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik, stateswoman, politician and the fourth prime minister of Israel.
Born in Kiev, she emigrated to the United States as a child with her family in 1906, and was educated there, becoming a teacher. After marrying, she and her husband immigrated to then Mandatory Palestine in 1921, settling on a kibbutz. Meir was elected prime minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. The world's fourth and Israel's first and only woman to hold the office, she has been described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics; the term was later applied to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government"; she was often portrayed as the "strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people."Meir resigned as prime minister in 1974, the year following the Yom Kippur War. She died in 1978 of lymphoma.Haavara Agreement
The Haavara Agreement (Hebrew: הסכם העברה Translit.: heskem haavara Translated: "transfer agreement") was an agreement between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews signed on 25 August 1933. The agreement was finalized after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany, the Anglo-Palestine Bank (under the directive of the Jewish Agency) and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany. It was a major factor in making possible the migration of approximately 60,000 German Jews to Palestine in 1933–1939.The agreement enabled Jews fleeing persecution under the new Nazi regime to transfer some portion of their assets to British Mandatory Palestine. Emigrants sold their assets in Germany to pay for essential goods (manufactured in Germany) to be shipped to Mandatory Palestine.
The agreement was controversial at the time, and was criticised by many Jewish leaders both within the Zionist movement (such as the Revisionist Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky) and outside it, as well as by members of the NSDAP and members of the German public.
For German Jews, the agreement offered a way to leave an increasingly hostile environment in Germany; for the Yishuv, the new Jewish community in Palestine, it offered access to both immigrant labor and economic support; for the Germans it facilitated the emigration of German Jews while breaking the anti-Nazi boycott of 1933, which had mass support among European Jews and was thought by the German state to be a potential threat to the German economy.History of the Jews in the Dominican Republic
The first Jews known to have reached the island of Hispaniola were Spanish.
When the island was divided by the French and the Spanish, most Jews settled on the Spanish side which would later become the Dominican Republic. Eventually, Sephardim from other countries also arrived. In the 19th century Jews from Curaçao settled in Hispaniola, although they did not form a strong community. Most of them hid their Jewish identities or were unaffiliated with Jewish tradition by that time. Among their descendants were Dominican President Francisco Henríquez y Carvajal and his issue Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Max Henríquez Ureña, and Camila Henríquez Ureña.
The Dominican Republic was one of the very few countries willing to accept mass Jewish immigration during World War II. At the Évian Conference, it offered to accept up to 100,000 Jewish refugees. It is estimated that 5,000 visas were actually issued, and the vast majority of the recipients did not reach the country because of how hard it was to get out of occupied Europe. The DORSA (Dominican Republic Settlement Association) was formed with the assistance of the JDC, and helped settle Jews in Sosúa, on the northern coast. About 700 European Jews of Ashkenazi Jewish descent reached the settlement where each family received 33 hectares (82 acres) of land, 10 cows (plus 2 additional cows per child), a mule and a horse, and a US$10,000 loan (about 170,000 dollars at 2019 prices) at 1% interest. Other refugees settled in the capital, Santo Domingo. In 1943 the number of known Jews in the Dominican Republic peaked at 1000. Sosúa’s Jewish community experienced a deep decline in the 1980s due to emigration during the touristic boom of Sosúa when most Jews sold their land to developers at exorbitant prices. The oldest Jewish grave is dated to 1826.Ho Feng-Shan
Ho Feng-Shan (traditional Chinese: 何鳳山; simplified Chinese: 何凤山; pinyin: Hé Fèngshān 10 September 1901 – 28 September 1997) was a Chinese diplomat for the Republic of China. When he was consul-general in Vienna during World War II, he risked his life and career to save more than 3,000 Jews by issuing them visas, disobeying the instruction of his superiors. Ho's actions were recognized posthumously when the Israeli organization Yad Vashem in 2000 decided to award him the title "Righteous Among the Nations".Humphrey Hume Wrong
Humphrey Hume Wrong (September 10, 1894 – January 24, 1954) was a Canadian historian, professor, career diplomat, and Canada's ambassador to the United States.International response to the Holocaust
In the decades since the Holocaust, some national governments, international bodies and world leaders have been criticized for their failure to take appropriate action to save the millions of European Jews, Roma, and other victims of the Holocaust. Critics say that such intervention, particularly by the Allied governments, might have saved substantial numbers of people and could have been accomplished without the diversion of significant resources from the war effort.Other researchers have challenged such criticism. Some have argued that the idea that the Allies took no action is a myth—that the Allies accepted as many German Jewish immigrants as the Nazis would allow—and that theoretical military action by the Allies, such as bombing the Auschwitz concentration camp, would have saved the lives of very few people. Others have said that the limited intelligence available to the Allies—who, as late as October 1944, did not know the locations of many of the Nazi death camps or the purposes of the various buildings within those camps they had identified—made precision bombing impossible.In three cases, entire countries resisted the deportation of their Jewish population during the Holocaust. In other countries, notable individuals or communities created resistance during the Holocaust.Jews escaping from German-occupied Europe
After Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933, Jews began to escape Nazi Europe.Jonah Wise
Rabbi Jonah Bondi Wise (February 21, 1881 – February 1, 1959) was an American Rabbi and leader of the Reform Judaism movement, who served for over thirty years as rabbi of the Central Synagogue in Manhattan and was a founder of the United Jewish Appeal, serving as its chairman from its creation in 1939 until 1958.Kenan Erim
Kenan Tevfik Erim (February 13, 1929 in İstanbul – November 3, 1990 in Ankara) was a Turkish archaeologist who excavated from 1961 until his death at the site of Aphrodisias in Turkey.Léon Thébaud
Léon Robert Thébaud, a lawyer and ambassador, was born in Gonaïves, Haïti on 5 June 1894 and died in Paris, France. He worked early on with his father in the import trade of building materials. Léon was appointed Consul General in Marseille, France on 13 October 1927. From 1932 to 1937 he was a Counsellor at the Legation in Paris. Minister Plenipotentiary in Paris and inspector of consulates of Haiti in Europe from 1937 to 1941. He returned to that position after the war in 1952.Michael Palairet
Sir Michael Palairet (29 September 1882 – 5 August 1956) was a British diplomat who was minister to Romania, Sweden and Austria, and minister and ambassador to Greece.None Is Too Many
None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933–1948 is a book co-authored by the Canadian historians Irving Abella and Harold Troper and published in 1983 about Canada's restrictive immigration policy towards Jewish refugees during the Holocaust years. The book helped popularize the phrase "none is too many" in Canada.Otto Hirsch
Otto Hirsch (January 9, 1885 – June 19, 1941) was a German and Jewish jurist and politician during the Weimar Republic. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany and died in Mauthausen concentration camp.Simón Iturri Patiño
Simón Iturri Patiño (1 June 1862, in Santiváñez – 20 April 1947, in Buenos Aires) was a Bolivian industrialist who was among the world's wealthiest people at the time of his death. With a fortune built from ownership of a majority of the tin industry in Bolivia, Patiño was nicknamed "The Andean Rockefeller". During World War II, Patiño was believed to be one of the five wealthiest men in the world.The Holocaust in France
The Holocaust in France refers to the persecution, deportation, and annihilation of Jews and Roma between 1940 and 1944 in occupied France, metropolitan Vichy, and in Vichy-North Africa, during World War II. The persecution began in 1940, and culminated in deportations of Jews from France to concentration camps in Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland from 1942 which lasted until July 1944. Of the 340,000 Jews living in metropolitan/continental France in 1940, more than 75,000 were deported to death camps, where about 72,500 were killed. French Vichy government and the French police participated in the roundup of Jews. Although most deported Jews died, the survival rate of the Jewish population in France was up to 75% which is one of the highest survival rates in Europe.World Jewish Relief
World Jewish Relief is a British Jewish charitable organisation and is the main Jewish overseas aid organisation in the United Kingdom. World Jewish Relief was formed in 1933 as a support group to German Jews under Nazi rule and played a major role in organising the Kindertransport which rescued around 10,000 German and Austrian children from Nazi Germany. Currently, World Jewish Relief functions as one of Britain's leading development organizations, working with Jewish and non-Jewish communities alike. World Jewish Relief operates programmes mainly in the Former Soviet Union but also in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia.Évian-les-Bains
Évian-les-Bains or Évian (French pronunciation: [evjɑ̃ le bɛ̃]) is a commune in the northern part of the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.
A high-market holiday resort and spa town on the shores of Lake Geneva (French: Lac Léman), it has been visited, over two centuries, by royalty such as Kings Edward VII and George V of the United Kingdom and King Farouk of Egypt, and celebrities such as countess Anna de Noailles and Marcel Proust.