On this significant day in Jewish history, July 6th, 1938, the Evian Conference 1938 commenced.
The Beginnings of the Evian Conference 1938
The Evian Conference was convened #onthisday at the picturesque Évian-les-Bains in France in 1938, the year preceding the outbreak of WW2. At this historical conference, a number of nations gathered over a week, expressing their sympathy towards European Jewry. Yet, apart from the Dominican Republic, no nations stepped forward with genuine help for Europe’s Jews.
The Progress of the Conference
This critical conference, initiated by US President Franklin Roosevelt, sought to negotiate with various countries for accepting a larger number of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. However, the conference concluded with less-than-expected outcomes, not able to distract from the US’s remarkably low acceptance quota for Jewish refugees.
The Attendees and their Roles
Representatives from thirty-two countries attended this chaotically managed conference. In addition, twenty-four other organizations attended voluntarily, acting as observers and showcased plans either in writing or through speeches.
The Disappointing Outcome
The Evian Conference 1938 unfortunately accomplished very little in terms of solid results. Golda Meir, representing the Palestinian Jewish Yishuv, was present at the conference but was restricted to the role of a mere observer. Post-conference, Golda’s words reflected the harsh reality that relying on others for help was futile.
Adolf Hitler, known for his virulent anti-Semitism, openly invited any countries to accept the Jews under his control. The lack of enthusiastic response, apart from the Dominican Republic, reinforced Hitler’s belief: The Nazis didn’t want the Jews and seemingly, neither did anyone else. This disappointing outcome turned into fervent propaganda for the Nazis in the years that followed.
For a visual depiction of the Evian Conference 1938, refer to our Image Source.
To delve deeper into the history of the Evian Conference, visit the following sources: