- Evian Conference
- The conference was convened by the United States, at the suggestion of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in July 1938 in Evian-les-Bains, France, for the purpose of dealing with the problem of Jewish refugees that was precipitated by their persecution in Austria following the Anschluss. The conference hoped to draw attention to the plight of all refugees, but without special reference to the Jews. The nations represented at the conference hoped that in condemning the German government’s mistreatment of its nationals, it would force Germany to back down. Many at Evian, however, feared that should they come to the rescue of the victims of Nazi persecution by creating havens in their countries, this would establish a precedent whereby nations would engage in persecution in order to drive out unwanted minorities. This argument was certainly a factor in the reluctance of the assembled nations to liberalize their immigration laws, as the plight of the Jews worsened in areas under German control.The fear was also expressed at Evian that the influx of large numbers of Jews in countries still grappling with the depression would lead to an anti-Semitic backlash. This concern is best exemplified by the comments made by Colonel Thomas White, Australia’s delegate to the Evian Conference: “Under the circumstances, Australia cannot do more, for . . . undue privileges cannot be given to one particular case of non-British subject without injustices for others. It will no doubt be appreciated also that, as we have no real racial problems, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration.”
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.