What was the evian conference


The Evian Conference

Évian Conference

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 refu…

Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazis aimed to make Germany judenrein (cleansed of Jews) by making life so difficult for them that they would be forced to leave the country. By 1938, about 150,000 German Jews, one in four, had already fled the country.


What was the result of the Evian Conference?

The Evian Conference resulted in almost no change in the immigration policies of most of the attending nations. The major powers–the United States, Great Britain, and France–opposed unrestricted immigration, making it clear that they intended to take no official action to alleviate the German-Jewish refugee problem.

What happened at the 1938 World Trade Conference in Evian?

In July 1938, delegates from 32 nations met in Evian, France. They were joined by representatives from dozens of relief organizations and other groups, as well as hundreds of reporters.

What was at stake at Evian?

“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.

Was Golda Meir allowed to speak at the Évian Conference?

Golda Meir, the attendee from Palestine, was the only representative of a landed Jewish constituency, but she 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 the conclave.



The Nazi regime was characterised by the brutal oppression and persecution of Jewish people and other minorities. The Nazis aimed to completely exclude Jews and other minorities from everyday life.

Antisemitic laws

On the 17 August 1938, all Jews who had ‘non-Jewish’ first names were forced to adopt the middle name Sara or Israel. Just two months later, on the 5 October 1938, a law was passed that decreed that all Jews had to have the letter ‘J’ stamped on their passport.

The Evian Conference

Throughout the 1930s there was a large increase in those attempting to emigrate from Germany due to the increasing persecution of the Jews and other minority ‘non-Aryan’ groups.


Polish Jews being deported from Germany to Zbąszyń in October 1938 during Polen-Aktion. Polen-Aktion was the movement of thousands of Jews back to Poland by the SS and German police. These Jews had had been born in Poland but were living in Germany.


Following the Nazi invasion and occupation of Poland in 1939, many more Roma came under Nazi rule. Here, a Roma man stands for his photograph in occupied Poland in 1940.

Disabled people

Alfred Hess had schizophrenia.The Nazis regarded people diagnosed with schizophrenia as genetically inferior. In 1939, Alfred’s parents, Saloman and Frieda Hess, emigrated to South Africa, but were unable to take Alfred with them. They entrusted him to a guardian and continued to pay for his hospital fees.

Political prisoners

This pamphlet was issued by the Social Democratic Party (SPD), one of the major opponents of the Nazi regime. It reads ‘The revolution against Hitler! The historical task of the German social democracy’. The SPD was banned by the Nazis on the 22 June 1933, but continued to operate in exile.

What was the purpose of the Evian Conference?

Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazis aimed to make Germany judenrein (cleansed of Jews) by making life so difficult for them that they would be forced to leave the country. By 1938, about 150,000 German Jews, one in four, had already fled the country.

When did Evian-les-Bains happen?

Evian-les-Bains, France, August 21, 1938 (USHMM photo). Responding to Evian, the German government was able to state with great pleasure how astounding it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when the opportunity offer [ed].

Site of the Evian Conference

The Hotel Royal, site of the Evian Conference on Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. Evian-les-Bains, France, July 1938.

Myron Taylor

United States delegate Myron Taylor delivers a speech at the Evian Conference on Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. Evian-les-Bains, France, July 15, 1938.

Jewish emigration from Germany, 1933-1940

Between 1933 and 1939, Jews in Germany were subjected to arrest, economic boycott, the loss of civil rights and citizenship, incarceration in concentration camps, random violence, and the state-organized Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) pogrom. Jews reacted to Nazi persecution in a number of ways.

St. Louis photo album

Photo album containing photographs taken by a passenger aboard the St. Louis, with a depiction of the ship on the cover. In 1939, this German ocean liner carried Jewish refugees seeking temporary refuge in Cuba. It was forced to return to Europe after Cuba refused to allow the refugees entry into the country.

Carl Heumann

Carl was one of nine children born to Jewish parents living in a village near the Belgian border. When Carl was 26, he married Joanna Falkenstein and they settled down in a house across the street from his father’s cattle farm. Carl ran a small general store on the first floor of their home. The couple had two daughters, Margot and Lore.




German Führer Adolf Hitler said in response to the conference:
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 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 large wave of migrants led to an Arab uprising. When Hitler annexed Austria in March 1938, and applied German racial laws, the 200,00…


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 hi…


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. In November 1938, on Kristallnacht, a massive pogrom across …


• Agudas Israel World Organization, London
• Alliance Israélite Universelle, Paris
• American, British, Belgian, French, Dutch, and Swiss Catholic Committees for Aid to Refugees
• American Joint Distribution Committee, Paris

See also

• Bermuda Conference
• British Mandate of Palestine
• Kimberley Plan
• Kristallnacht (November 9, 1938)

External links

• Decisions Taken at the Évian Conference
• The Évian Conference on the Yad Vashem website
• Former english daily Palestine Posts contemporary news
• Sosúa Virtual Museum Living memorial to the Sosúa settlers

Leave a Comment