The Evian Conference

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On 7 July 1938, as a result of American pressure, an international conference was held at Evian, in France, to discuss what could be done to help the German Jews. Whilst each of the 32 delegates expressed their concern about the situation in Germany, the countries concerned offered very little practical help.

During the conference, the British government made it very clear that it would not be able to increase its quota for refugees, citing high levels of unemployment. France also said that they were “at the extreme point of saturation”.

The Australian delegate reported "as we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one." Other countries also cited the economic depression and population levels as a reason why they could not increase refugee quotas.

Only the Dominican Republic volunteered to take in up to 100,000 refugees, but then only in return for large amounts of money. In actual fact only 800 refugees entered the country and most of those moved on to the United States.

Hitler noted how ”astounding” it was that, even though these countries criticised Germany for its treatment of the Jews, they nevertheless refused to open their borders to them. The British delegate to the conference apologised to the Germans for interfering. The Evian conference sent Hitler the signal he needed: foreign governments would not interfere in his anti-Jewish policies.