July 6, 2018




Evian Conference:  Representatives from 33 nations convened 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. The conference was organized and led by President Franklin Roosevelt who anticipated that other nations would accept more Jewish refugees . Roosevelt used the conference as a way to deflect attention and criticism away from American policy for its severe quota restrictions of Jewish refugees admitted to the US.  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. The conference was ultimately doomed, as delegations from the 32 participating nations refused to come to any agreement about accepting the Jewish refugees fleeing the Third Reich. Only two countries, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, increased their quotas. The result of the failure of the conference was that many of the Jews had no escape and were ultimately the target of Hitler's "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" - the Holocaust.  Two months after Évian, in September 1938, Britain and France granted Hitler the right to occupy the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia and as a result 120,000 Jews became 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. 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 systematic deportation, and murder of millions of Jews from throughout Europe.  The only way that Nazis could have accomplished this treachery was with the assistance of local authorities, military and police, who organized the identification and removal of the Jews.


Anne Frank and her family went into hiding. They intentionally left their apartment in disarray to give the impression that they "left in a hurry" and Otto, her father, left a note that they were going to Switzerland. The Frank family had to walk to the their shelter,  a building which housed the Opekta office on Prinsengracht, where they hid inside a three storey space (a few of the employees in the building knew about it) A week later the van Pels family joined them, which created some friction in an already confined space, something that Anne Frank wrote about in her diary. This hiding place became known as the Achterhuis (translated as "Secret Annex" in English editions of the diary). On August 4, 1944, their Achterhuis was stormed by the SS, arrested them and interrogated them at the police headquarters where they were kept overnight. The SS treated them as if they were criminals and they were sent to a work camp to do hard labour.


German Democratic Republic agreed to accept the Oder-Niesse boundary with Poland. (The Treaty of Zgorzelec (Full title The Agreement Concerning the Demarcation of the Established and the Existing Polish-German State Frontier, also known as the Treaty of Görlitz and Treaty of Zgorzelic) The agreement was signed under Soviet pressure by Otto Grotewohl, prime minister of the provisional government of the GDR (East Germany) and Polish premier Józef Cyrankiewicz. It recognized the Oder-Neisse line implemented by the 1945 Potsdam Agreement as the border between the two states. The treaty was worded as a declaration and was not initially recognized by West Germany as a legitimate international treaty.  It wasn't until 1990 when a reunified Germany recognized the Oder-Niesse boundary, in the German-Polish Border Treaty.

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