Konferenz von Evian 1938 (Teil 8)

Konferenz von Evian
Trügerische Kulisse: Schweizer Kurort Evian

Palestine Post




EVIAN, Tuesday.— The Refugees Conference will be resumed in London on August 3 (not July 31, as previously stated).

Its meetings will be presided over by Lord Winterton, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who represents Great Britain at the conference. An air mail message from The Palestine Post’s special correspondent at Evian, dated July 9, states that the third and fourth day of the general debate followed the pattern of the opening session, every speaker stressing the difficulties in the way of large scale immigration, unless accompanied by the transfer of capital.

Unanimous Tendency

Yesterday’s morning and afteroon sessions were held in camera, while, simultaneously, the Technical Commission met under the chairmanship of the Norwegian delegate, Mr. Hansson. The fact has already been noticed that the Commission’s task, which is to establish the economic absorptive capacity of every country individually, is rendered difficult by the tendency of every delegation to give the lowest possible estimate of its country’s capacity for immigration.

In addition to the British, Australian and New Zealand delegates, the representatives of eight Central and South American Republics have so far made public statements on their Governments’ attitudes.

The statements made and the arguments employed by the delegates of Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay, San Domingo, Venezuela, and Columbia differed little from one another, as was to be expected. Every speaker emphasized the fact that present economic conditions render large-scale immigration without the accompanying import of capital difficult, if not impossible, especially for the countries of Latin America.

Question of Law

The question of whether a country has the right under international law to expel its subjects, throwing them on the mercy of other nations, was raised by the delegate of Columbia, who suggested that a special sub-committee should be set up to concern itself exclusively with the legal side of the question, preparatory to joint action by the countries concerned.

Regarding the necessity of aiding those who have already been compelled to emigrate the speaker proposed the opening of the British, French and Dutch colonies to them, closing his address with the words: “Messieurs les Francais, Messieurs les Anglais, Messieurs les Hollandais, it’s up to you to act first.” (Loud Laughter).

The delegate of Peru, while expressing profound sympathy with the plight of the Jews, pointed out that his country was unable to absorb large numbers of immigrants, not only for economic reasons but also because they desired the bulk of their population to be Spanish and Catholic. San Domingo holds out prospects of employment, for a limited number of technicians, according to the San Domingan delegate, while its considerable reserves of arable land call for investment of capital as well as agricultural labour.

Depressed Denmark

One of the most negative speeches heard so far was made by the Danish representative who, asked for recognition of the position of Denmark as a country of emigration with a disproportionately large number of unemployed. Most of the work is at present being done in the Commissions, while the meetings of the assembly arc confined to general statements, from which practical proposals are conspicuously lacking. (Comment on Refugee Work — Pages 5 and 6.)



THE refugee problem and the first statements made at Evian continue to occupy the British press, especially as a result of the repeated suggestions that vacant spaces for settlement might be found both in Australia and in British territory in Africa.

Hope that a solution can be found for the half-million German and Austrian Jews seems, curiously, weakest, in those papers most in sympathy with the Reich, such as the “Evening Standard“, which contributes only a gloomy list of the countries that have declared themselves unable to offer any concessions to the refugee Jews, and points out that “it takes more than indigent urban immigrants to make uncultivated land flow with milk and honey,” without supplying any other solutions.

Hope Simpson’s Analysis

The “Spectator” devotes a long article by Sir John Hope Simpson to “The Refugee Tragedy.”* He states, in effect, that there are three ways out of the problem created by Germany and passed on to the civilised world to solve: either conditions in Germany must be radically changed, and any attempt to advise this would be resented by Germany as interference in “internal affairs”, or successful mass emigration must be made possible, which was the task that the Evian Conference had set itself, the only other avenue of escape, to which resort had frequently been had, was suicide.

Sir John then recalls the liberal policies towards refugees of France and Czechoslovakia since the War, and points out that in both countries the immigrants had proved an asset and not a burden ultimately, adding that the stringent regulations imposed by Great Britain seemed very ungenerous by comparison.

Refugees Create Work

No very detailed inquiry into the problem of refugees obtaining work that would otherwise have been available for nationals of their country of refuge were yet available (he says) but it had been established in Belgium and Holland that industries started by refugees had created additional employment, and in Great Britain itself the arrival of Jewish refugees from Leipzig had resulted in a marked extension of the fur trade in London.

A leading article in the same issue of the “Spectator” claims “It is idle to pretend that it is beyond the powers of the civilised countries to provide for 500,000 people, and suggests that it is hypocrisy to protest against German treatment of Jews unless this is accompanied by a readiness to give practical assistance.

It was also essential that the Conference should provide passports to these refugees, as a “legal existence” was the first essential of a civilised existence. The “New Statesman” similarly praises the generosity of France and Czechoslovakia in admitting refugees in the past, and reminds the public that refugee problems of considerable magnitude were happily solved in the years folowing the war.

Mr. Adams’ Solution

A great deal of space is devoted to the question in the “Jewish Chronicle“. Mr. Vyvyan Adams, M.P.** outlines a plan for making Palestine the solution of the Jewish refugee problem. There was evidence , in the past that large-scale Jewish immigration had been followed by periods of great economic progress, and recent experience, on the other hand, did not go to show that curtailed immigration restored peace.

Palestine (Mr. Adams argues) was the only country where the Jew was one of the people as soon as he set foot on land, and also the only one in which Jewish agricultural settlement had already proved a practical success.

While it was obvious that the Jews of the world could never all be absorbed by Palestine, it was not Jews but excess Jews that became the victims of persecution and the settling in Palestine of a comparatively small proportion of world Jewry would ease the tension to an incomparably greater extent.

The close settlement of Palestine by Jews would also create a strong fortress for Britain at a vital point in its communications. The international dangers of the wholesale expulsion of a minority, as envisaged by Mr. Myron C. Taylor at Evian, are also recorded in the “Jewish Chronicle“, in a special report from the Conference. “Pressure against minority groups and disregard of elementary human rights are contrary to the principle of what we have come to regard as the accepted standards of civilisation,” Mr. Taylor said: “We have heard from time to time of the disruptive consequences of the dumping of merchandise upon the world’s economy. Now, what proves disturbing is the forced and chaotic dumping of unfortunate people in large numbers. Racial and religious problems are in consequence rendered more acute in all parts of the world, economic retaliation against the countries which are responsible for this condition is encouraged, the sentiment of international discord and suspicion is heightened, and fear, which is an important obstacle to general appeasement between nations, is accentuated.”

Vienna’s Jewish Delegates

The participation in the Conference of the two Jewish delegates from Vienna is also described. It is emphasized that these had no direct relations with the press, but that it was understood that the Vienna authorities were prepared to strike a bargain, and to make some arrangement for emigrants to take a part of their property with them in exchange for assurances that a specified number of Jews would be allowed to enter the various countries open to immigration. It is also suggested that if the Viennese deputation was successful, another from Berlin might follow (which turned out to be so). An appeal on behalf of the non-Aryan Christians whose existence in Germany and Austria is as precarious as that of the Jews, is published in the “Manchester Guardian”, in a letter from the Bishop of Liverpool. It is pointed out that Jews throughout the world had given generous financial aid to the Jews affected in the Reich, and that the Christians should try to help at least those of their own religion.

Mit jedem weiteren Tag in Evian schwand ein weiterer Teil der ursprünglichen Hoffnung, die man mit der Flüchtlingskonferenz verband.

Das wurde von der Palestine Post in diesem harten, aber wahren Satz gut zusammengefasst:

every speaker stressing the difficulties in the way of large scale immigration, unless accompanied by the transfer of capital.

Moral und Ethik der sogenannten zivilisierten Nationen haben noch nie funkioniert ohne die Unterfütterung mit genügend Geld.

Der bissige Kommentar des Spectator blieb deshalb ein einsamer Ruf in der Wüste: Vorwürfe gegen Deutschlands Umgang mit den Juden seien scheinheilig, solange niemand echte Hilfe anbieten würde.

— Schlesinger

* 1930, also acht Jahre vor Evian, hatte Sir John Hope Simpson der englischen Regierung einen Bericht über die Lage im britischen Mandatsgebiet Palästina vorgelegt. Darin empfahl Simpson eine Begrenzung der jüdischen Einwanderung nach Palästina. Soweit man den obigen Berichten der Palestine Post entnehmen kann, hat Simpson seine Meinung auch angesichts der immer härteren deutschen Repressionen gegen Juden nicht geändert.

** M.P.= Member of Parliament

Hervorhebungen nicht im Original

Photo: Evian: Wikimedia gemeinfrei / public domain

Quelle: Archiv

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