In July of 1938, representatives of 32 nations were summoned to Evian France at the call of President Franklin Roosevelt to try to find a solution to the Jewish refugee problem - a crisis precipitated by the increasingly draconian and violent persecution of Jews in Germany and Austria.
The conference, which began with high hopes and high-minded rhetoric, was to end in abject failure. The assembled nations refused to open their hearts and their shores to the persecuted Jews of Europe and their abdication of moral responsibility was taken by Hitler as a green light to move forward with his genocidal "final solution".
In July of this year, a symposium was convened in the same Hotel Royale where the 1938 gathering was held. The purpose of this event was to consider the lessons and warnings of The Evian Conference on its 80th anniversary.
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation and host of our podcast, was invited to give the keynote address for the symposium. Her insights and analysis are informed not only by her years of leadership and activism within the human rights community, but also by the lessons she learned as the daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. We are happy to share Dr. Lantos Swett's remarks with you.