In the summer of 1938, representatives from 32 countries convened in Evian, France at a conference to find a solution to the Jewish refugee problem arising from Nazi persecution. Although many voiced sympathy for the plight of the endangered Jewish people, there was very little done to enable them to emigrate to a safer environment.
But most countries, including the United States and Britain, offered excuses for not letting in more refugees.
Even efforts by some Americans to rescue children failed: the Wagner-Rogers bill, an effort to admit 20,000 endangered Jewish refugee children, was not supported by the Senate in 1939 and 1940. Widespread racial prejudices among Americans—including antisemitic attitudes held by the US State Department officials—played a part in the failure to admit more refugees.
The Evian Conference (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
Why is the Evian Conference significant? It is evidence of the world's collective state of mind just before the Nazi's implemented their plan to exterminate the Jews. It is one of the clearer pieces of evidence that the world knew that the Jews of central Europe were in danger. It is a moral indictment of the Christian democracies and every church that stood by silently. Where was the Good Samaritan?
During the conference, it became painfully obvious that no country was willing to volunteer anything.
The world's democracies had made it extremely clear that they were not willing to help European Jewry.
Evian Conference (Yad Vashem)