Lesson Plan

The Evian Conference

Students will learn about the international community’s failed attempt to find suitable options to the refugee crisis following Germany’s annexation of Austria.

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The Holocaust

Enduring Understanding

Thirty-two countries came together on July 6-16, 1938 to discuss the refugee crisis in what was known as the Evian Conference.

Essential Question

  • 1Does the international community have a moral obligation to help people who have been forced to leave their home countries?


10 Min

Bring up the painting The Refugee by Felix Nussbaum from the Echoes & Reflections website. Ask your students the following questions: Who is the man? What does the globe represent?

Explain that the painting was created by an artist who was killed at Auschwitz. How does the artist express the plight of the refugee in this painting?


10 Min

Direct students to the resource, Evian Conference by Echoes & Reflections. Read it through as a class or have students read it to themselves.
· What were some reasons countries gave for not wanting to take in refugees?


15 Min

Break students out into groups of 3-5 to discuss the questions below.

1. Why do you think Franklin D. Roosevelt made it clear that no country would be forced to change its immigration quotas?
2. What do you think could have happened if at least one of the bigger powers (such as the United States or France) were to volunteer to help in a greater capacity?
3. The Evian Conference is seen as an utter failure by the international community to address the refugee problem in Europe. Considering what happened to the Jews, do you think the international community has a moral obligation to help refugees?
4. Should there be an international agency that requires countries to assist refugees?

If time permits, reconvene as a class and go over what the groups discussed.

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Teacher Primer

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