In July 1938 representatives from 32 countries came together in Évian-les-Bains, France, to discuss the Jewish refugee problem. A meeting in this years July remembered the conference 80 years ago. Karl Pfeifer was present, when those speeches could be heard in Evian. He has edited the transcript of those speeches…
I was very surprised, when I was invited to speak at a meeting in July 2018 at Evian Royal hotel to remember the Evian conference 80 years ago. Here some of the most interesting speeches we heard at the formal Dinner on July 11.
Picture above: Karl Pfeifer with Hugh Baver
The organizer Hugh Baver explained:
Hugh Baver…Elihu Baver, actually, my given name, Elihu Yale Elis [SP], again, not the best name to have on the first day of class when you’re a young child, but certainly when you get older it sets you aside in your search engine optimization. There’s not too many Elihu Bavers in the world. Currently, I work as a senior director for a Los Angeles based Cable Television Network, and, however, most importantly for the past four years, I’ve been the board chairman of Sosua75, which is dedicated to raising awareness of two very little-known stories, obviously some very little-known stories of the Evian Conference, and what happened here 80 years ago today during, actually, a nine-day period, and also the consequent settlement in the Dominican Republic in Sosua.
We also have the pleasure of hosting three descendants who actually, as a result of what happened here, are living. Edith Meyerstein, Rene Kirscheimer, who is also sitting at the same table. These are two of the first born-settlers in Sosua, again, as a direct result of the results of this conference.
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett. Thank you for all your organization has done to support this cause from the beginning. Please give a warm welcome to Katrina Lantos Swett.
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett :
I want to start out, before I share my remarks, by paying tribute to our friend, Elihu „Hugh“ Baver, who, really, as he said quite appropriately, we met less than a year ago at a Kristallnacht commemoration in the small town of Keene, New Hampshire. And I was there with my husband, Ambassador Swett, and with my mother who is herself a Holocaust survivor. And my most vivid recollection was that there was this big, handsome, strapping guy who clearly was very passionate about this cause, but little did I know or imagine how closely we would have the opportunity to work together.
But, he was, of course, not only the chairman and founder of Sosua75, but he had a vision, and I would say even more than a vision, he had this urgent prompting that the anniversary of this milestone in history, that took place here in Evian must not pass by without proper and necessary reflection on the costs paid and the lessons learned from the tragic failures of the Evian Conference of 1938. And he really has worked tirelessly to bring this symposium to life, and, certainly, the Lantos Foundation was very excited to play a small part in helping him to do so.
Now, our purpose in gathering here in this incredibly beautiful venue is, as the program suggests, to educate and to remember, but also, very importantly, to respond to the call, to ensure that the excruciating and deadly outcome of Evian be guarded against in the future.
My role tonight is to share a little of my own family’s Holocaust story, and I hope that, together, once I’ve done that, we can consider some of the lessons and warnings of Evian for our time.
As some of you may know, I am the daughter of Hungarian Holocaust survivors, and my father, the late Congressman Tom Lantos, went on to become the only survivor of the Holocaust ever elected to serve in the United States Congress. And this is a distinction that he will keep forever because, as we know, that generation is sadly beginning to pass from the scene, and, with their departure, the urgent awareness of the importance of remembering the lessons of the Holocaust is also fading.
Indeed, a survey that was released in April of this year found shockingly high percentages of Americans lack the most basic knowledge of the Holocaust, and indeed, 66% of millennials could not say what Auschwitz was. That is a sobering, sobering survey, and it underscores why events like this are so important, and what we will do after this event.
My father, during his nearly three decades in Congress, rose to become chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but, more importantly to me, he was the founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and one of our nation’s most forceful and eloquent advocates for human rights. Our family was deeply gratified when, following my father’s passing, his Congressional colleagues honored him by reestablishing the Human Rights Caucus as the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Human Rights, which really is the U.S. Congress’s premier body focused on advancing universal human rights.
Now, as I said, my father was a powerful and forceful advocate, and there can be little doubt that his passion for upholding the dignity and rights of all people stemmed in part from the searing experiences of his youth, but I’m also convinced that his valiance in defending human rights sprang from a quality of moral strength and determination, that will to do the right thing even, especially, when it is dangerous to do so, two qualities that were so absent in the governments represented at the Evian Conference.
I’d like to share a story from my father’s life that I think illustrates this. My dad was a young Jewish teenager in 1944 when the Germans occupied his native Hungary, an ally that Berlin feared was on the verge of switching allegiances. The German occupation began the true nightmare for the Jews of Hungary, and, ultimately, nearly 500,000 Hungarian Jews lost their lives during the horrors of that time. My father, like thousands of other Jewish boys, was rounded up initially and sent to a slave labor camp outside of Budapest, where he was conscripted into forced labor under brutal conditions. He rarely spoke of this time, but many years later, his closest companion, who survived the slave battalion as well, shared this story from those very dark days.
The Hungarian commander of my father’s labor group decided to burnish his reputation by compelling all the Jewish boys in his barracks to be baptized. They were frightened. They were essentially helpless and completely at his mercy, so they all complied…all except for two, my father and his friend [inaudible 00:23:46]. They were very badly beaten for their refusal, and yet they did not comply.
Now, from what I know of my father back then, he was not an especially religious teenager, although, in the few letters that survived from that time, he did write about his belief in God, a belief that would, over time, give way to a more skeptical agnosticism. So I don’t think it was so much his deep religiosity that made him refuse to be baptized against his will. As it was his recognition that his inherent and inalienable right, if you will, to possess his own soul, was somehow at stake, and he was prepared to pay a high price to defend it, being willing to pay a high price to defend one’s own personal integrity, to defend innocent victims, to defend human dignity, to defend the reputation and honor of humanity. This willingness and courage was shockingly absent at the Evian Conference in 1938.
Those of us here understand the basic outline of what transpired at Evian. In response to the increasing number of Jewish refugees fleeing intensifying and vicious persecution in Nazi Germany and beyond, President Roosevelt called for an international conference to seek a solution, really to the Jewish refugee problem. Of course, there was an obvious, perhaps not easy, but simple solution, and that was, for the 32 nations represented at Evian, to open their doors with compassion and humanity to these desperate people.
As we all know, that did not happen. Only the tiny Dominican Republic, led, ironically, by the dictator Trujillo, stepped up with a pledge to offer a hundred thousand visas to Jewish refugees. In the end, only 800 Jews were able to seek refuge in the community of Sosua in the Dominican Republic, but of all the powerful and civilized nations represented at Evian, not one…not one was willing to, in any meaningful way, match their eloquent protestations of sympathy for the persecuted Jews with any actual help to those who were facing the most desperate and deadly of dangers. The delegates could not even bring themselves to issue a joint statement of condemnation of Germany’s abhorrent Nuremberg Laws.
Yes, the Evian conference was a failure, but it was much worse than a failure. The utter moral hypocrisy of the United States and other participating countries became a dark tool in the hands of the Nazis. It is no coincidence, I think, that the November Pogrom that the Nazis called the Kristallnacht, the beginning of the end for the Jews, occurred just a few months after the debacle at Evian.
Before the conference, Hitler had openly mocked the world’s professed concern for the plight of Europe’s Jews, saying, and I quote, „I can only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals,“ by which, of course, he meant the Jews, „will at least be generous enough to convert this sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on luxury ships,“ end quote.
After the refusal of the conference countries to provide an escape route for Europe’s Jews, they were trapped, and Hitler knew he had a green light to proceed with his Final Solution. Thus, the Evian conference, to its everlasting shame, stands as an example not only of moral cowardice, but of the danger of appeasement.
Now, I’m not speaking of military appeasement of the Germans, as exemplified by Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of “Peace for our time.” No. This was appeasement of the bigotry, and the fear, and, yes, the selfishness of their own people, the Americans, the French, the British, the Australians, the Swedes, the Swiss, the Brazilians, the Irish, and many others, and it is understanding the consequences of this domestic appeasement that makes the lessons of the Evian Conference so relevant to our time.
The great American writer, Mark Twain, once said, „History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. It rhymes.“ The world is now facing a refugee crisis on a scale not seen since the Second World War. It is estimated that over 65 million people have been displaced worldwide. Most of those refugees fleeing war, violence, persecution, and, in some cases, extreme poverty, are being hosted in countries that neighbor their nation of origin: Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda. These countries are hosting the majority of that 65 million, but a significant number of these refugees, especially Syrian refugees, have sought asylum and protection, and a new life in Europe. And, as Mark Twain observed, history, while not exactly repeating itself, seems to be rhyming a bit.
Of course, there are big differences, very big, and very notable differences between 1938 and 2018. The majority of those seeking to enter Europe are coming from intermediary countries, such as Turkey, where they do face great difficulties and, in some cases, danger, but most do not face existential threats of annihilation, such as awaited the Jews of Europe.
Another enormously important difference is that the world in which these refugees are fleeing has a strong and well-established rights regime that began with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, followed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and, perhaps, most relevant for our gathering today, the 1951 Refugee Convention, which defines who a refugee is, what rights and protections they are entitled to, and what responsibilities they have under international law. And I won’t go into those definitions because I’m sure many of you are familiar with them.
Finally, through the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and other international agencies, there are significant resources that exist to help provide for the housing, and food, and medical needs of those who have been forced to flee their countries. Don’t get me wrong, these unfortunate souls face struggles and hardships on a daily basis, but still we must recognize how different their circumstances are from that of European Jewry, which faced genocide at the hands of the Nazis.
So, there are very big differences, and those differences are a marker of progress, of the way that the world did, in some measure, learn the tragic lessons of the Second World War. But, I think we also need to turn our attention to the uncomfortable similarities between the arguments of the delegates here in 1938 and some of the arguments that, today, are fueling the rise of populist, nationalist, and anti-immigrant parties in countries from Hungary, and Poland, and Italy to powerful political voices in Great Britain, United States, and elsewhere.
One argument we hear is that these new immigrants are incapable of assimilating, and that they will change ancient European cultures in dangerous ways. This, too, was claimed by those who opposed increasing quotas for Jewish immigrants from Europe. One writer said, „Let us stop immigration completely for a while and give our present alien population an opportunity to become Americanized before they foreignize us.“
Of course, the countries in Europe that are welcoming refugees have the right to insist that those who seek to join their societies accept and embrace the underlying values of tolerance, equality, pluralism, and respect, that are the hallmark of the new Europe, the Europe we know and love, but it is both wrong and it’s wrong-headed to assume that, because the current migrants come from different faith and culture traditions, that they, too, cannot become fully part of the fabric of European society.
A second concern from the late ’30s and ’40s was the concern about economic costs and economic displacement, and those are, again, part of the discussion today. Such concerns, also, cannot be cavalierly dismissed because there are undeniable costs associated with accommodating immigrant populations. And, speaking as one of the Americans here, you know, I look back on our most recent presidential election, and clearly there were many people who responded to a message that somehow suggested that those coming to our country were squeezing out the economic opportunity for native-born Americans. So these arguments can be dismissed, and one makes, sort of, an elitist and, you know, out-of-touch mistake if one does so.
So those costs need to be acknowledged. They need to be dealt with. They need to be accounted for. But, history has shown, and it’s shown this pretty decisively, that immigrants who are successfully integrated into a new country end up strengthening economic growth. And there are countless examples, in America, in particular, of immigrants who went on to create enormously successful enterprises, and pioneer entire new fields of economic expansion that have employed millions of Americans. And, you know, if we had time we could just go around the room and each of us could think of examples of businesses, and, as I say, you know, sort of, so much of the modern internet world we live in was brought to us in the United States, at least, by immigrants. So, history has a pretty strong body of evidence that if you do it right, immigrants don’t, you know, sort of, take an undue share of a shrinking pie. They do help expand the pie.
Another fear that is often unfairly linked to refugees is the fear of crime. And, in our day and age, of course, we tend to think of it as terrorism as well, because it is. Again, these worries cannot be dismissed out of hand, but they also are not new. In the late 1930s and ’40s, there was great concern that Nazi spies and communist agitators would try to infiltrate the ranks of genuine refugees. Now, we know…and, again, my father used to say…he loved to quote the great American statesman, Adlai Stevenson, who once said, „Solutions begin by telling the truth.“ And we have to tell the truth. Governments have to tell the truth, mayors, police commissioners. Everybody has to tell the truth when things happen, and can’t, sort of, try to smooth it over or cover it over in hopes of avoiding social disruption.
And we know there have been examples of individuals who have come to Europe, masquerading as refugees, who have engaged in violent acts of terror, and, again, every country has both the right and the duty to carefully and thoroughly vet all those who seek to settle in their nation. Indeed, it is my personal belief that it was precisely the chaotic and initially uncontrolled and totally unvetted surge of migrants that the world witnessed in 2015 that gave rise to the current mood of suspicion and hostility that is posing such a grave challenge to the unity and future of Europe. But the need, and the legitimate need to protect a society, to do the very detailed work of carefully vetting the legitimacy of those seeking to come here cannot, and must not be used as an excuse to tar an entire community with, you know, a terrible accusation of their criminality or harboring evil intentions.
Finally, in 1938, as now, there is that old undesired and evil companion that seemed so hard to leave behind, and that was simple prejudice and bigotry. And whether it manifests as anti-Semitism, which, I am sad to say, is alive and well in our day, or whether it appears in societies as hatred of Muslims, or hostility to those whose skin color or faith is different from our own, it is always wrong…in every way, wrong, and we must each take it upon ourselves to fight this scourge. It can be uncomfortable and it can be disquieting to look back at the analogies and rhymes from 1938 to our day, but it is my hope that this discomfort will lead our societies to do the hard work of finding real, workable solutions to these challenges.
There are, of course, many complex causes contributing to today’s massive refugee problem. In addition to the usual suspects of war, natural disaster, political oppression, and oppressive poverty, the borderless world of the internet, where people, in incredibly remote and struggling parts of the globe, can clearly see how the other half lives, has emboldened millions of new people to take great risks to try and secure a better life for themselves and their families. But, whereas the world of the internet may indeed be borderless for much of humanity, the world of countries, and nations, and languages, and political systems is still measured and bound by actual borders. And, again, the current wave of nationalist, populist success in Europe and the United States should make it very clear to everyone of us that anything approximating a world of wide, open borders is simply not politically feasible any time soon, if ever.
At the same time, our hearts, our minds, and our consciences tell us that it is also not sustainable in the long run to shrug our shoulders at the vast inequities that exist across regions and hemispheres, and expect that those suffering under exigent circumstances should somehow accept these disparities as the unavoidable result of a cosmic roll of the dice. „You ended up in Evian, I ended up in a terrible circumstance in an impoverished country, perhaps somewhere in the southern hemisphere.“ They will not accept it, and neither should we.
Solutions will not be easy, but I believe that both short and long-term solutions must begin with the conviction, the simple conviction, the biblical conviction, if you will, that our fellow human beings, whether the European Jews of 1938 or the Syrian children of 2018, are indeed our brothers and sisters, and that we…every one of us in this room, have an inescapable duty to be our brothers and sisters‘ keepers.
William Shakespeare, that nearly bottomless font of amazingly quotable phrases, wrote, „The past is prologue.“ As we gather on the 80th anniversary of the Evian Conference, in a world awash in desperate people, Shakespeare’s words can seem to have an ominous ring. But, if we read just a little further, what the bard has to say next is profoundly optimistic, for, after Shakespeare wrote that the past is prologue, he goes on to say…and I quote, „What’s to come in yours and my discharge.“ So, what is to come is in yours and my discharge. We will decide how, with humanity, and decency, and justice, this challenge of our day will be met. The responsibility, my friends, has been rolled onto our shoulders, and I believe we will be equal to it. Thank you very much.
Dr. Dennis Laffer is somebody who I met as a result of coming here two years ago, and actually first learning of this, and I, actually, that day, happened to be wearing my college ball cap. I went to Michigan State University, probably for six years for undergraduate and graduate work, and I happen to have the photo taken with the guest manifest wearing my Michigan State hat. And, Dr. Laffer, here, who has invested 20 years of his life in this topic, happened to catch that, and we had that as the commonality, which was great.
He has co-lectured with me both back at Michigan State, our alma mater, which was wonderful, as well as being an authority and help to me in that aspect of this story, which I didn’t know quite as well as the Sosua part. So, it is really with great pleasure that I introduce to you one of the definitive authorities, and the author of „The Jewish Trail of Tears The 1938 Evian Conference,“ Dr. Dennis Laffer. Thank you for coming, Dennis.
Dr. Dennis Laffer: In a way, I’m glad there’s not any food present when…I’m always afraid that people are gonna throw food at me when I get to talk. And I’m more commonly…I’m a gastroenterologist, so I’m more commonly speaking about colon cancer screening. So, any of you who have not had their screening done on time, I highly suggest doing that.
I happened to get into the topic of the Evian Conference just by a fluke 20 years ago. I saw at Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, a little placard that mentioned the conference. I bought a home computer at the same time, decided to look it up, and it became an obsession. And, little did I know that, 20 years later, this historical, intellectual, emotional journey that I undertook along with my wife, that I would actually be here 80 years to the week that this conference occurred. So, it’s a really deep and sincere honor for me to speak at this venue for this particular occasion.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the founder of the meeting, and he initially wanted it to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, but the Swiss, for a number of reasons, declined. The French, however, offered Évian-les-Bains and the Hotel Royal to hold this conference. So, in hindsight, I want to thank France, Evian, and the Hotel Royal for holding that conference in 1938, and, again, 80 years later, holding a conference remembering this event.
The conference…the real name is the Intergovernmental Committee for Political Refugees…and I emphasize the word „refugees.“ Oh, sorry. Dealt with the problem of forced immigration of German Jewish and non-Aryan refugees following the Anschluss of March 12th, 1938, ironically, my birthday, but a few years earlier.
The nine-day gathering of the conference resulted in one accomplishment, the establishment of the Intergovernmental Committee for Political Refugees, based in London. Its responsibility was to negotiate with sites of resettlement, and to negotiate with Germany. It was entirely unsuccessful. The Evian Conference, over time, has been regarded as an example of the inadequacies of government.
However, when you view it through the lens of historical hindsight, it becomes a signpost, a model for the present and future generations to act proactively and positively in dealing with refugee crises. Such actions are needed, particularly today when worldwide anti-Semitism is on the rise, and the intolerance of the other is becoming stronger and gaining momentum. So, it’s, therefore, fitting that this conference today be held here at the Hotel Royal, and the plaque be placed here in the Hotel Royal.
If you look at the history of German Jewry, you can divide events into four stages of immigration. From the time Hitler assumes power in 1933 through 1935, with the passing of the Nuremberg racial laws from 1935 to 1938, the Evian Conference to Kristallnacht, and Kristallnacht through the end of the war.
Before the Anschluss, the laws enacted by Germany against Jews and non-Aryans were introduced incrementally to avoid disrupting the local economy, avoiding negative public and international opinions harming disarmament. A lot of Jews at the time willing to adopt a survival strategy used countless times [inaudible 00:48:46] accepting a second-class status. However, after the Anschluss, all the laws that were passed between 1933 and March 1938 were enacted within two to three months. So Jews who were complacent thinking they could exist in the second-class status suddenly realized that they could no longer live within Germany. This created mass panic. Consulates were flooded by people seeking visas.
What was the reaction of most foreign countries to the Anschluss? They closed their borders, they made entry more difficult. The selection of immigrants was highly restricted. The United States told the German government, „You’re responsible for Austrian financial debts to America. You have to protect the property of Jewish Americans in Austria.“
Interestingly, in Holland, Dutch Jews were against…significant number of Dutch Jews were against immigration into Holland. United States public opinion polls demonstrated 20% of American Jews were against immigration of Jews into America. State Department, which had a history of being anti-Semitic, did everything they could to under-fill the quota system which was enforced since 1921 and 1924. Roosevelt announced that the United States contribution to this crisis would be the consolidation of the annual quota of Germany in Austria, which amounted to 27,370. He said during a news conference, this did not being immigration laws would be liberalized. We were not going to open the gates.
A New York Post columnist, Dorothy Thompson, one of the first female foreign correspondents, was highly critical of Roosevelt, saying, „This is a fundamental challenge to democracy that if democracies fail to withstand the actions of Germany, then the world is headed toward anarchy, catastrophe, war, and the collapse of democratic states.“ So, it’s not a coincidence that, on March 25th, 1938, the State Department makes an announcement. We planned a whole international conference to deal with the refugee crisis.
I could stop by just saying what the invitation to the meeting said. Number one, „It won’t cost you a cent. All the money for resettlement has to cover [inaudible 00:51:56] sources.“ Number two, „You do not have to change your immigration laws.“ Sumner Welles, Under Secretary of State, advised this conference as a way of diverting public opinion away from the president, and diverting refugees away from the United States, he warned Roosevelt that, „If you do this, remember not to appear to be liberalizing the immigration laws,“ because majority of Americans and members of Congress were anti-immigrationist, tainted by anti-Semitism, nativism, isolationism. If he acted to open the borders, he was fearful that support, especially of Southern Democrats, would vanish, and his more important political and military agenda would be destroyed. After he makes the announcement, until 1944, Roosevelt never mentions the Evian Conference again.
The Evian Conference is faced with a fundamental problem. Roosevelt called it without any preparation. There was not a discussion with any foreign country government, no proposals for what should be done, no prior negotiations. The invited countries were limited initially to Europe, but Britain, fearful that pressure would be placed on Great Britain to accept Jews into Palestine, demanded that other countries be included, so, thus, Central and South America, New Zealand, and Australia were included, raising the total to 32 countries.
They all suffered from the same issues: the Great Depression, unemployment, anti-Semitism was rampant in many countries, fear of introduction of foreign ideologies, religious differences, fears of lack of assimilability, the same thing that you would read back in the Congressional Record in 1938, and the newspapers of the time, you change the names of the dates, it’s exactly the same text and speech that you would hear today.
The conference was set to begin on July the 6th and end on July 15th. It had to end on July 15th because the King and Queen of England were planning to visit Paris and the delegates wanted to arrive on time. Sumner Welles believed that the importance of a conference was not based on the agenda, but rather on who was in the representation of the country. If you look on the ledger under the Americans, you’ll see unfamiliar names.
Welles recommended that Secretary of State Cordell Hull, himself, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, first female cabinet member, George…I can’t pronounce his name, Messersmith, Under Secretary of State dealing with visas, be the representatives of the United States. Instead, Roosevelt chose Myron C. Taylor, a former CEO of U.S. Steel, to be the primary U.S. representative, and two low-level State Department employees. Most of the other foreign delegates were from embassies or the League of Nations. The United Kingdom sent a delegation under Lord Winterton, a known anti-Semite and [inaudible 00:55:56]. France was represented by Henry Bérenger, who was the chairman on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
If you read the transcript of the conference, you could summarize everything that was said in maybe three words. „We’re sympathetic, but…“ Every country made the same arguments, „Economy. We only want agriculturalists.“ Now, most of the refugees were urban and middle-class. Mexico said, „We’d wanted young men under the age of 26 who would intermarry with…what they described as Indian women creating mestizo children.“ The representative of Colombia criticized Germany, but never named Germany, for, yes, the fundamental question, how can a country take away the rights of its own population, make them stateless? He said, if they come to Colombia, they have to become Catholic.
I just want to highlight two countries, Canada, the prime minister believed that Jews were a greater threat to Canada than Hitler was, that Jews would stain the blood of the Canadian people and create problems with the French Canadians because of Catholic anti-Semitism. At the end of the war, when the knowledge of the Holocaust became known, the presiding foreign minister was asked, „Now that you know about the killings, should you have done something differently at that time?“ His answer was, „One Jew was too many.“
The representative of Switzerland…and, excuse me if I pronounce it wrong, Heinrich Rothmund, R-O-T-H-M-U-N-D, was the chief of police and the head of Immigration. He said, „Switzerland is a democratic country, traditionally haven for refugees,“ at the same time he’s carrying out negotiations with Nazi Germany to prevent Jews from crossing the border. The decision they reached was to cancel their passports and stamp them with the red letter „J“ for Judah, if you’ve wondered where that came from. That was to allow the Swiss to identify Jews to prevent them from crossing the border.
Another signature on the ledger, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas W. White, the Minister of Commerce, made the statement, „We don’t have a racial problem, so why should we import one?“ There were two subcommittees set up. One was to hear about immigration laws. The other was headed by White to listen to refugee organizations. Thirty-nine attended, 24 were allowed to speak. It was reduced from 10 minutes to 5 minutes for one individual. It took maybe two and a half hours. It was a totally fruitless exercise. Jews came to the conference totally disunited Zionist fighting non-Zionist, Orthodox opposed to non-Orthodox.
It was believed that…the Europeans believed that Latin America would be the dumping ground for Jews. United States thought Latin America would be the dumping ground for Jews. Latin America said, for the most part, „We’re not taking anyone, or very few people.“ If you read the transcript, there is no mention of Germany by name. There’s a variety of reasons for that. Latin America felt that they are warned by Germany, „If you criticize us directly, we’re cutting off trade and barter agreements with you.“ Countries that border Germany were afraid of harming their relation.
The conference, which, in the press, was heralded as a great moral step of the United States, because of its lack of planning, was soon recognized to be what was called a politics of gesture. Some commentators have written that Evian spelled backwards is „naïve,“ and that Evian, like the water, is still. It’s set up in an Intergovernmental Committee in London which was supposed to negotiate with the Germans. It failed. Its director, George Rublee, a friend of Roosevelt’s, longtime attorney, years afterwards said, „This convention had no chance of success because it had no preparation at all. So, if anything needs to be learned for future conferences, it has to be well-prepared beforehand, well-thought-out. You have to engage people in the problem, and not simply think by holding the conference that they’re going to come up with a positive action.“ That’s the Evian Conference in a nutshell. Thank you very much.
So, at this point, we’re gonna pass the microphone over to Denise Vallat, deputy mayor of Le Chambon, and her amazing story about a city here in France that saved Jews, in addition to Peter Grose, again, the author of „A Good Place to Hide.“
Denise Vallat: So, first of all, I would like to thank Hugh Baver, and Sosua for giving me the opportunity tonight to tell you the story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a small French village which I am proud to serve as deputy mayor. Please be in [inaudible 01:11:50] for my French accent.
I would like to start with a quote. „Nobody asked who was Jewish and who was not. Nobody asked where you were from. Nobody asked who your father was or if you could pay. They just accepted each of us, sheltering children orphaned without their parents, children who cried in the night for nightmares.“ These are the words of Elizabeth Koenig Kaufman, a former child refugee in Le Chambon during World War II. Maybe some of you have already heard of Le Chambon, this French mainly-Protestant village, which welcome, along with some of those smaller nearby villages, scores of refugees during the war, and saved about 3000 Jews, among them many children just like Elizabeth Koenig Kaufman.
In 1990, Yad Vashem recognized all of the inhabitants of Le Chambon, and those of the nearby villages collectively as Righteous Among the Nations. In addition, more [SP] 90 individuals were honored as righteous, also.
So, what happened in Le Chambon during World War II? During the summer of 1940, after the defeat of the French Army, streams of refugees, individuals as well as families, came to Le Chambon fleeing the German Invasion. In fact, the first refugees arrived in Le Chambon well before the beginning of the war. While [SP] the Evian Conference in July 1938 failed to come to any agreement about accepting the Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and Austria, some of them had already found a shelter in Le Chambon. In October, 1938, Mayor Charles Guillon, who was also working in Geneva with YMCA, told the population of the village, „Please, be prepared to open your houses. We’re going to have scores of refugees soon.“
So, who were those Jewish refugees who arrived in Le Chambon? They were mostly [inaudible 01:14:32] from Germany and Eastern Europe. French Jews arrived in greater numbers after July 1942, and the winter [inaudible 01:14:42] home [inaudible 01:14:43] up in Paris, which used to serve [inaudible 01:14:45] in France when they were filling deportation. Sometimes it was the entire family who came, sometimes only the children sent by their parents.
How did all these people find their way to Le Chambon? For most of them, thanks to word of mouth [inaudible 01:15:06] by France neighbors, pastors, of Le Chambon as a welcoming place and a secure refuge, none of those who arrived there were ever turned away. There is a special case, that of children from [inaudible 01:15:22] Jewish parents, who were interned in camps in Southern France by Vichy [inaudible 01:15:30].
At the end of 1940, humanitarian organizations like Cimade, or Swiss Red Cross often arrived to flee some children from these camps if they were officially registered by Vichy authorities. So, thousands and thousands of young people were released from the camps where they left their parents behind and arrived in Le Chambon, hosted in Foster homes without knowing, until the end of the war, if their parents had been deported, if they had survived, or not.
How many Jews were sheltered in Le Chambion and nearby area? To tell the truth, it’s still a matter of debate between historians. Estimates vary from as many as 5,000 to as few as 800. Now the more accepted number is around 3,000. Why is it so difficult to have an exact number? You will understand this [inaudible 01:16:41] that nobody counted them when the refugees arrived [inaudible 01:16:46] after 1942 when the shelters for Jewish people by French police and Germans became much harsher [SP]. On the other hand, the city mayor never tried to register all the refugee, even if such registration was compulsory under Vichy laws.
Another point is the length of the stay of the refugee in Le Chambon. Some people stayed through the entire war, others one year or two, and for so many, a few months, or even a few days, just passing through on their way to Switzerland, even if Le Chambon is very far from Switzerland, in fact.
Facing the constant arrival of refugees, how was the rescue mission organized? Don’t imagine a well-organized structure with leaders and a lot of people working on it. There were leaders, of course, and Peter Grose will tell you about some of them. In fact, it looked like a network of networks, a network of pastors around Le Chambon was of great help placing Jews in remote farms in the countryside, a network, also, of humanitarian organizations, which also worked out sheltering refugees in rented houses in Le Chambon, the Cimade, a French Protestant organization, opened free house for refugees during the war, so did the Swiss Red Cross with free foster houses, managed by 22-year-old Swiss-born [inaudible 01:18:36]. Another humanitarian organization was [inaudible 01:18:41] Children [inaudible 01:18:42] Society, a Jewish one with [inaudible 01:18:46] thousands of children from [inaudible 01:18:49] to Le Chambon, placing them on farms for safety.
These organizations could not have accomplished such an enormous rescue mission without help of almost the entire population. Individuals, pastors, farmers, teachers, innkeepers, and many others, young and old, Protestant, Catholic, and nonbelievers help protect the Jews they even didn’t know before. They took them into their homes, sharing food, providing false papers, and never saying anything which could have endangered their guest.
Do we have explanation for this massive rescue in search a little place? Why Le Chambon was a good place to hide, as Peter Grose has written in his book, first explanation, geography. Le Chambon is located in a rural, remote, and mountainous area of central-south France, far from large cities.
Second explanation, before the war, it was already a small summer resort, not like Evian, be sure. We have no Royal Hotel in La Chambon, I’m sorry. So if you come to visit us, I don’t know how we do. So, before the war, it was already a small summer resort with more than 20 children’s home and dozen of family guest houses. And, in the countryside, farmers who were very poor used to rent one home of two to urban families in summertime.
Third explanation, even more important, is the fact that this is a region of France characterized by handful [SP] of Protestant communities, which remain deeply marked by religious persecutions against the [inaudible 01:21:02] ancestors from the 16th century to the French Revolution. In fact, it couldn’t be anything but a personal choice when you decide to shelter someone whose presence may endanger not only you, but also your own family, because danger was everywhere, especially after 1942 when the French police regularly went up to Le Chambon for roundups, and they never catch anybody.
So, how can we understand the courage of the people of Le Chambon and nearby villages? It’s not easy to speak in the name of people who never said anything about what they did during the war, even to their relatives. The post-war generations often discover the act of their parents or grandparents long time afterwards. When asked why they helped, most of the rescuers would reply, „Well, it was our duty.“ And the question, „Did you know you risked your life?“ They used to answer after a silence, „Of course,“ or no answer at all, just a smile.
To conclude, I think the most appropriate words are conspiracy of silence, conspiracy of goodness, unity and solidarity. So, you will understand why it took more than 30 years to open a memorial museum in Le Chambon. Rescuers used to say, „Museums are for heroes, and we’re not heroes. So we don’t need a museum.“ But time has passed. They are dead now. The [inaudible 01:22:51] children are in their 80s, and today it seems to us an absolute priority to tell the unique story to the new generations.
Opened in June 2013, our memorial museum, we said, „Lieu de Mémoire,“ without any name, just Lieu de Mémoire, has welcomed more than 50,000 visitors with a significant numbers of American, and you are always welcome in Le Chambon. So, sharing and preserving together the living memory of these anonymous heroes is our duty now. That’s the reason why I am here today with you. Thank you.
Peter Grose : I wrote a book called „A Good Place to Hide“ about the events in Le Chambon, roughly between 1938 and 1944, and I suppose the first question that arises is, „Why did they do this? What led them in this direction?“
Now, Denise has talked about this, and I’m just gonna elaborate a bit, but, first of all, it was a very heavily Protestant Huguenot community. It was a bit over 90% Huguenot population, and they’d had 250 years…had built it around the years, and they knew what persecution was all about. So, they were quite sympathetic. Their folk memory, their folk songs, their folk history, their folk stories were all about this period of persecution, and isolation, and sheer difficulty, so they were sympathetic.
The second point…and Denise has made this, also, is that there was a tradition of hospitality. From about the beginning of the 20th century, the farmers had taken in kids for summer holidays, they do working holidays on the farms. There were guest houses all around. This was the period, of course, where the Industrial Revolution was making cities living hell. They were smog-ridden and filthy, and people felt they had to get away for their vacation.
So, one of the places you got away to was, of course, the seaside. Another place you got away to was the mountains. The mountains were a place where the air was pure, the water was clean in the streams. You could go hiking, and fishing, and camping, and horse-riding, and all sorts of outdoor activities like that. And so, they were used to taking in strangers. That was not a particularly difficult thing for them to do.
The third thing…and I had, still in my pocket here, the slide show just to show you pictures of the place, but the other thing that you have to say is it’s extremely remote. You can’t imagine that there’s anywhere in France that’s remote, but, believe me, Le Chambon is. If you drive there, you think, „Oh, God, will this journey never end?“ You drive, and you drive, and you drive, and you drive until finally you arrive in this isolated village.
So, that was the three forces, it seems to me, that were strongly at work, but I would sum it up, I’ve never been able to go…I don’t quite like the word „goodness,“ but I can’t go beyond decency. These people behaved decently, and that was a very, very rare way to behave. If you think about what happened in this building in 1938, decency was in pretty short supply at the time, and these people behaved decently.
Now, let me talk about some of these people. The man most talked about is a guy, a Protestant pastor, the Huguenot pastor of Le Chambon called André Trocmé. And he was a very remarkable man. He had a German mother. He’d been a lifelong pacifist. He’d lived in a village, or a town, a city called Saint-Quentin, which, if you come from San Francisco, you’ll think of San Quentin, and it’s on the River Somme.
And, during his upbringing, during his youth, during World War One, he saw bodies being dragged on carts through the town of Saint-Quentin, and he could smell gangrenous flesh, and so on. And, at that point, he just decided, „War, no. No more, never.“ And he was a lifelong, and quite militant pacifist, and his pacifist views were not simply, „Okay, we don’t take up arms.“ That was certainly true, but his views were defiant.
There’s a wonderful documentary made about Le Chambon by my friend Pierre Sauvage called „Weapons of the Spirit,“ and in that documentary, we hear about a sermon that was given by André Trocmé, in which he said, „You’re all going to be asked to do terrible things. You must not do them. You must not betray. You must not help. You must not assist these people in any way. You must fight them with weapons of the Spirit.“
Okay. Now, let me just talk about some of the people there. One of the things that attracted me to this subject…because one of the things that’s said about World War II, and about the Jews in World War II, is why didn’t they fight back? Well, in Le Chambon they did. The leader of the local armed resistance was a guy called Pierre Fayol. He was Jewish. He came from Marseille.
But, one of those wonderful stories is a guy called Oscar Oscar Rosowsky. And, Oscar Rosowsky was a young Jew who wanted to be a doctor, and there was a law in France…he wanted to study medicine around, sort of, 1940, and there was a law…it has a Latin name, it’s numerus clausus, which basically limited Jews from attending university to study medicine, law, and all the other things that they might have wanted to study.
And so, Oscar, wanting to be a doctor, but not being able to do so because of this law, took a job in the local…with a friend’s father as a typewriter repairman. And he worked on…you remember those machines…I mean, I think we’re all old enough to remember, those Roneo machines that you cranked out? They were called Gestetner, or something like that. And Oscar was a complete expert on repairing Remington typewriters in particular, and Gestetner machines.
Now, his particular bit was the local prefecture, and so he literally knew the machines at the prefecture inside-out, literally, and he…pardon me. At one point, his father was arrested, gone, his mother was then grabbed and she was in Rivesaltes Internment Camp down near the Spanish border. And he forged papers to get her out. He got a période de césure, a right to live in a different area, and it was sent down to the camp, and somehow his mother was sprung from the camp.
Now, the person who invented the numerus clausus, and thought that they were doing a great thing by preventing Oscar from becoming a doctor, didn’t realize that they’d just created probably the greatest forger of World War II. He turned out 5,000 sets of false papers in a space of 20 months, and there is no evidence that any person was ever busted for having false papers that Oscar produced. They were immaculate.
And he didn’t only produce false paper. Oscar was never a man to do things by heart, and not only would he give you a passport, if that was what was needed, or a carte d’identité, or whatever, but he would also give you parking fines, and library cards, and trade union memberships, and so on. So, if you were stopped and you had to produce your papers, out of your wallet came not just a carte d’identité, but out came a blizzard of paper that Oscar had prepared. And he prepared sets of papers like this at the rate of seven sets a day on average. It was quite an incredible effort on his part.
You might like to know that, at the end of the war, he did, in fact, take up his medical studies, and he became president of the General Medical Council of France. He’s a lovely bloke. He died about three years ago.
Anyway, there were other extraordinary people. Some people…there’s a young girl called Catherine Cambéssedès, and she was a young Protestant girl, and her family would come every year to Le Chambon for their holidays. And they were there in September of 1939 when war broke out, and they decided that the family would be safer if the kids stayed in Le Chambon. So, Catherine and her brothers and sisters remained in Le Chambon, and that was to keep her safe. Well, little did her family know that within a year she was carrying suitcases full of money for the Resistance. So, that was the kind of thing that happened, and it was happening in total secrecy.
I can tell you another story about this. A good friend is the daughter of André Trocmé, the pastor, Nelly Trocmé, and Nelly was best friends with Catherine Cambéssedès when they were at school together. And Catherine told me all about this running money for the Resistance when I interviewed her back in 2012, and when Nelly read my book, that was the first Nelly knew of what Catherine had been up to in World War II. Yeah. So, the level of secrecy was quite incredible.
Now, when I was talking to Pierre Sauvage one time, I was shocked by the fact that his brilliant documentary, which is mostly in French, if you want it to be…there’s an English-language version of it, but it can be done in French, and it’s never been properly shown on French television, not once. It’s won all sorts of awards, you know, Documentary of the Year, etc., in the United States. It has never been properly shown on French television. It was shown at 1:00 in the morning on some obscure channel one time, and I said to Pierre, „Why has this happened?“
And we all know that Ophüls film, what was it? „The Sorrow and the Pity,“ took a very, very long time to be shown on French television, and, as I say, Pierre’s has never been. And I said, „Pierre, why?“ You know, „What’s the explanation?“ And he said, „The film shows what could have been done.“
Now, I’d like to just talk about that for a minute, what could have been done, because refugees are…and Katrina was talking about this earlier, are probably the biggest problem facing the world at the moment. It’s just incredible what’s happened. When I wrote the book, I got the United Nations High Commission for Refugees statistics, and at the time I was writing, which was about 2013, the number of refugees in the world was of the order of 11 million.
Now, I got some figures, I went…on Monday, when I knew I was coming here, I got as recent figures as I could from the United Nation High Commission for Refugees. So, let’s look at the end of 2007, because the only other figures we’ve got until the end of 2017. Now, the UNHCR talks about persons of concern. And the statistics are always suspiciously detailed. I mean, they don’t say, „About 13 million people are in trouble.“ They say, „Thirteen million, one hundred and eighty-six thousand, seven hundred and twenty-nine people are in trouble,“ because they’ve got their names. And…I’ve got the feedback on the microphone. But when I looked on Monday, at the end of 2007, there were 31.68 million people who were persons of concern, of whom 11.39 million were refugees. So let’s just hold that figure of 11.39 million for a second.
At the end of 2017, that 11.39 million had grown to 19.94 million. The persons of concern had grown from 31.68 million to 71.44 million. The asylum seekers had grown from 740,000 to 3.9 million. Now, these figures are just appalling. They’re shocking, and we have to start to ask ourselves…and I’m really following what Katrina was saying, which I thought was impressive, and, thank you for it, but André Trocmé, who I’m in quoting before, was approached at one time by the [inaudible 01:36:47] who said, „Right, what we want from you now, or you’ll be arrested and deported if you don’t do it, we want a list of the names of all the Jews in this area.“ And Trocmé responded, „We don’t know Jews. We only know men.“
Now, we don’t know Jews today. We only know men. We don’t know Muslims today. We only know men. We don’t know Mexicans today. We only know men. If we can just abide by that, that’s what we can do. Yes, we can help by not voting in people who are gonna be beastly to refugees, but, basically, there are things we can do. We can extend hospitality.
On our little island of Oléron where I live, we take in Syrian families, not very many. I mean, I don’t know how many there are, but, I mean, it’s less than a hundred, so probably look fewer than 50. But, nevertheless, our little community takes in refugees. If communities took in refugees, then it could be done. It wouldn’t be desperate. It wouldn’t…what’s the word? Dilute the culture, or anything like that. These people would just be welcomed guests, and they would be very happy to be there.
Hugh: Having a hard time holding it together, being overwhelmed by all of this. It’s truly humbling just to be a part of all of the testimony that we’re hearing today, and to even have this be termed Evian II is, to me, already huge progress. So, we still have about a third of the program to go, three…four more speakers to go, in addition to a dedication of this plaque which was part of this whole event.
Joachim Schroeder: First of all, thank you for having me here. I try to be short. You gave me 10 minutes, so I try to do this as fast as possible. We’re just…okay. I try to be as fast as possible. We have film-production [SP] company, TV, film in Munich, based in Munich, and I’ll just give you a short example. 2014, ’15, ’16, we did two 90-minute documentaries on European anti-Semitism. One actually created a scandal which we didn’t think what happened, to put it bluntly. 2014, we started to hand in exposé…that’s how you call it in their language, in their TV language, on the topic, into a German station. German public TV is the gateway to get an assignment from ARTE. That’s the normal way you have to go.
We had to do this for three-quarter of a year. They always came back. They are not objective enough, not open-ended enough, two-sided. So, you know, we understood the message, said, „Okay, we have to disguise ourselves and act like sheep, and come out as wolves afterwards to get the bloody assignment.“ In-between, I had the crazy…in this process of all these papers, I had the crazy idea to maybe get [inaudible 02:43:39] as a host. I thought, you know, for ARTE and French-German, he’s a Dutch guy, he’s a famous…he’s an intelligent, sympathetic man. I know him. Big mistake.
Six days after the attack on the kosher supermarket and „Charlie Hebdo,“ there was a big meeting in Strasbourg, 36 editorial people of ARTE, and he was verbally killed, [inaudible 02:44:03] as being Islamophobic by a quote from Electronic Intifada. Nobody questioned whether this is a media to quote, even, but, you know, that was dead.
So we continued, we didn’t give up, and I must say this couldn’t have been possible by probably the only editorial person I can think of, who went into early pension after this, is Prof. Sabine Rollberg. She stood to us, very fragile, sweet lady. In the ’90s she was head of the…chief editorial staff of ARTE, very knowledgeable, sweet woman, but she was steadfast.
So we continued, and I had to come go with her to Strasbourg because the editor in chief wanted to see me, Marco Nassivera…that was early 2015, to find out, you know, who is this crazy guy who doesn’t give up? And he explained to me that ARTE…I have to understand why this is such a touchy topic, why the film has to be so very objective, neutral, and open-ended in its findings, because ARTE France is constrained between Jewish and Muslim lobby. I just smiled like a sheep and nodded, and didn’t say anything. I knew I need his signature at the end to get the assignment. I walked out, and we finally got the assignment with one vote for us. We had enough.
So we shot one and a half years. We concentrated on…we just did the right-wing anti-Semitism. Very shortly, we did the…you know, what you call in Germany the [inaudible 02:45:52], the leftists becoming new right, and we concentrated on mainstream left-wing anti-Zionism, disguised anti-Semitism, which is not tabooed.
We shot in France, Germany, and also in Israel and Gaza because we said this Israel hate speech has to be, so to speak, proved. We have to try to give the proof that this is not the case, so we shot in Israel, and we went to Gaza. Unfortunately, for the right-wing, Jurassic Park, Hungaria, we shot, but we couldn’t cramp it into 90 minutes because we couldn’t have done it in three minutes, you have to explain too much.
So, it was two years…nearly one and a half, two years later, the film was finished, our editorial lady approved it, and then shit hit the fan, so to speak. That was around, you know, turning of Christmas around 2015 to ’16…no, sorry, 2016 to ’17. She was, like, on the whole…nobody talked to her officially about it, but she was from the left and right side, on stairways, on elevators, whether in Strasbourg or in Cologne at Vidya [SP]. She was, kind of, „How could she do this film which is pouring oil into the fire, which is polarizing, which is…you can’t air it because it, you know, supposedly is discriminating Muslims,“ and what… So, then there was, like…end of January, she tried to get a meeting with the French guys, with the ARTE guys in Strasbourg. They cancelled last minute.
So, months went by, nothing happened. Nobody talked to her officially, nobody to us, neither from WDR nor from ARTE. They came with formal arguments that we had promised an overview all over Europe and we didn’t say we’d go to Gaza and we didn’t go to Israel, and the co-author had changed, which is true. Ahmad Mansour, an Israeli-Palestinian changed from co-author to advisor because it didn’t have any time, and my research colleague Sophie Hafner became co-author, not a biggie. Our editorial woman had no problem with it, and I think partly why they assigned it at the time was they read an Arabic name. They didn’t check on him because he’s minimum as outspoken as we are, but sounded Arabic, so, „It’s okay, then that’s kind of PC, then we can, you know, sign it off.“
So, I started to say, „Okay, we have a problem.“ I got six expertise from experts, big names. I sent…I don’t wanna, you know…Prof. Monika Schwarz-Friesel, Prof. Wolffsohn, Charles Asher, Matthias Küntzel…what-have-you, Götz Aly, great guys, I mean, you know, not really debatable, all in favor of the film. The guys at WDR, neither at ARTE…of course, they got it all, but they didn’t react again ‚till Götz Aly, so to speak, in the Berlin newspaper, threw the first stone, and then a public newspaper debate started in two waves.
I would say we had about 70% of the media for us, which was astonishing from us. We got actually even positive critics from media, which we wouldn’t really have expected. We got great support from, like, Wiesenthal Center, including an airing in LA, and Simon giving press releases saying we will bring it in front of European Parliament. I didn’t think that was funny. We had a great conversation here with Katrina Lantos Foundation, and, in the end, the biggest German tabloid newspaper, „Bild,“ actually leaked it officially, by accident, for 24 hours, and did a two-page story on it, and that forced WDR and ARTE to actually do something, and actually air it.
Ten days later, they aired it. Their revenge was to put in seven graphics in the film where they stopped it and said, „This is not our opinion,“ or, „This is opinionated. This is biased.“ They put in a crawl, even under [SP] experts, every…whatever, three minutes, saying, „Go to our homepage and read the fact check.“ They were so criticized for this fact check that they later said, „Oh, we just wanted to give a different opinion,“ because basically it was an opinion check.
And, afterwards they had a little tribunal talk show where neither Rollberg, our editorial woman, nor we were invited. Prof. Wolffsohn and Ahmad Mansour were our attorneys, so to speak. It was like a little tribunal. In reality, they lost, because, I think, even the stupidest people understood how they were, so to speak, acting. So, in a way, they showed where they stand.
The name of the film? „Chosen and Excluded – The Hate on Jews in Europe.“ And, what I’m trying to say is this was, of course, with this leak of the tabloid newspaper, kind of, a first case in German media history, but this is not an exception. This took, like, two months, two and a half months when this was…this whole media discussion, and every of these public TVs has a council board of when members from different parts of society sit, and, supposedly, these councils control public media, which…you know, „control“ is a big word.
And one member is a older journalist called Peter who sits WDR Council, and a Holocaust survivor. And he was so disgusted that he wrote an open letter to the head of WDR, and he recalled, among other things, of anti-Semitic remarks in his…whatever, 40-year-long career. 1974, he was having holidays with his wife in Israel, and there was this Ma’alot Massacre where Palestinian terrorists killed 21 school kids.
So, he found a telephone, and came through to Cologne, to the station, and called and said, „Look, I’m here by accident. My holidays are here, but I could report on this.“ And the guy on the other end said, „No, no, not necessary, but call me, please, immediately when the Israeli strike back.“ So, this was 1974. What I’m saying, it has a history to this day of highly-biased films which are highly anti-Israel, and there was not room for one pro-Jewish, pro-Zionist film.
And that is the sad truth, and, what can I say? Nothing in reality, apart from the scandal? Yes, here and there, maybe. They don’t want another one. That’s for sure, but, still, I mean, nothing really has changed. And, why should it? The minds, the attitude, and…my time’s over. That was a very subtle sign.
What I’m trying to say is nobody cares, the world is cold out there.