June 8

Evian Conference

Look at this map of the Jewish population in Europe, 1933

Now look at this graph of national responses to Jewish refugees:


What conclusions can you draw by comparing the Jewish population in Europe in 1933 with the information in the graph?

National Responses to Jewish Refugees Graph


Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazis aimed to make Germany Judenrein (cleansed of Jews) by making life so difficult for them that they would be forced to leave the country. By 1938, about 150,000 German Jews, one in four, had already fled the country. After Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, however, an additional 185,000 Jews were brought under Nazi rule. Many Jews were unable to find countries willing to take them in.

Many German and Austrian Jews tried to go to the United States but could not obtain the papers (visas) needed to enter. Even though news of the violent pogroms of November 1938 was widely reported, Americans remained reluctant to welcome Jewish refugees. In the midst of the Great Depression, many Americans believed that refugees would compete with them for jobs and overburden social programs set up to assist the needy.

Congress had set immigration quotas in 1924 that limited the number of immigrants and discriminated against groups considered racially and ethnically undesirable. These quotas remained in place even after President Roosevelt, responding to mounting political pressure, called for an international conference to address the refugee problem.

In the summer of 1938, delegates from thirty-two countries met at the French resort of Evian. Roosevelt chose not to send a high-level official, such as the Secretary of State, to Evian; instead, Myron C. Taylor, a businessman and close friend of Roosevelt’s, represented the U.S. at the conference. During the nine-day meeting, delegate after delegate rose to express sympathy for the refugees. But most countries, including the United States and Britain, offered excuses for not letting in more refugees.

Responding to Evian, the German government was able to state with great pleasure how astounding it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when “the opportunity offer(ed).” 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 U.S. State Department officials—played a part in the failure to admit more refugees.

Discussion Questions:

  • What was the purpose of the Evian Conference?
  • What was the outcome of the conference?
  • How did the reaction of world nations encourage the implementation of Nazi policy?

Discussion Questions

  • How does the cartoonist depict the results of the Evian Conference?
  • Do you think that the cartoonist support the outcome of the Evian Conference?


May 12

How Big a Problem is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?


In recent years, the media has reported on a number of cases of students apparently driven to suicide by bullying or cyberbullying.

Schools have responded in creating curriculums, having students sign anti-bullying pledges, hiring specialists, and more. Yet the problem seems to be growing.

How big a problem do you think bullying and cyberbullying are in your school or community? Why? What do you think adults don’t understand about bullying? What, if anything, do you think can be done?

A child in front of a computer with cyberbullying language on the screen.


May 7

Should What You Say on Facebook Be Grounds For Getting Fired?

Read THIS then answer the question below:

Should comments among friends made on Facebook be considered private? Or should we expect that anything said on social media might be viewed by the world?

And if our boss doesn’t like what we write on Facebook, Twitter or other social media, should it be grounds for getting fired?


May 4

Hello Students!

This will be a safe place to discuss our opinions and ask the big questions. I’m really excited to get started and to hear what you think! Remember, respect is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING about this forum. Responses will be monitored for respect and appropriateness. Be nice to your classmates. Of course you need to use proper grammar, including punctuation and capital letters. No texting shortcuts! (u, &, 2) OK let’s get started!!

laptop and coffee

May 3

Too Many Trophies?

READ THIS! then respond to the question below…

Have we gone trophy-crazy as a society, bestowing trophies on children for almost anything, even just showing up? Are we afraid children will be hurt by losing, so we make everyone a winner? Or are awards an effective way to raise children’s self-esteem and keep them motivated to do better?

Do we give children too many trophies?



April 30

Are Adults Hurting Young Children by Pushing Them to Achieve?

READ THIS and respond to the prompt below…

The article described a program in New York City in which parents pay $200 to $300 a month for children as young as two and three years old to spend up to an hour twice weekly being tutored in math and reading skills to get ahead. What do you think of programs like this? Why do you think more and more parents seem to be interested in them?