Nazis murdered millions of Jews thus committing the Holocaust – a monstrous crime against humanity. This is a cold hard (and an undeniable) fact. However, several other nations share the blame for this genocide because they could have prevented it – or at least saved hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives.
On the 6th of July, 1938 representatives of 32 nations (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela), intergovernmental organizations (High Commission for Refugees from Germany and General Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Committee) and 24 private non-profit organizations gathered in a French resort city Évian-les-Bains to discuss the Jewish refugee problem and the plight of the increasing numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing persecution by Nazi Germany.
Later it was estimated that had each nation at Evian agreed on that day to take in just 17,000 Jews, every Jew in the Reich could have been saved. In reality, none accepted any sizable number of refugees (only the Dominican Republic ultimately took in about 800).
Which was a very dumb decision actually, because just about all Jewish immigrants were highly skilled professionals that would have brought immense value to their new home countries.
Unfortunately, all these nations were too poisoned and blinded with Judeophobia and simply did not want any more Jews on their land. And either did not believe that the lives of Jews in the Third Reich were in danger or (more likely) simply did not care.
In late June 1940, right after the Fall of France, the German diplomat Franz Rademacher, head of the Jewish Department of the German Foreign Office, proposed to solve the “Jewish problem” by relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar. A French colony, after the surrender of France it became available to Nazi government for whatever purpose they might choose.
It was by no means a novel idea – relocation of European Jews to Madagascar was first proposed in 1878 by Paul Anton de Lagarde – a German biblical scholar and orientalist, (sometimes regarded as one of the greatest orientalists of the 19th century, believe it or not). In 1937 this idea was investigated (but subsequently dropped) by the Polish government (only marginally less Judeophobic than the Nazi one).
Adolf Hitler (who was made aware of this plan probably by von Ribbentrop) was apparently much more optimistic about the success of this plan. So he ordered “another Adolf” – Adolf Eichmann – draft a memorandum on implementing this plan ASAP.
The latter obliged and on August 15th, 1940 released a memorandum calling for the resettlement of a million Jews per year for four years, with the island being governed by the SS.
This solution to the Jewish question (like any other solution of this problem) was undoubtedly a crime against humanity. However, it was far less murderous than the Final Solution that was actually implemented.
Unfortunately for the Jews, Her Majesty’s Government (and personally Sir Winston Churchill) flatly refused to lift the naval blockade of Germany (let alone declare a ceasefire) to allow Nazi Germany to start implementing the Madagascar Plan. Or to allow unlimited immigration of Jews to Palestine (which it did allow anyway five years later – after the end of the war).
And thus did not use the chance to save millions of Jewish lives. Apparently destroying Nazi Germany was far more important to Sir Winston and his associates than saving Jewish lives.