Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trudeau apologises for Canada's 1939 refusal of Jewish refugee ship

Trudeau apologises for Canada's 1939 refusal of Jewish refugee ship

The story of the MS St. Louis resurfaced in headlines again in 2017, when an American Jewish educator launched a Twitter account that names passengers of the ship who were later killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally apologized for Canada's refusal to accept hundreds of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

"We are sorry for not apologizing sooner", Trudeau said.

They first went to Cuba and, when the passengers weren't allowed to disembark there, the United States. But it is our collective responsibility to acknowledge this hard truth, learn from this story, and continue to fight against antisemitism every day, as we give meaning to the solemn vow: "'Never again'".

Trudeau said Holocaust deniers still exist and anti-Semitism remains a problem in Canada, noting the latest numbers from Statistics Canada show Jews are the most frequent targets of religiously motivated hate crimes. From 1933 to 1945, only about 5,000 Jewish refugees were accepted. The passengers were forced to return to Europe and more than 250 later died in the Holocaust.

The prevalence of anti-Semitism in contemporary society showed itself nearly two weeks ago when a gunman killed 11 worshippers inside a Pittsburgh synagogue simply because they were Jewish, Trudeau said.

Gordon said history continues to repeat itself and even today "many people are discriminated against, starving or running for their lives". As Nazi Germany expanded its reach, about 254 were captured and killed in death camps, The New York Times reports.

Justin Trudeau apologized on behalf of Canada, for the historically unfair treatment of Jewish refugees.

"The community came to say, 'We are with you".

"Anti-Semitic incidents and attacks spanned the political spectrum, ranging from the far-right to the far-left, with significant contributions from Islamic and Arab nationalists as well", the report said.

"She was not bound for Canada or for Halifax during this voyage of May and June of 1939, but there were Canadian advocates who looked for the ship to be admitted", said Steve Schwinghamer, a historian with the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax.

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