Trudeau Apologizes For Canada Turning Away Jewish Refugees On MS St
Trudeau Apologizes For Canada Turning Away Jewish Refugees On MS St
Trudeau says Canada’s 1939 refusal to accept ship of Jewish refugees emboldened Hitler
10 November, 2018, 15:57
The Prime Minister said the "long overdue" apology to the passengers of the St. Louis can not erase the pain suffered by these refugees or those murdered in the Holocaust or their descendants.
Standing in the Canadian parliament chamber, Trudeau spoke in both English and French as he apologized.
Cuba and the United States had rejected the 907 German Jews aboard the MS St. Louis, a German ship, before they attempted to land in Canada in 1939.
He said lawmakers at the time used Canadian laws to mask antisemitism.
"Acknowledging moments in our history when Canada failed our ideals will help us remain vigilant in upholding those values today", CIJA said in a press release.
The apology connected past to present, showing how the hate that animated Canada's treatment of Jewish refugees in the 20th century is still ingrained in contemporary politics Canada, the US and elsewhere. "We must always speak out against xenophobic and anti-Semitic relations, and also of hatred in all its manifestations", - said the Prime Minister of Canada.
Trudeau said 17 percent of all hate crimes in Canada target Jewish people.
"I pledge to you all now we will do more", Trudeau said, without providing more details.
Trudeau noted that Jewish Canadians have called upon their government to offer more protection at synagogues and other locations. "Today, I issue an official apology on behalf of the Government of Canada to the passengers of the MS St. Louis and their families for this injustice".
"Holocaust deniers still exist. Anti-Semitism is still far too present", he said.
Four European countries offered to take in the asylum-seekers, but 254 died in the Holocaust, including Judith Steel's parents at the notorious Auschwitz death camp. Despite the repeated calls by the government's two Jewish caucus members. "Instead, it will whitewash a government that did nothing to help the Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and ignored the type of anti-Semitism that was endemic in Canada until the 1970s".
"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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