Trudeau apologizes for Canada's 1939 refusal of ship of Jewish refugees

Trudeau issues apology for Canada's refusal to harbor Jews fleeing Holocaust

The passengers of MS St Louis, that boarded the liner in Hamburg on May 15, 1939, destined for Havana in a bid to escape the violence, persecution and outright imprisonment at home.

But Mr. King said it was not Canada's problem and left the matter to officials such as Frederick Blair, the architect of Canada's restrictive immigration policies, known for his inflexibility.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has formally apologised for his country's refusal to provide shelter to a ship carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees nearly 80 years ago.

"We must guard our communities and institutions against the kinds of evils that took hold in the hearts of so many, more than 70 years ago, for they did not end with the war", Mr. Trudeau said. 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'".

But anti-Semitism is not just a thing of the past in Canada as Trudeau said that some 17 percent of religious hate crimes victims in the country are against Jews.

Trudeau met the only surviving Canadian passenger of the St. Louis shortly before making the apology.

More than 250 passengers were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust after the ship was forced to return to Europe. They looked for refuge in Cuba and the USA but were turned away.

Gordon said history continues to repeat itself and even today "many people are discriminated against, starving or running for their lives". However, about a quarter of them faced a gruesome fate of being killed in Nazi death camps, historians estimate.

The US State Department apologized for the incident in 2012 at a ceremony attended by then deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and 14 survivors from the ship. The Twitter account was a protest against President Donald Trump's travel ban, which targeted refugees.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Americans on Wednesday for electing a "historic number of women" in midterm elections.

The head of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Avi Benlolo, said it is up to governments to "take serious measures that help counter hate crimes against minority groups".

"And I pledge to you all now, we will do more", he said.



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