Justin 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 Canadian Council for Refugees said many refugees trying to get into Canada are often fleeing persecution just like the St. Louis passengers.

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 Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - a man who is willing to say the most progressive, laudable things imaginable, provided he doesn't have to do anything - has steadfastly refused to cancel Canada's planned $15 billion sale of antipersonnel weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, despite the incipient genocide in Yemen and the Kingdom's practice of dismembering critical journalists. "We are sorry for not apologizing sooner", Trudeau said on Wednesday.

Gerry Cranham via Getty Images Refugees go through customs on arrival in Antwerp onboard the MS St. Louis, after over a month at sea, during which they were denied entry to Cuba, the United States and Canada. We are sorry for the callousness of Canada's response.

Trudeau said 17 percent of all hate crimes in Canada target Jewish people. Only about 5,000 Jewish refugees were accepted over a 12-year period from 1933 to 1945. More than 250 of them ultimately died in the Holocaust. "We were quick to forget the ways they helped build this country since its inception".

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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. They looked for refuge in Cuba and the US but were turned away.

"Canada and Canadians will continue to stand with the Jewish community and call out the hatred that incited such despicable acts", he said. As Nazi Germany expanded its reach, about 254 were captured and killed in death camps, The New York Times reports.

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. "Anti-Semitism is still far too present", he 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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