Canada Formally Apologizes For Rejecting Jewish Refugees Fleeing Nazi Germany

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issues an official apology on behalf of the country for turning away the MS St. Louis a ship carrying over 900 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany that arrived in Canada in 1939 at the House of Commons in Ottawa

Sean Kilpatrick/CP Ana Maria Gordon, second from left, who is the only surviving Canadian passenger of the MS St. Louis, stands with family and fellow survivors during a formal apology from the Canadian government over the fate of the MS St. Louis and its passengers in the House of Commons on November 7, 2018.

The most recent figures on hate crime from Statistics Canada show the Jewish population was the most frequent target of religiously motivated hate crimes in 2016. The ship was forced to return to Europe, where several countries agreed to take in the asylum seekers, however, about 250 Jews from the ship are believed to have been eventually killed by the Nazis in death camps. "And we are sorry for not apologizing sooner".

Trudeau pledged to listen to the request, but didn't provide further details.

"The whole premise of the St. Louis was the culmination of bigotry and hatred that is rearing its ugly head again and I think this is a very poignant part of this", said Eva Wiener, 80.

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.

On May 15, 1939 the ocean liner MS St. Louis departed Germany and crossed the Atlantic with 907 German Jews aboard, desperate for refuge from persecution.

When Cuba, the United States and Canada turned the ship away, it returned to Europe where several countries took the refugees in and, according to historians and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), 255 of them were later killed in World War II, majority in concentration camps.

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.

Steel's last memory of her father was holding his hand, being told to look off in the distance, and feeling someone else take her hand - saving her from the train the next day that took her parents to Auschwitz.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially apologized Wednesday for his country's 1939 decision to reject a ship full of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. Of those Canada did let in, some 7,000 Jews were held as prisoners of war and jailed alongside Germans captured on battlefields, he said.

"I am here, the third generation in Canada, because Canada opened its arms, too late for many but in time for us".

The Liberals' new immigration plan calls for up accepting to 16,500 protected persons in 2019, a category that includes refugees, growing to 20,000 in 2021.

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