World

Canada's Trudeau apologizes for turning away Jews

Canada's Trudeau apologizes for turning away Jews

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.

The German liner MS St. Louis was carrying 907 German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution and it also had been rejected by Cuba and the United States.

He said lawmakers at the time used Canadian laws to mask antisemitism.

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".

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 USA and elsewhere. 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'". "We are sorry for not apologising sooner", Trudeau said in the House of Commons.

The federal government's apology for one of Canada's most shameful anti-Semitic episodes was personal for some of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet ministers.




Noting that around 17% of all Canadian hate crimes target the Jews, Trudeau pledged that the country will do more for their safety.

"Holocaust deniers still exist", he said. Traveling aboard the MS St. Louis, they'd been turned away by the USA and Cuba before a group of Canadians urged the federal government to accept them, per the CBC. He called it a "disgrace to Canada".

In the end, 254 passengers would die in the Holocaust. "Despite the desperate pleas of the Canadian Jewish community".

As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould told the reception later that "today represented the very best of what Parliament can be". Despite the repeated calls by the government's two Jewish caucus members.

"Anti-Semitism directly affects Jews, but it doesn't only affect Jews and it's not a Jewish problem".

Before the apology, Trudeau met with Ana Maria Gordon, a St. Louis passenger who lives in Canada, to talk about how the country could fight anti-Semitism.


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