Trudeau Apologizes for 1939 Refusal of Ship Carrying Jewish Refugees Fleeing Nazis
A crowd of German-Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis ocean liner wave as they arrive in Antwerp, Belgium, after wandering the Atlantic for thousands of miles. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a “long overdue” apology yesterday on behalf of all Canadians for an appalling act of anti-Semitism that took place in 1939.
Standing up in the House of Commons, Trudeau was referring to an incident in 1939, when a shipload of Jewish refugees fleeing the persecution of Nazi Germany was on its way to Canada. The ship, however, was turned away as it neared Halifax, forcing it back to Europe. Many of the 900 aboard the MS St. Louis who were turned away later died in the Holocaust.
“[Hitler] watched … as we refused their visas, ignored their letters and denied them entry,” the Prime Minister said.. “We apologize to the 907 German Jews aboard the MS St. Louis, as well as their families.”
“We also apologize to others who paid the price of our inaction – whom we doomed to the ultimate horror of the death camps.”