Canada apologizes for turning away Nazi era ship of Jews


In May 1939, the St. Louis left Germany with passengers who included more than 900 Jewish German citizens seeking sanctuary.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued an official apology for Canada's refusal to take in over 900 Jewish refugees who fled to the country from Nazi Germany back in 1939.

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In May 2016, six months after taking office, he stood in parliament to apologise to the descendents of hundreds of passengers of the Komagata Maru, a Japanese vessel carrying Sikh, Muslim and Hindu migrants who were refused entry into Canada under 1914 immigration laws. "We must always speak out against xenophobic and anti-Semitic relations, and also of hatred in all its manifestations", - said the Prime Minister of Canada.

"I speak today to Express for a long time to apologize to the Jewish refugees who were not Canada". Traveling aboard the MS St. Louis, they'd been turned away by the United States and Cuba before a group of Canadians urged the federal government to accept them, per the CBC.

More than 250 of them died in the Holocaust. Seventeen percent of all hate crimes in Canada target Jewish people, he added. However, about a quarter of them faced a gruesome fate of being killed in Nazi death camps, historians estimate.

But the shooting deaths of 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue nearly two weeks ago have reframed the prime minister's plan for the apology and Jewish leaders expect Trudeau to say something more than that the Canadian government is sorry for a decision made decades ago.

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.

He said the October 27 attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue, where a gunman shot and killed 11 people simply because they were Jewish, shows anti-Semitism still exists in society.

"It was very important that the government made this statement and fulsome apology for the past", said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B'nai Brith Canada.

While a majority of Canadians (63%) say they have followed the news of Jamal Khashoggi's murder, it does not appear to have an impact on views of the Saudi Arms deal.