Canada to Apologize for Turning Away Ship of Jews Fleeing Nazi Germany

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s government will formally apologize for turning away a ship full of Jewish refugees trying to flee Nazi Germany in 1939.

The German liner MS St. Louis was carrying 907 German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution and it had also been rejected by Cuba and the United States. The passengers were forced to return to Europe and more than 250 later died in the Holocaust.

PM Trudeau said in speech to a sold-out Jewish fundraising event Tuesday that the decision to turn away the St. Louis was a blight on Canada’s past.

In the run-up to World War II and the ensuing Holocaust, the Canadian government heeded anti-Semitic sentiment and severely restricted Jewish immigration. From 1933 to 1945, only about 5,000 Jewish refugees were accepted.

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