Justin Trudeau Apologizes For Canada's Refusal to Admit Jews Fleeing Holocaust

Justin Trudeau Apologizes For Canada's Refusal to Admit Jews Fleeing Holocaust

Justin Trudeau Apologizes For Canada's Refusal to Admit Jews Fleeing Holocaust

Eventually the ship was forced to return to Europe, where a third of its passengers died in the Holocaust.

"Today, I rise in this House of Commons to issue a long-overdue apology to the Jewish refugees Canada turned away", he said in Ottawa.

"We certainly hope it is a catalyst for a greater discussion about contemporary anti-Semitism and what can be done by all of us - regardless of our background - and particularly what can be done on the part of government and elected officials to fight anti-Semitism", Steve McDonald, the director of policy with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said last week.

Standing in the Canadian parliament chamber, Trudeau spoke in both English and French as he apologized. The objective, he said last May, is to draw attention to this country's failings, "as we vow never to let history repeat itself".

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The prime minister also pledged to do more to combat anti-Semitism, noting that Jewish Canadians are "feeling vulnerable" after a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, left 11 people dead.

"Holocaust deniers still exist", he said. "We contributed to sealing the cruel fates of far too many at places like Auschwitz, Treblinka and Belzec". 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.

"The ship came right outside Halifax harbour!" said Jon Goldberg, former executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.

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Trudeau noted that Jewish Canadians have called upon their government to offer more protection at synagogues and other locations. "Far fewer than the United Kingdom and significantly less per capita than the United States", Trudeau said. One of the victims, 75-year-old Joyce Fienberg, grew up in Toronto and had ties to the city's Jewish community.

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

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