Trudeau apologizes for Canada’s 1939 refusal of Jewish refugee ship
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issues formal apology to the 907 German Jews aboard the St. Louis, which was turned down by his country, among others, and had to return to Europe, where over 250 of its passengers were murdered in Nazi death camps.
The St. Louis left Hamburg in May 1939 in a desperate search for a safe haven from persecution by Nazi Germany. After it was rebuffed by Canada and other nations, it returned to Europe, where historians have estimated that more than 250 of the passengers were murdered in Nazi death camps.
“We apologize to the 907 German Jews aboard the St. Louis, as well as their families,” Trudeau told the House of Commons. “We are sorry for the callousness of Canada’s response. We are sorry for not apologizing sooner.”
Jewish Canadians “are understandably feeling vulnerable” and there have been calls “to protect synagogues and other places that are at risk of hate-motivated crimes,” Trudeau said during his parliamentary address.
“And I pledge to you all now: we will do more,” he said, noting that around 17 percent of all Canadian hate crimes target Jewish people.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, head of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, applauded Trudeau’s “historic apology” and his pledge to expand security measures for Jewish institutions.
Trudeau, a Liberal, has made a number of apologies for Canada’s historic failings.