Trudeau issues apology for Canada's refusal to harbor Jews fleeing Holocaust

Trudeau issues apology for Canada's refusal to harbor Jews fleeing Holocaust

They were forced to return to Europe, where over 250 of them died in the Holocaust.

It started as an apology for a shameful chapter in Canadian history and ended with an urgent call to fight anti-Semitism here and now.

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.

"We 900 immigrants looking for safe haven were denied that and fortunately there are countries such as Canada who are willing to take those truly looking for safe haven and looking for a place to reside without being persecuted", Wiener said. "Anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and hatred have no place in this country, or anywhere in this world", Trudeau said as quoted by his official website.

Anti-Semitism, that has been on the rise in Canada for the fifth straight year, according to the report by the Canadian Jewish advocacy group B'Nai Brith.

"We must guard our communities and institutions against the kinds of evils that took hold in the hearts of so many, more than 70 years ago, for they did not end with the war", Mr. Trudeau said.

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The attack was believed to be the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent American history.

The apology connected past to present, showing how the hate that animated Canada's treatment of Jewish refugees is still ingrained in contemporary politics Canada, the USA and elsewhere.

"Holocaust deniers still exist", he said. These refugees were barred from disembarking at the ship's first destination in Cuba and then denied entry into the United States and finally Canada due to the Canadian government's discriminatory "none is too many" immigration policy towards Jewish people, the Prime Minister's Office said in a summary of the episode.

Trudeau pledged to listen to the request, but didn't provide further details. Despite the repeated calls by the government's two Jewish caucus members.

"She was not bound for Canada or for Halifax during this voyage of May and June of 1939, but there were Canadian advocates who looked for the ship to be admitted", said Steve Schwinghamer, a historian with the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax.

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