Canada: On Wednesday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized in parliament for Canada refusal to admit Jewish asylum seekers fleeing Nazi Germany just months before the outbreak of World War II. In a speech, Trudeau said “ While decades have passed since we turned our backs on Jewish refugees, the time has by no means absolved Canada of its guilt or lessened the weight of its shame. Today, I rise in this House to issue a long overdue apology to the Jewish refugees Canada turned away”
The Ocean liner MS St. Louis departed Germany and crossed the Atlantic with 907 German Jews abroad, desperate for refuge from persecution. Hence, at Cuba, the passengers were barred from disembarking, and then denied entry in the United States and Canada due to the discriminatory immigration policies of the time.
Though 254 died in the Holocaust, Forced to return to Europe, many were sent to concentration camps. In the year of 1974 an inspired book was published ‘ Voyage of the Damned’ where their emotional journey has described, and also a movie with same has released.
During the speech, The Prime Minister also said “ We are sorry for the callousness of Canada’s response. We refused to help them when we could have. We contributed to sealing the cruel fates of far too many at places like Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Belzec”
A year ago, the Prime Minister sat down in his office with the owner of the survivors of that tragic Voyage, Ana Maria Gordon, and her family to discuss the need to continue fighting anti- Semitism.
While interacting with the reporters Trudeau said to reporters “ We had a tragic reminder just a few weeks ago that we need to continue to work together”. On October 27, suggested to the mass execution of 11 people at a synagogue in the US City of Pittsburgh.
In 2017, Canada, incidents of anti-Semitism-including harassment, vandalism, and violence- reached a record high, doubling from the previous year to 1,752, as per the Jewish advocacy organization B’nai Brith.
During the speech in a Parliament Trudeau asked all Canadians to stand up against xenophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes that still exist in our communities, in our schools, and in our places of work” He also mentioned that “ Holocaust deniers still exist. Anti-Semitism is still far too present. Discrimination and violence against Jewish people in Canada and around the world continue at an alarming rate.
“With the Second World War, Sadly these evils did not end.”