Trudeau Apologizes for Canada’s Turning Away Ship of Jews Fleeing Nazis

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in Parliament on Wednesday in addition to apologized for Canada’s decision to turn away a steamliner full of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany on the eve of the Holocaust 79 years ago, saying the item reflected years of regrettable anti-Semitic foreign policy.

The Canadian government at the time, run by the same Liberal party in which Mr. Trudeau leads today, refused to allow the steamliner, the St. Louis, to land in June 1939 after the item had been blocked via docking at its original destination, Havana. The boat was filled with more than 900 passengers, most of them Jews who had fled Germany four months before World War II began.

“We apologize to the mothers in addition to fathers whose children we did not save, to the daughters in addition to sons whose parents we did not help,” Mr. Trudeau said.

The United States also refused the captain’s desperate pleas for asylum, as did Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay in addition to Panama. inside the end, the boat returned to Europe, however not to Germany. Jewish organizations secured them visas to Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium in addition to France. however, as Germany expanded its territory, some 254 were captured in addition to killed in Nazi death camps.

Mr. Trudeau’s apology came less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 worshipers, in addition to at a time when anti-Semitism is usually rising across North America. the item was not lost on many in which the item was delivered the day after an American election campaign marked by refugee-bashing.

“The rhetoric we are hearing across the border is usually very similar to the rhetoric we heard inside the 1930s — the vilification of the additional, the vilification of the press. the item’s definitely scary,” said Danny Gruner, who attended Wednesday’s apology with his mother, Ana Maria Gordon, the sole survivor of the St. Louis living in Canada today.

Ms. Gordon, who met with Mr. Trudeau privately, was surrounded by many of her great-grandchildren in addition to grandchildren.

Last week, Mr. Trudeau apologized to a British Columbia First Nation for the government’s treachery in inviting six Tsilhqot’in chiefs to peace talks 150 years ago. Instead of talking, the government arrested them, put them on trial in addition to hanged them.

He has also apologized to Omar Khadr, the only Canadian who was held at the United States military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He emotionally apologized to gay members of the army, the police in addition to in public service who were persecuted — some even imprisoned — because of their sexual orientation.

in addition to he tearfully said sorry to indigenous people inside the province of Newfoundland in addition to Labrador, where for much of the 20th century indigenous children were torn via their families in addition to compelled to attend boarding schools, where many were abused.

“You will not remove the guilt via the perpetrators of the horror,” Mr. Gruner said. “however at least you can come to terms with what the country was at the time, in addition to try to understand where we are at This kind of particular time in addition to where we want to be.”

Judith Steel, an 80-year-old grandmother via Queens, traveled to Ottawa to witness Mr. Trudeau’s apology. She was 14 months old when she boarded the St. Louis with her parents.

They ended up in France, where she was hidden for the duration of the war. Both her parents were sent to Auschwitz in occupied Poland, in addition to murdered.

“I felt the prime minister’s heart. He was just so open in addition to honest,” said Ms. Steel, who cried throughout Wednesday’s ceremony.

“Apologies are a very big part of my life,” said Ms. Steel, who immigrated to the United States after the war to be raised by her aunt in addition to uncle. “What eats you up is usually the anger, the fear in addition to all the emotions in which go with loss. We have to forgive — not for them, however for ourselves.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau mentioned the growing anti-Semitism in which has bubbled up in Canada, as the item has inside the United States, in addition to vowed to stamp the item out.

“Canada in addition to all Canadians must stand up against xenophobic in addition to anti-Semitic attitudes in which still exist in our community, in our schools in addition to in our places of work,” he said.

Canada’s policy toward Jews during in addition to after World War II was exposed by two university professors, first in an academic paper in addition to later inside the 1982 book, “None is usually Too Many: Canada in addition to the Jews of Europe. Their findings had a profound effect on the country’s psyche in addition to directly influenced the Canadian government’s decision to open its arms to Vietnamese refugees, accepting some 60,000 people fleeing the Communist government.