Canada apologizes for turning away Jews fleeing Nazi Germany

Canad’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised in parliament on Wednesday for Canada’s refusal to admit Jewish asylum seekers fleeing Nazi Germany just months before the outbreak of World War II.

On the week marking the 80th anniversary of what is known as “Kristallnacht” and the start of the Holocaust, Trudeau said that the decision to turn the country’s back on European Jews was “unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now”.

On May 15, 1939, the ocean liner MS St. Louis departed Germany and crossed the Atlantic with 907 German Jews aboard, desperate for refuge from persecution.

The passengers were barred from disembarking at Cuba, and then denied entry in the United States and Canada due to the discriminatory immigration policies of the time.

Forced to return to Europe, many were sent to concentration camps, and 254 died in the Holocaust.

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