Canada regrets turning away Jewish refugees on St Louis ship in 1939

Trudeau actually announced the pending apology back in May.

By Jeremy Sharon

Canadian ambassador to Israel Deborah Lyons announced on Wednesday that
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will formally apologize next month for the
decision in 1939 by then Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King
refusing to grant asylum to the more than 900 Jewish refugees from Nazi

Speaking at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North
America in Tel Aviv, Lyons said that Trudeau will apologize for failing
to admit the refugees, of whom 254 were eventually murdered during the
Holocaust, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Trudeau
actually announced the pending apology back in May.

“When Canada denied asylum to the 907 German Jews on board the M.S. St.
Louis, we failed not only those passengers, but also their descendants
and community," Trudeau said at the time.

"An apology in the House of Commons will not rewrite this shameful
chapter of our history," said the Canadian prime minister. "It will not
bring back those who perished or repair the lives shattered by tragedy.
But it is our collective responsibility to acknowledge this difficult
truth, learn from this story, and continue to fight against antisemitism
every day, as we give meaning to the solemn vow: ‘Never again.’ I look
forward to offering this apology on the floor of the House.”Carrying
over 900 Jewish-German refugees fleeing Nazi persecution, the boat was
turned away by Cuba, the refugees' first destination, the United States
and, finally, Canada. Forced to return to Europe, 254 of the passengers
on board were killed during the Holocaust.

The ship's refugees were accepted by the United Kingdom, France, Belgium
and the Netherlands but many faced renewed danger in 1940 as Germany
advanced through Western Europe.The captain of the M.S. St. Louis,
Gustav Schröder, was awarded the German Order of Merit after the war.

In 1993, Schröder was posthumously recognized as Righteous Among The
Nations by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial for his "courage and
determination not to abandon his Jewish passengers" that allowed many to

In September 2012, the US State Department publicly apologized for
shunning the M.S. St. Louis, presenting proclamations of gratitude to
ambassadors of the four countries that accepted the ship's passengers.

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