Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Survivors of MS St. Louis welcome Trudeau's apology

Survivors of MS St. Louis welcome Trudeau's apology

On Board of the ship "St. Louis" with the German Jews that arrived in the canadian port of Halifax on 7 June of the 39th year, there were 907 asylum seekers. "We also apologize to others who paid the price of our inaction, whom we doomed to the ultimate horror of the death camps", the prime minister said late on Wednesday.

Some surviving passengers were in the House of Commons to hear the apology and opposition party responses. "Instead, it will whitewash a government that did nothing to help the Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and ignored the type of anti-Semitism that was endemic in Canada until the 1970s". About 30,000 people were sent to concentration camps, the first large cohort of the millions who would be murdered.

"I firmly believe that to recognize an error publicly leads towards better understanding and healing", she told a reception following the apology. "Apologizing, I sincerely hope that we will be able to shed some light on this painful Chapter of our history and to ensure that lessons learned will never be forgotten", said Trudeau. "Discrimination and violence against Jewish people in Canada and around the world continues at an alarming rate". She urged Canada not to fail them as it failed the passengers on the St. Louis.

"This apology should not make us comfortable".

"It was very important that the government made this statement and fulsome apology for the past", said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B'nai Brith Canada. He called for a focus on tackling anti-immigrant and hate speech, particularly online.

The story of the MS St. Louis resurfaced in headlines again in 2017, when an American Jewish educator launched a Twitter account that names passengers of the ship who were later killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. He said then that the decision to turn away the St. Louis was a blight on Canada's past.

The Liberals' new immigration plan calls for up accepting to 16,500 protected persons in 2019, a category that includes refugees, growing to 20,000 in 2021.

"Anti-Semitic incidents and attacks spanned the political spectrum, ranging from the far-right to the far-left, with significant contributions from Islamic and Arab nationalists as well", the report said.

Like this: