Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis attempt to communicate with friends and relatives in Cuba, who were permitted to approach the docked vessel in small boats on June 3, 1939. The ship was denied permission to dock in Canada. On Thursday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa will issue a formal apology on Nov. 7. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/National Archives and Records)

Trudeau sets the date for Canada’s MS St. Louis apology

Share

The Liberal government will issue an apology On Nov. 7 for Canada’s 1939 decision to turn away the MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 907 Jewish passengers fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on a conference call with with Canadian rabbis on Thursday.

Refugees aboard the St. Louis as they arrive in Belgium, 1939 (COURTESY AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE)

“The St. Louis was carrying German Jews looking for refuge in Canada but they were turned away under the ‘None is Too Many’ policy of the time, Trudeau said later Thursday in a tweet. “254 ended up being killed.”

“This was an absolute failure on the part of the government, and though of course an apology can’t bring the victims back, we’re committed to doing what we can to right this wrong,” the prime minister added in a separate tweet.

Thursday’s announcement comes almost a year after reports surfaced that an apology was coming and might be made at the inauguration of the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa.

Trudeau confirmed the reports this past May at a Jewish fund-raising event, saying the apology was for “the shameful chapter in our history.”

MS St. Louis in Hamburg, Germany, prior to departure for Cuba in May 1939. (Courtesy of the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum/Canadian Press)

“It will not bring back those who perished or repair the lives shattered by tragedy. But it is our hope that this long overdue apology will bring awareness to our failings, as we vow to never let history repeat itself,” Trudeau said.

The MS. St. Louis was turned away from Cuba and the United States before a group of Canadians tried to convince the government of MacKenzie King to allow it to dock in Halifax.

Ottawa refused and the ship returned to Europe where passengers dispersed to Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

As the Nazis overran Europe, many of the refugees fell into harm’s way. 

Many survived the atrocities of the Second World War war, but many others were sent to concentration camps where 254 of the passengers perished.

A memorial monument, The Wheel of Conscience, was created by the celebrated Polish-born American architect Daniel Libeskind and unveiled at Pier 21, Canada’s national immigration museum in Halifax in 2011.

With files from CP, CBC, RCI, Toronto Star

Share
Categories: Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette
When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*