Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Apologizes for 1939 Rejection of Jewish Refugees

House of Commons Proceedings

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Apologizes for 1939 Rejection of Jewish Refugees

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issues a formal apology in the House of Commons on behalf of the federal government for the decision to turn away a ship carrying German Jewish passengers in 1939. The MS St. Louis was carrying almost 1,000 passengers, including 907 Jewish German citizens who were fleeing Nazi persecution. The boat was denied entry into Cuba and the United States before approaching Canada. The Jewish refugees were denied asylum due to Canada’s discriminatory “none is too many” immigration policy of the time. Forced to return to Europe, 254 passengers were later killed in German concentration camps.

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP parliamentary leader Guy Caron, Bloc Québécois interim leader Mario Beaulieu, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May respond to the apology. (November 7, 2018)