Justin Trudeau has apologized for Canada’s 1939 decision to turn away the St. Louis, a steamliner full of refugees from Nazi Germany; out of more than 900 passengers, 254 were ultimately killed in the Holocaust.
“We refused to help them when we could have. We contributed to sealing the cruel fates of far too many at places like Auschwitz, Treblinka and Belzec. We failed them. And for that, we are sorry,” said Trudeau in his apology on the floor of Parliament. Via the New York Times:
The Canadian government at the time, run by the same Liberal party that Mr. Trudeau leads today, refused to allow the steamliner, the St. Louis, to land in June 1939 after it had been blocked from docking at its original destination, Havana. The boat was filled with more than 900 passengers, most of them Jews who had fled Germany four months before World War II began.
“We apologize to the mothers and fathers whose children we did not save, to the daughters and sons whose parents we did not help,” Mr. Trudeau said.
The passengers didn’t return to Germany—rather, they got visas to Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. But many of them were ultimately sent to the camps to die, as Nazis engulfed much of Europe.
It’s just the latest in a series of apologies from Trudeau; a year ago, he apologized to LGBTQ Canadians for their treatment by the government over the years. As the Times noted, Canada took in just 5,000 Jewish refugees between 1933 and 1945, compared to 70,000 accepted by Britain and 200,000 by the United States.
The United States also turned away the St. Louis, as well as declining to participate in a program like the British Kindertransport, which saved 10,000 Jewish children from the Nazis; it seems unlikely that Donald Trump will be issuing a similar apology, as he is too busy whipping up hatred against modern refugees.