Trudeau apologizes for Canada's 1939 refusal of Jewish refugee ship

Trudeau issues apology for Canada's refusal to harbor Jews fleeing Holocaust

"While decades have passed since we turned our backs on Jewish refugees, time has by no means absolved Canada of its guilt or lessened the weight of its shame", Trudeau said in a speech. Seventeen percent of all hate crimes in Canada target Jewish people, he added. The United States later turned them away.

"The whole premise of the St. Louis was the culmination of bigotry and hatred that is rearing its ugly head again and I think this is a very poignant part of this", said Eva Wiener, 80. The goal, he said last May, is to draw attention to this country's failings, "as we vow never to let history repeat itself".

"Anti-Semitism directly affects Jews, but it doesn't only affect Jews and it's not a Jewish problem".

In May 2016, six months after taking office, he stood in parliament to apologise to the descendents of hundreds of passengers of the Komagata Maru, a Japanese vessel carrying Sikh, Muslim and Hindu migrants who were refused entry into Canada under 1914 immigration laws.

"We apologise to the 907 German Jews aboard the St. Louis, as well as their families", Trudeau told the House of Commons. However, about a quarter of them faced a gruesome fate of being killed in Nazi death camps, historians estimate.

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Following the outbreak of the #MeToo movement denouncing sexual assault, and the massive women's protests against US President Donald Trump, women voters and candidates were poised to play critical roles in the first major election since Trump took power.

"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.

Writing in the National Post on the eve of the apology, Michael Mostyn, chief executive of B'nai Brith Canada, called on the Trudeau government to take action by devoting resources to developing a national action plan to combat anti-Semitism and engage with Jewish institutions, including synagogues, on security. One of them, Ana Maria Gordon, survived a Nazi concentration camp after returning to Europe.

"And I pledge to you all now, we will do more", he said.

"We all must, as individuals, communities and as a nation, help these people in every way we can", she said.

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