On April 21, I wrote a piece under the title “Seeking Canada’s Long Overdue Apology” and asked the readers to stay tuned on the outcome of B’nai B’rith’s request to the Prime Minister of Canada to offer a formal apology for Canada’s shameful decision to turn away Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis in 1939. I also asked the readers to stay in tune.
Today, May 8, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau announced that he will offer a formal apology in the House of Commons. While the precise timing of the apology has yet to be determined, it is expected that it will take place in the coming months.
The apology is expected to receive all party support particularly as it builds upon the previous government’s decision to erect the Wheel of Conscience at Pier 21 in Halifax, commemorating the ship’s passengers.
For Holocaust Survivors and their families, a formal apology will be a powerful statement of regret for a disgraceful decision and the Canadian government’s “none is too many” policy toward Jewish refugees during World War II that led to it.
The news touches deeply the Jewish community, and especially the community members with relatives who survived the St. Louis, some of whom are living in Canada.