Ottawa's apology for anti-Semitic episodes stirs up painful memories for some cabinet ministers

The federal government's apology for one of Canada's most shameful anti-Semitic episodes was personal for some of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet ministers.

For International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr, it brought back painful memories.

He says when he was 15 years old, he went to a hockey rink in his hometown of Winnipeg with a friend, where they were told by a  ``group of thugs'' to leave because Jews were not allowed.

Carrs says he and his friend ran out and were followed before they beaten up and left in a pool of blood.

His comments came during a reception following Trudeau's formal apology yesterday in the House of Commons for the federal government's refusal in 1939 to give asylum to 907 Jewish passengers aboard the MS St. Louis.

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould told the reception that her grandfather, born in Czechoslovakia, survived being imprisoned in three different concentration camps, Theresienstadt, Dachau and Auschwitz, before coming to Canada where he became an apple farmer.

She say she is a third-generation Canadian because Canada opened its arms, ``too late for many, but in time for us.''