Prime Minister: Canada to apologize for turning away Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany

First they tried Cuba, then the United States, then Canada, but an ocean liner full of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939 was refused entry in those countries and had to return to Europe.

Many of the 907 German Jews on board the ``St. Louis'' were eventually killed in the Holocaust.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will formally apologize for turning away the refugees, calling that decision a blight on our collective past, but did not say when the apology will be made.

Trudeau told a sold-out Jewish fundraising event in Toronto last night that while an apology in the Commons will not rewrite this shameful chapter in Canadian history, it is hoped it will bring awareness to our failings.

In the run-up to the Second World War and the ensuing Holocaust, the Canadian government heeded anti-Semitic sentiment by severely restricting Jewish immigration.

From 1933 to 1945, only about five-thousand Jewish refugees were accepted due to what Trudeau called ``our discriminatory 'none is too many' immigration policy'' in place at the time.

He called the turning away of the ship a ``most egregious'' example of that misguided policy.