This week in history: the MS St. Louis
June 5, 2012 | Jewish Tribune
On June 6, 1939, the MS St. Louis, a ship carrying Jewish refugees desperate to escape Nazi persecution, was forced to return to Germany after being refused refuge by country after country, including Canada.
Many of the refugees subsequently perished.
A new book published by McGill Queens University Press, Nazi Germany, Canadian Responses: Confronting Antisemitism in the Shadow of War takes a fresh look at how Canadians responded to the fate of the St. Louis passengers in the context of the rise of Hitler and his systematic persecution of European Jewry.
As explained by Ruth Klein, the book’s editor who is also national director of B’nai Brith’s League for Human Rights: “The distinguished authors contributing to this volume look at how much Canadians knew about the horrors unfolding against Jews in Europe and how they responded to the events that marked Hitler’s relentless march to power – the 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws, the 1936 Olympics, Kristallnacht and the crisis of the MS St. Louis.”
This book is a project of the National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (NTF) created by the League for Human Rights with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the B’nai Brith Foundation. Another NTF initiative is the documentary DVD When Canada Said No, which takes the viewer step by step though the St. Louis crisis through the eyes of historians and survivors of the era from a uniquely Canadian angle.