MS St. Louis — filled with Jewish refugees — is turned away from Canada
The German ocean liner MS St. Louis departed from Hamburg, Germany, in May 1939, just prior to the beginning of the Second World War. Carrying over nine hundred Jewish German refugees fleeing Nazi persecution, the vessel was denied entry in Cuba, the United States and Canada. In Ottawa, government officials refused appeals by various prominent Canadian officials, including academics, politicians and clergy, to allow the ship entry into Canada. The United Kingdom accepted 288 passengers. Two hundred and fifty-four of the remaining 620 passengers were killed in Nazi concentration camps.
Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.