History of Canada and the Holocaust

While Canada did not directly experience the Holocaust, it was impacted in many ways by the tragedy. Canada's restrictive immigration policies at the time largely closed the door on Jews seeking to flee Europe. This included 937 Jewish passengers of the M.S. St. Louis, who were refused entry into Canada, and many subsequently died in the Holocaust.

As a result of Canada's wartime policies, nearly 2,300 men were interned as "enemy aliens" in camps across Canada between 1940 and 1943. These were mostly Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany.

The Canadian experience of the Holocaust was also one of resilience and hope. In April 1945, Canadian forces liberated the Westerbork Transit Camp in the Netherlands, including 900 Dutch Jews who were still interned there.

As a nation, Canada has also been profoundly shaped by approximately 40,000 Holocaust survivors, who resettled across the country after the war. Today, Canadians remember the Holocaust, commemorate its victims, and renew the commitment to fight against racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism.

In 2010, Canada led the development of the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Antisemitism. This international action plan will help nations measure their progress in the fight against antisemitism. In 2011, Canada became the first country to sign the Protocol.

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