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    The Holocaust Is as One of the Worst Events in History

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    During the Holocaust, Canada could have done more to prevent the atrocities it caused. Canada could have accepted more Jewish refugees, treated the refugees they did let in better, and done something about the high amount of anti-semitism across Canada.

    During the Holocaust, many countries let in Jewish refugees but when they came to Canada the government turned them away. The MS St. Louis was a boat sailing to Cuba from Europe containing 900 Jewish passengers had its passengers barred from entering Cuba and Canada. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia “With the exception of 28 who purchased new documents in port and one individual who was hospitalized in Havana, the passengers were not allowed to disembark.”(Yarhi) the captain then went to Canada where the passengers were not allowed off. The captain then sailed back to Europe where many of the passengers were killed later. During the course of WW2 Canada only allowed 5,000 Jewish refugees to enter while other countries accepted thousands more. If Canada had allowed more Jewish refugees to enter the country the death total of the Holocaust could have been a lot lower.

    Furthermore, The anti-semitism prevalent in Canada at the time could have discouraged refugees from attempting to enter the country. The Christie Pits riot was a riot that started from a baseball game where a team, that was mostly Jewish, was provoked by the opposition with a flag bearing a swastika. Many Canadian officials held anti-semitic beliefs even Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King held such beliefs. In his journal, he wrote “While Prime Minister King was worrying that Jewish immigration would ‘pollute’ Canada’s bloodstream, his government was ensuring that no more would be coming.”(Abella) due to these beliefs, Jewish refugees were being turned away from Canada. Prime Minister Mackenzie King was reluctant to send someone to represent Canada to the Evian Conference but pressure from Britain and the US forced him to send someone. If the Government did not have people with anti-semitic beliefs in power and did something about the anti-semitism that Jewish Canadians faced, more Jewish refugees could have pressured the government to accept them into the country.

    Finally, Canada treated the Jewish refugees they did let in poorly. Many Jewish refugees that were in Britain were sent to Canada where they were kept in internment camps along with other prisoners of war including Nazis “The “accidental immigrants,” as the Jews in the group came to be known, were initially interned in prisoner of war (POW) camps alongside actual POWs, including Nazi Germans.”(Roy) this proved to be a bad idea, the government later released the prisoners. While working at the camps the Jewish members had to cut wood to heat the camp in freezing temperatures. They also had markings on their jumpsuits that resembled targets and gave the guards something to aim for if they ran away. If the Canadian government had not treated Jewish refugees poorly more may have attempted to enter and that could have pressured the government to let them in.

    Canada during the Holocaust could have done much more to prevent the atrocities of the Holocaust. If Canada had not turned away so many refugees, did not have anti-semitic officials in power, and treated the refugees that had entered well, the death count for the Holocaust could have been a lot lower.

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    The Holocaust Is as One of the Worst Events in History. (2022, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-holocaust-is-as-one-of-the-worst-events-in-history/

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