“The existing Immigration regulations will not offer any solution”: MS St. Louis in Canadian Context


In 1939, MS St. Louis carried Jewish German passengers fleeing the Nazi State to Cuba, where most were de-nied entry. The Canadian government under Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King chose not to admit the passengers in Canada, and they returned to Europe. The Canadian government’s exclusion of the pas-sengers of MS St. Louis was rationalized based on sharp immigration restrictions during the Great Depression, but was rooted in the persistent climate of anti-Semitic exclusion. The event has been marked as such a dire failure that it has spurred more compassionate approaches to humanitarian admission since.

by Steve Schwinghamer, Historian
(Updated December 21, 2023)

Anti-Semitic Exclusion and Canada’s Immigration Policies

From the inception of Canada’s federal immigration structure at Confederation until the massive resettlement programs following the Second World War, Canadian immigration policy and practice was animated by personal and institutional anti-Semitism. Despite some successful cooperation between community organizations and immigration authorities to admit and settle Jewish immigrants to Canada, exclusionary attitudes and practices prevailed in the immigration offices from Confederation forward until after the Second World War. In this long history, the 1939 refusal of the Jewish refugee ship MS St. Louis often stands as a marker for the commemoration and exploration of Canadian anti-Semitic exclusion. Tracing the roots and implementation of that refusal supports the description offered in the official government apology of 2018 for denying sanctuary to the passengers of St. Louis:

“The story of the St. Louis and its passengers is no isolated incident. The government of Canada was indifferent to the suffering of Jews long before the St. Louis ever set sail for Halifax, and sadly, long after it had returned to Europe…These refugees would have made this country stronger, and its people proud. But the government went to great lengths to ensure that their appeals went nowhere.”[1]

Anti-Semitic exclusions from Canada extend to the foundations of New France, a colony intended only for Catholics at its inception.[2] In this context, historian Richard Menkis has identified a case in New France of a Jewish woman being sent out in the 1730s for her variable acceptance of Catholic instruction.[3] In British North America we also find expressions of anti-Semitism, including refusing Jews the right to own land at the end of the eighteenth century.[4] The bar against Jews owning land was a common mode of discrimination in parts of Europe, and also played a part in creating and then reinforcing the assumption that Jewish immigrants would not be experienced farmers or likely to succeed in agriculture. This prejudice later became a serious impediment to Jewish entry in Canada, as early immigration policy placed a tremendous emphasis on agricultural settlers.[5] This restriction also was directly relevant for political rights, as property was often a test for enfranchisement.

Large-scale Jewish Immigration to Canada

Canadian anti-Semitic discrimination escalated in response to the significant movement of Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia around the turn of the twentieth century. After small beginnings in late nineteenth century, about fifty thousand Jews arrived in Canada between 1901 and 1914, notably from Russia and Eastern Europe.[6] The Jewish community in Russia—particularly in the Pale of Settlement—lived with more than a thousand regulations and restrictions specifically targeting and limiting their community.[7] Following the assassination of the Czar in 1881, Jews were subjected to persecution and pogroms for more than year. All of this was in addition to suffering the general effects of epidemics, hunger, land pressure, and poverty common to the region in the latter nineteenth century. Emigration and then chain emigration presented opportunities to avoid these problems.[8]

The late nineteenth-century movement of Jews to Canada had some powerful initial proponents, notably receiving endorsements from Sir Alexander Galt (then the Canadian High Commissioner in London) and Sir John A. MacDonald (Prime Minister of Canada). Following this, about thirty Jewish agricultural communities were set up in the Canadian West around the turn of the twentieth century.[9] There were also many Jewish immigrants who came to the West and turned to business. As historian Gerald Friesen notes, they set themselves up “in the little towns of the agricultural region where the Jewish general store – at one time there were over 100 in Manitoba – was as common as the Chinese café.”[10] However, the responses of Canadian immigration officials to growing numbers of Jewish immigrants show that even travelling across the Atlantic did not provide a reprieve from anti-Semitic discrimination. For example, Halifax officials argued in the 1890s and early 1900s, as this movement from Eastern Europe and Russia was expanding, that lower class Jews should not be permitted to land in Canada, and that poor Jews left immigration quarters infested with pests.[11] This reflected a larger, emerging hostility towards Eastern European immigrants, including from Frank Oliver (editor of the Edmonton Bulletin; later the minister responsible for Canada’s immigration branch), who remarked of an arriving Russian pacifist sect that their admission “may be Christianity, philanthropy, charity or any other of the virtues, but it is not immigration.”[12] After arrival, these Eastern European Jewish immigrants on the prairies found solidarity in their communities of faith, but isolation and exclusion from the British and Christian structures around them.[13] Generally, the Jewish agricultural communities did not last long or fare well – many were barely established when economic and environmental conditions became all but impossible during the Great Depression.[14]

The challenges confronted by these early communities, along with the existing prejudices about Jewish immigrants as city-dwellers, led directly to key Jewish organizations in Canada setting out specifically to pursue Jewish rural and farm settlement. Historian John C. Lehr notes that the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) included in its original mission “the promotion of Jewish agriculture in Canada,” and the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS) similarly set out to promote “agricultural pursuits.”[15] JIAS was formed in 1919; the CJC came together in that same year but did not run steadily until the mid-1930s.[16] The launches were reactive: in the wake of the First World War, the federal government implemented significant restrictions targeting communities viewed as undesirable.[17] Notably, immigration officials turned to some familiar tools to exclude unwanted immigrants, including continuous journey, money, and passport requirements. Historian Gerald Tulchinsky points out the barrier any single one of these measures might present to a person who had fled their home country for sanctuary elsewhere, including Jews from Eastern Europe who were once more targets of particular violence at the time.[18] A number of influential Canadian Jewish leaders were able to secure exemptions from some of the restrictions for Jewish refugees, but even in success this emphasized the need for organized and sustained relationships with immigration officials to deal with the new immigration environment.[19] With increased restrictions and the steady structuring of screening came increased denial and deportation: the rate of refusal and deportation in 1920 was double that of 1913.[20] To the benefit of Jews entangled by Canadian border practices, JIAS established good record of success in intervening on behalf of detained immigrants.[21]

The 1920s were marked by significant partnerships in immigration to advance agricultural settlement, notably the Railway agreements, and Jewish organizers took note and set up the Canadian Jewish Farm School, in Georgetown, Ontario, a project that attracted the curiosity (and skepticism) of the Toronto Jewish community. Directed energetically by a Jewish farmer with education or experience in agricultural practices on both sides of the Atlantic, Morris Saxe, the project attracted the interest of JIAS.[22] Seen as a potential way to bring in Jews despite the anti-Semitic hostility of the immigration department, the farm school met initial barriers but was granted a few permits to bring in immigrant students in 1925. Those permits attracted hundreds of applications, attempts at bribes, and ultimately corruption within the school administration.[23] Immigrants in the 1920s were commonly pressed by unscrupulous middlemen, and the farm school fell directly into the pattern of its industrial cohort. “Agents” sold permits or other immigration-related services, sometimes exploiting the vulnerability of immigrants to extort further money from them, or defrauding them with false promises of assistance.[24] While JIAS had been formed in part to overcome or at least circumvent this corruption, it was itself beset with related scandals of favouritism and corruption in the 1920s, leading to a reorganization.[25]

In the meantime, Saxe steadily swam against the current within the Jewish community and demanded credible agriculturalists apply for his school, alienating interests from the humanitarian to the pecuniary—and even personal friends—but attracting the careful support of F.C. Blair at the immigration branch.[26] He also drew funding from a European benefactor, who arranged a plan with Saxe and the immigration department to bring almost forty Jewish children to Canada. A guarantee of genuine agricultural participation cracked the door open slightly, but the plan was beset by challenges and despite the children receiving training, there were few placements available on farms.[27] There was little interest in farming in the resident Canadian Jewish community, and Saxe aside, few leaders who would make the effort to build and maintain farms or farming communities. As Jack Lipinsky summarizes, the “ideal of ‘back to the land’ only applied to Palestine by the 1920s.”[28]

Closing Doors

The influence of domestic anti-Semitism persisted past the 1920s and into the 1930s, when the effects of the Great Depression began to take hold. The economic collapse combined with environmental pressures to create serious disruptions in Canada’s industries. In 1930-31, the Canadian government responded to the Great Depression by applying severe restrictions to entry. New rules limited immigration to British and American subjects or agriculturalists with money, certain classes of workers, and immediate family of Canadian residents. The result was dramatic. In the 1930s, an average of about 16,000 immigrants entered Canada per year, an enormous drop from an average of about 126,000 per year during the 1920s.[29]

The advent of this exclusionary practice of immigration unfolded just shortly before the Nazi party rose to power in Germany, with violent persecution of Jews as a central ideological tenet. The policies of that party escalated from internal exclusion of Jews to genocide after their ascent to power in 1933. As soon as the pressure for some Jewish humanitarian admission became clear, however, Canadian officials quickly framed the practices and rhetoric that would bar the door to thousands of potential Jewish immigrants, even as the violence against them increased. Frederick C. Blair, the Director of Immigration wrote to his colleague, Oscar D. Skelton, the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, in late 1933, that “a strict administration of the existing Immigration regulations will not offer any solution so far as Canada is concerned, of the problems of Jews or other refugees...Once a refugee has left Germany and gone to live in some other country, the passport difficulty is likely to arise as well.” Blair closed by pointing out that his department held “a considerable file of papers on which there are many protests from organizations and individuals in Canada against a movement to this country of German Jews.”[30]

One of the few avenues available to the CJC to counter this entrenched discrimination was to engage the immigration officials in their stated sphere of preference: agriculture. Following on the heels of the hardening of attitudes and policies in the immigration branch, the Canadian Jewish Congress undertook a farming initiative in 1934. The Congress purchased land in Manitoba via an agent, setting up a small colony for nine families as well as a nearby youth agricultural training property.[31] During the Depression, this project was not so much about actual accomplishment and very much about a response to preconceptions in popular mind and immigration policy that placed Jews outside the agricultural “preferred” category.[32] It did little to dent the preconceptions that animated and framed Canadian immigration policy in the 1930s, however: as historians Irving Abella and Harold Troper have described, even well-vetted Jewish farmers had slender prospects for admission based on the prejudice of Canadian officials. The request for entry as a farmer was viewed with suspicion if the applicant was Jewish, and the department looked for a great deal of capital among those seeking to establish themselves in farming.[33] Even with so influential a person as Samuel Bronfman at the head of the CJC, a post he took over in 1938, the immigration department did not budge from its escalating, restrictive and anti-Semitic policies.[34]

This was not due to a lack of knowledge of the suffering of Jews in Europe, and even their immediate danger: Blair stated in 1938 that he was “very doubtful whether other countries will be able to save many of these people from further misery or even extinction.[35]

Evidently, anti-Semitism was well-entrenched among Canadian immigration authorities of the time. Another of Blair’s 1938 letters argued that “it might be a very good thing if [Jews} would call a conference and have a day of humiliation and prayer which might profitably be extended for a week or more, when they would honestly try to answer the question of why they are so unpopular everywhere.” Later in 1938, High Commissioner for Canada in Great Britain Vincent Massey wrote that Canada ought to be generous in accepting “Aryan Sudeten Germans” so as to avoid accepting non-Aryan refugees later. In January 1939, Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) Wilfrid Lacroix voiced his opposition to refugee admission and tabled a petition signed by almost 130,000 Canadians, members of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society, calling for the prevention of Jewish immigration. Two months before St. Louis sailed, another MP sent Blair a copy of the so-called Franklin Prophecy, a forged anti-Semitic screed supposedly written by Benjamin Franklin.[36]

Still, there was some effective pressure for admissions from outside the Jewish community. In 1938, senior officials in charge of colonization for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Canadian National Railway (CNR) met with the highest-ranking federal immigration bureaucrats (A.L. Joliffe, Commissioner of Immigration; and F.C. Blair, Director of Immigration) in Ottawa, at Blair’s office. The topic was the “possible inclusion of Jewish farming families in the colonization effort which now includes settlers from various countries of Europe.”[37] This was a significant discussion: in the last five years of the 1920s, for instance, the two railways had collaborated with the federal government to bring almost 200,000 immigrants to Canada to be farmers and farm labourers.[38] In contrast to the arrangement used under that program, wherein the railways were solely responsible for recruiting the settlers, immigration department officials took responsibility for assessing the feasibility of settlement of Jewish applicants, with their approved files to be split evenly between the railways. This became a sticking point later as the railways conducted their own recruiting and did not want their success to reward a business competitor, so the immigration officials had to reassess the process of splitting cases immediately and allow each to pursue their own recruits.[39] Even with the involvement of these major carriers, however, there was still a role for the Jewish community: for instance, in a report from CNR on their successful settlements of European Refugees in 1939, many are listed as receiving assistance from the Canadian Jewish Congress. Some had enough capital and the farming experience to forgo assistance from the Canadian community, though. For instance, Jankiel Szapiro and his family arrived at Pier 21 aboard Batory at the end of May, 1939, to take up a farm in Manitoba with his brother Mendel, via the CNR’s Department of Colonization & Agriculture.[40] Even as they debarked, however, hundreds of other Jews were at sea aboard MS St. Louis, seeking refuge in the Americas, and Canada would not accept their entry.

St. Louis and Canada

MS St. Louis was a well-appointed 17,000 ton liner for the Hamburg-America Line, completed in 1929 for trans-Atlantic service between Hamburg and New York.[41] On 13 May 1939, the ship departed on a special cruise from Hamburg, Germany, to Havana, Cuba. St. Louis had 937 passengers aboard, mostly Jewish Germans who had been driven out by the violent persecutions of the Nazi state. They had secured Cuban tourist visas, which were attractive for several reasons. First, those visas did not require verification of the right of return. Second, the visas were available (for a bribe). Third, Cuba was very close to the United States (US). Many of the passengers were on waiting lists for entry into the US, or had family there.

Unknown to the passengers, Cuban President Laredo Brú had expanded the documentary requirements for foreign tourists before the ship had departed Germany. Cuban domestic anti-Semitism, political infighting, and corruption all contributed to the new regulation (Decree No. 937), which was a nearly complete barrier to entry for the passengers aboard St. Louis. Only twenty-eight passengers were able to land at Havana after the ship arrived on 27 May. The rest were put through a series of delays and denials from the Cuban government. Ultimately, St. Louis, still carrying 907 passengers, was ordered out of Cuban waters on 2 June.[42]

During this ordeal, the passengers petitioned the US for aid and admission, and also contacted countries in Central America looking for refuge. The US position was that the passengers could not be admitted, and although Captain Gustav Schröder considered an illegal landing of the passengers in Florida, getting St. Louis close enough to shore would have been dangerous.[43] After several days of failed negotiations, St. Louis finally left waters between Florida and Cuba on 7 June, bound directly for Europe.[44]

That evening, a group of prominent Canadians led by historian and professor George Wrong telegraphed a petition to the Prime Minister, William Lyon MacKenzie King, who was aboard the Royal Train at Niagara Falls, Ontario. The petitioners suggested that King “forthwith offer to the 907 homeless exiles on board the Hamburg American ship St. Louis sanctuary in Canada.”[45] King’s response was to instruct Undersecretary for External Affairs Dr. Oscar D. Skelton to consult with Minister of Justice Ernest Lapointe, and the Director of Immigration, Frederick Blair, as he “would like to be advised immediately as to powers of government to meet suggestion which communication contains” as well as requesting that they send a reply to George Wrong.[46]

In Canada, Parliament was not sitting. The Cabinet was not scheduled to meet until a week after King requested action. Further, the minister responsible for immigration, Minister of Mines and Resources Thomas Crerar, was away from Ottawa until 19 June. Lapointe took time merely to voice his opposition to admitting the passengers before leaving Ottawa on the evening of 8 June, and not returning until 13 June.[47] Therefore these critical days for the passengers of St. Louis fell amid a power vacuum in Ottawa. After Lapointe’s initial response, which seems to have been the only input on the situation from an elected official besides the Prime Minister, Blair and Skelton were left to craft a Canadian response to the refugee situation for King.

Blair’s first response to Skelton and King’s request was to detail the powers that King had to admit the passengers of St. Louis by way of Order-in-Council. It merits quoting in detail:

In answer to the Prime Minister’s request as to the powers of Government to grant what is requested, I may say that most of the regulations which prevent a free movement of people to Canada from Europe, are made by Order-in-Council and assuming that these refugees are in good health and of good character, they could be admitted by a general Order-in-Council such as are passed from week to week for the admission of individual refugees who are named in the Orders.[48]

In his note to Skelton, Blair moved from this explanation of the possible process for admission to argue against allowing the refugees to enter. He argued that domestic backlash to a large-scale admission of Jewish refugees would prevent “what we are doing in a less spectacular way by putting up lists every few days,” referring to the lists of names of immigrants that accompanied Orders-in-Council for admission of people who were otherwise not eligible to enter the country. (A substantial portion of those admitted by these “lists” were Jewish.)  Skelton followed up Blair’s advice with a telegram to King, but only after a noon-hour telephone conversation with Blair.  The result of these conversations was that Blair and Skelton told King that only people from four specified groups (family, investors, entrepreneurs, and highly-skilled immigrants) could be admitted by Order-in-Council.[49]

The policy basis for limiting Order-in-Council admissions to these four groups is not clear. Blair’s later note to Skelton regarding the passengers of St. Louis simply states that the passengers “could not have been admitted otherwise than by naming them in a special Order-in-Council since none of them, so far as we know, were able to comply with existing Canadian Immigration Regulations.”[50] The implication follows the direction of Blair’s first response: the passengers were admissible by obtaining a suitable Order-in-Council. Further, the availability of ministerial permits to bypass the provisions of the Immigration Act by allowing entrance to inadmissible immigrants in justifiable circumstances does not seem to have entered the discussion at all, but Crerar’s absence may have prevented Skelton and Blair from proposing that option.[51]

As a result, King did not receive advice on the government’s powers to decide in favour of and admit the passengers. Instead, the Prime Minister received a statement of the restrictive immigration regulations and a limited description of who could be admitted under Order-in-Council. This amounted to advice that the passengers of St. Louis were not admissible.

Blair wrote to Skelton a week after the initial exchange. In that note, he spelled out some of the key arguments against admission: the requirement for a special order in council; the fact that most of the refugees intended to reside permanently in the United States; and, the potential precedent for other refugees from German persecution. Blair also pointed out that “no request was made by the ship and so far as we know, by the passengers, for their landing in Canada,” which is consistent with the ship’s route: St. Louis did not head for Canada or enter Canadian waters.[52] These arguments, coupled with a rigid attitude towards the enforcement of the exceedingly restrictive immigration policies of Depression-era Canada, were the crux of the brief and exclusionary advice sent by Skelton back to King on 9 June.

There were other petitioning letters to government, but Lapointe, Blair, and Skelton did not shift from their position of inaction or exclusion. They may have been protected from scrutiny by some false reports of sanctuary arrangements that emerged while the refugees had no certain destination between 2 and 13 June. Conflicting reports of success for the passengers in finding refuge in Cuba, in Dominica, and in other states, ran in Canadian newspapers and may have blunted the sense of urgency for offering refuge to the passengers in Canada.[53] The confusion on the part of the press might be excused in that even the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC, a Jewish advocacy and relief organization that worked on behalf of Jewish refugees from Europe) still circulated internal opinions that Cuba might yet relent as late as 8 June.[54] King witnessed some of the US government’s consideration of the affair and interactions with the JDC as he travelled on the Royal Train in company with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he seemed to feel no imperative for Canada to act. He recorded in his diary that the refugee situation was “much less our problem than that of the U.S. and Cuba” and perceived from his discussions with Roosevelt that some resolution was in process.[55] A quote from Blair written during the St. Louis crisis remains the best-known summary of Canada’s response: “It is manifestly impossible for any country to open its doors wide enough to take in the hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who want to leave Europe: the line must be drawn somewhere.”[56]

Aftermath: Passengers and Policy

The passengers were given a safe return to Europe thanks to the JDC brokering a last-minute arrangement for sanctuary, announced on 13 June. The refugee passengers were distributed between the Netherlands (181), Belgium (214), France (224) and the United Kingdom (288).[57] However, the Second World War broke out not long after their return to Europe, and in 1940, more than six hundred of the passengers were in territories that fell under Nazi authority. Researchers Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller have shown that 254 of the passengers were murdered in the Holocaust; one passenger also died in later German air attacks on Britain.[58]

Historian Adara Goldberg says that the event “left an indelible stain on the country and provided an argument for changes to policy, and a driving force behind governmental actions, in the postwar period.”[59] There was certainly no immediate change, not in time to benefit the Jews of Europe. Despite this intransigence, Canada did inadvertently admit a single large movement of Jewish refugees during the Second World War. Among “enemy aliens” sent for internment in Canada from the United Kingdom, 2300 were escapees from Nazi terror, mostly Jewish.[60] Canada had a large network of internment camps during the Second World War, holding about 34,000 German prisoners of war in detention, along with these accidental refugees.[61] There was a steady movement towards easing conditions for the refugees, and release, during wartime; at the end of the war, about 1000 of the former internees elected to remain in Canada as immigrants.[62]

This one accidental contribution to Jewish refugee resettlement aside, Canada’s record for refugee admission was abysmal. Discussions about refugee entry in Canada during the war were quite deliberately inconclusive, with obstruction and obfuscation the two main bureaucratic objectives (and practices) of Canadian officials from the departments of immigration and external affairs. The summary offered by Abella and Troper regarding the Bermuda Conference of 1943, that the efforts “successfully failed,” is appropriate throughout the war years.[63] The Canadian policy on refugees, as announced by Prime Minister King, was “to win the war as quickly and completely as possible... efforts to aid them would prolong their agony if these efforts were to prolong the war.”[64] Nevertheless, about 5000 Jews did enter Canada during the 1930s. During the war, there was a tiny trickle of regular admissions made by way of Order-in-Council—Blair’s “lists” referenced during his refusal of St. Louis.[65]

After the Second World War, the immigration department was confronted with the discussion of the operation and consequences of anti-Semitism in its policies by Saul Hayes, then the Executive Director of the CJC. This, and other advice to the Senate Committee on Immigration and Labour, finds expression in the clear advice of the committee that discrimination based on race and religion should be cut out of immigration policy—saving the distinction outlined by political scientist Freda Hawkins, that limits on groups like Asians were consistent with the “absorptive capacity” of the country.[66] Amid the significant shifts in policy and the post-war arrival of displaced persons and refugees of all kinds, the Canadian government admitted 35,000 Holocaust survivors.[67]

The coda for the long history of anti-Semitic exclusion and the denial of sanctuary to the passengers of MS St. Louis reflects a significant and lasting impact on immigration practice and policy. When another refugee crisis loomed in the 1970s, the history of anti-Semitic exclusions as told by Irving Abella and Harold Troper in None Is Too Many swayed the immigration minister of the day, Ron Atkey, and “emboldened him not to behave in the same callous way a previous government had rebuffed European Jews.”[68] Shortly thereafter, the federal government moved quickly to accept many refugees from among the “Boat People,” a decisive and generous intervention that played a part in the people of Canada receiving the Nansen Medal from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1986.

  1. Canada, House of Commons, House of Commons Debates, Hansard Number 351, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, 7 November 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Apology to Jewish Refugees,” 1515ff. Note that despite the language of the apology, the MS St. Louis never headed towards a Canadian port.
  2. Richard Menkis, “Antisemitism and Anti-Judaism in Pre-Confederation Canada,” in Alan Davies, ed., Antisemitism in Canada (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1999), 12.
  3. Menkis, “Antisemitism and Anti-Judaism in Pre-Confederation Canada,” 12.
  4. Menkis, “Antisemitism and Anti-Judaism in Pre-Confederation Canada,” 24.
  5. John C. Lehr, “It seems we talk a lot”: The Jewish Farm Colony at Rosser and the Vanguard Project,” Prairie History (Summer 2020), 26.
  6. Theodore H. Friedgut, “Jewish Pioneers on Canada’s Prairies: The Lipton Jewish agricultural colony,” Jewish History 21:3 (2007), 385.
  7. Adara Goldberg, Holocaust Survivors in Canada: Exclusion, Inclusion, Transformation, 1947-1955 (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2015), 10-11.
  8. Friedgut, “Jewish Pioneers,” 386.
  9. Friedgut, “Jewish Pioneers,” 388-390. Even proponents of Jewish migration often viewed the immigrants as desirable in limited numbers and according to their stereotypes of the likely participation and contribution of Jews in Canada.
  10. Gerald Friesen, The Canadian Prairies: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987), 263.
  11. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration Fonds, RG 76, Immigration Program, volume 12, file 76, “E.M. Clay, Immigration Agent, Halifax, Nova Scotia,”  E.M. Clay to A.M. Burgess, Halifax NS, 28 September 1893; Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration Fonds, Immigration Program, volume 15, file 142, “Immigration Building, Halifax, Nova Scotia,”  Part 3, F.W. Annand to F. Pedley, Halifax NS, 17 January 1901.
  12. Howard Palmer, “Strangers and Stereotypes: The rise of nativism, 1880-1920,” in R. Douglas Francis and Howard Palmer, eds., The Prairie West: Historical Readings (Edmonton: Pica Pica Press, 1992), 313-315; the direct quote is from p. 315.
  13. Friesen, The Canadian Prairies, 263-265.
  14. Friedgut, “Jewish Pioneers,” 405.
  15. Lehr, “It seems we talk a lot.” 27.
  16. Goldberg, Holocaust Survivors, 17.
  17. Library and Archives Canada, Statutes of Canada, “An Act to Amend the Immigration Act, 1919,” (Ottawa: SC 9-10 George V), Chapter 25 accessed at https://pier21.ca/research/immigration-history/immigration-act-amendment-1919
  18. Gerald Tulchinsky, Branching Out: The Transformation of the Canadian Jewish Community (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1998), 34-35.
  19. Tulchinsky, Branching Out, 39.
  20. Canada, Dominion Bureau of Statistics, Canada Year Book 1913 (Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1914), 108; also Canada Year Book 1920, 120-122.
  21. Tuichinsky, Branching Out, 46-47.
  22. Jack Lipinsky, “Immigration Opportunity or Organizational Oxymoron? The Canadian Jewish Farm School and the Department of Immigration, 1925-46,” in Canadian Jewish Studies 21 (2013), 52-54.
  23. Lipinsky, “Canadian Jewish Farm School,” 55-56.
  24. Tulchinsky, Branching Out, 40.
  25. Tulchinsky, Branching Out, 41.
  26. Lipinsky, “Canadian Jewish Farm School,” 57-58.
  27. Lipinsky, “Canadian Jewish Farm School,” 60.
  28. Lipinsky, “Canadian Jewish Farm School,” 62.
  29. Lindsay Van Dyk, “Order-in-Council PC 1931-695”, web log entry, accessed at http://www.pier21.ca/research/immigration-history/order-in-council-pc-1931-695-1931 on 16 December 2014; Dominion Bureau of Statistics, The Canada Year Book, 1945 (Ottawa: Edmond Cloutier, 1945), 168; Dominion Bureau of Statistics, The Canada Year Book, 1946 (Ottawa: Edmond Cloutier, 1946), 185.
  30. Library and Archives Canada, Immigration Branch fonds, RG 76, Vol. 391, File 541782, “Immigration to Canada of Jews from Europe,” Blair to Skelton, Ottawa ON, 6 November 1933.
  31. Lehr, “It seems we talk a lot,” 28.
  32. Lehr, “It seems we talk a lot,” 32.
  33. Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 54-55.
  34. Goldberg, Holocaust Survivors, 19.
  35. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, Volume 391, File 541782 Part 5, “Immigration to Canada of Jews from Europe,” Blair to Rev. Canon W.W. Judd, General Secretary of the Council for Social Services of the Church of England in Canada, Ottawa ON, 18 October 1938.
  36. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, Volume 391, File 541782 Part 5, “Immigration to Canada of Jews from Europe,” confidential letter from Blair to Mr F. Sclanders, Commisioner, Saint John Board of Trade, Ottawa ON, 19 September 1938; coded confidential telegram from Massey to King, London UK, 29 November 1938; Canada, House of Commons Debates, 30 January 1939 (Wilfrid Lacroix), accessed at http://www.lipad.ca/full/permalink/1168496/; and also in File 541782 previously listed, confidential letter from H.E. Brunelle to Blair, Ottawa ON, 16 March 1939
  37. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, Volume 391, File 541782 Part 5, “Immigration to Canada of Jews from Europe,” meeting memorandum, apparently by and for F.C. Blair, Ottawa ON, 19 April 1938.
  38. Ninette Kelley and Michael Trebilcock, The Making of the Mosaic: A History of Canadian Immigration Policy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010), 198-199.
  39. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, Volume 391, File 541782 Part 5, “Immigration to Canada of Jews from Europe,” meeting memorandum, apparently by and for F.C. Blair, Ottawa ON, 19 April 1938; and Blair to Dr. W.J. Black, Director, Department of Colonization and Argiculture, Canadian National Railways, Ottawa ON, 30 April 1938. 
  40. Library and Archives Canada, Canadian National Railway Company fonds, R231-3539-7-E, Vol. 15849, Box 5647, File 91, “Examples of Settlement of European Refugee Families on Land, 1939”, accessed at  https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=FonAndCol&IdNumber=4276610&q=edenbridge. It is interesting to note that the booklet on “European refugees” bears a handwritten annotation, “Jewish booklet,” the origins of which are unclear.
  41. Arnold Kludas, Great Passenger Ships of the World, Volume 3: 1924-1935 (London: Patrick Stephens, 1976), 116.
  42. C. Paul Vincent, “The Voyage of St. Louis Revisited,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 25:2 (Fall 2011), 255-257. Regarding the numbers of passengers, note that one passenger died at sea before St. Louis arrived at Cuba, and another attempted suicide in Havana harbour and was hospitalized in Cuba.
  43. United States Coast Guard, “What was the Coast Guard’s Role in the SS St. Louis affair (otherwise known as the “Voyage of the Damned”)?”, http://www.history.uscg.mil/Frequently-Asked-Questions/, accessed 29 September 2017. Schroeder also considered attempting to beach in England later in the voyage. See Vincent, 270-271.
  44. Reports in Canada in early June claimed offers of refuge for the passengers of St. Louis from Dominica, Santa Domingo, and Cuba – see the Globe and Mail cover pages of 3 and 6 June 1939, and the Toronto Star cover page of 3 June 1939.
  45. Library and Archives Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King Papers, volume 262, telegraph from George Wrong to King, 7 June 1939, Toronto ON, microfilm reel C-3751, item 238579.
  46. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, volume 440, file 670224 “Department of External Affairs - Confidential telegrams to Prime Minister at Washington, D.C., United States, on immigration matters (German Jews on SS ST. LOUIS),” telegraph from King to Skelton, Parkton MD, 8 June 1939. There is some personal history between Wrong and King, including both a vehement protest by King and others at the University of Toronto’s Varsity student newspaper over Wrong’s appointment as a professor at the university, and possibly some grudging feelings from King toward Wrong over poor grades. See Library and Archives Canada, Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King, 9 February 1895; Martin Friedland, The University of Toronto: A History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013), 164; and the Globe and Mail of 4 and 9 February 1895.
  47. File 670244, Skelton to King, Ottawa ON, 9 June 1939
  48. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, volume 440, file 670224 “Department of External Affairs - Confidential telegrams to Prime Minister at Washington, D.C., United States, on immigration matters (German Jews on SS ST. LOUIS),” Blair to Skelton, Ottawa ON, 9 June 1939
  49. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, volume 440, file 670224 “Department of External Affairs - Confidential telegrams to Prime Minister at Washington, D.C., United States, on immigration matters (German Jews on SS ST. LOUIS),” Skelton to King, Ottawa ON, 9 June 1939; File 670224, Blair to Skelton, Ottawa ON, 9 June 1939; and Skelton to Blair, Ottawa ON, 9 June 1939
  50. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, volume 440, file 670224 “Department of External Affairs - Confidential telegrams to Prime Minister at Washington, D.C., United States, on immigration matters (German Jews on SS ST. LOUIS),” Blair to Skelton, Ottawa ON, 16 June 1939
  51. Library and Archives Canada, Statutes of Canada, An Act Respecting Immigration, 1910, Ottawa: SC 9-10 Edward VII, Chapter 27, Section 4
  52. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, volume 440, file 670224 “Department of External Affairs - Confidential telegrams to Prime Minister at Washington, D.C., United States, on immigration matters (German Jews on SS ST. LOUIS),” Blair to Skelton, Ottawa ON, 16 June 1939; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Voyage of the St. Louis – Animated Map,” accessed at https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_nm.php?ModuleId=10005267&MediaId=3544
  53. Examples of the false reports of refuge include “Cuba Consents to Admit Jews,” Montreal Gazette, 6 June 1939; “Dominica Offers Haven to Refugees Barred at Havana,” Globe and Mail, 3 June 1939; “Santo Domingo Offers Home for 907 Jews Cuba Rejects,” Toronto Daily Star, 3 June 1939
  54. JDC Chairman Paul Baewald to JDC European Director Morris Troper, London UK, 8 June 1939, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Photograph #38560, accessed online at https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1127112
  55. Library and Archives Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King Diaries, MG26-J13, 8 June 1939, accessed at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/politics-government/prime-ministers/william-lyon-mackenzie-king/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=20412
  56.   Library and Archives Canada, Department of Employment and Immigration fonds, RG 76, volume 440, file 670224 “Department of External Affairs - Confidential telegrams to Prime Minister at Washington, D.C., United States, on immigration matters (German Jews on SS ST. LOUIS),” Blair to Skelton, Ottawa ON, 16 June 1939, emphasis added; regarding the influence of the phrase, consider the article by Irving Abella and Harold Troper, “The Line Must Be Drawn Somewhere: Canada and Jewish Refugees, 1933-1939,” Canadian Historical Review, 60:2 (1979) 178-209, which becomes a chapter in their seminal work None Is Too Many. This is an apt summary of the attitudes of the Canadian officials involved. See: “4 Lands Offer Haven to Jews,” Montreal Gazette, 14 and 15 June 1939; “Europe Finds Homes for Stranded Jews,” Toronto Daily Star, 13 June 1939; “Drifting Jews Offered Haven By 4 Countries,” Globe and Mail, 15 June 1939. Finally, the 19 June Star contains in “The Jay Walker” column, a comment titled Port After Storm: “Nearly a thousand Jewish refugees from the steamship St. Louis will be given a haven in the great open spaces of Britain, Holland, Belgium, and France. The population of the Americas was too dense.”
  57. Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller, Refuge Denied: the St. Louis passengers and the Holocaust (Madison,: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), 25
  58. Ogilvie and Miller, Refuge Denied, 174-175; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Voyage of the St. Louis”, accessed at https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005267
  59. Goldberg, Holocaust Survivors, 20.
  60. Paula Draper, “The Paradox of Survival: Jewish Refugees Interned in Canada, 1940-43,” in Rhonda L. Hinther and Jim Mochoruk, eds., Civilian Internment in Canada: Histories and Legacies (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020), 309-312.
  61. Martin F. Auger, “The HARIKARI Club: German Prsioners of War and the Mass Escape Scare of 1944-45 at Internment Campe Grande Ligne, Quebec,” Canadian Military History 13:3 (2004), 50.
  62. Eric Koch, Deemed Suspect: A Wartime Blunder (Halifax: Formac, 1985), 255.
  63. Abella and Troper, None Is Too Many, 148.
  64. Abella and Troper, None Is Too Many, 152.
  65. Library and Archives Canada, Department of Citizenship and Immigration fonds, RG 26, Vol 16, “Jewish Immigration 1899-1939;” and Vol 87, “Orders-in-Council, Immigration Branch, 1940-1945.”
  66. Freda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration: Public Policy and Public Concern (Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 1988), 83-84.
  67. Goldberg, Holocaust Survivors, 234
  68. Irving Abella, “Canada still has much to learn from None is Too Many,” Globe and Mail, 26 Feb 2013, accessed at https://www.yorku.ca/laps/hist/2013/02/26/canada-still-has-much-to-learn-from-none-is-too-many/