The main cause of the Holocaust started when Adolf Hitler was appointed German chancellor on January 30, 1933, setting in motion what would become the Nazi genocide against Jewish people. Negativity about Jews quickly spread across the world and when it got to Canada, government policies were made stating that Jews were a potential threat to the nation’s health. Canadians supported the policies and Canada was becoming less welcoming towards the Jewish. The Jewish didn’t feel safe, they were especially vulnerable in Quebec and swastika clubs were organized in Ontario. At Toronto’s Christie Pits Park during a baseball game on August 16, 1933, a rare act of Nazi-inspired anti-Semitic violence broke out. Fights exploded after a local pro-Nazi youth group unveiled a flag with a swastika. The opposing Jewish club and fans were infuriated by the act. Luckily there were no fatalities, but it was a warning to the Jewish Canadians that they had only escaped their fate by one generation. Canada then placed Jews in the “least desirable” immigrant groups and people thought the more Jews the country had, the more problems they would have. So, between 1933-1947 only 5,000 Jewish refugees were permitted to enter Canada, the poorest record among western countries. This new placement is also one of the causes to the rejection of the MS St. Louis on June 7, 1939. Fleeing from the German Nazis, 907 Jewish refugees were denied entry to Cuba, numerous Latin American countries, and the United States on the St. Louis, before finally getting denied in Canada. Only a few Canadian citizens asked the government to provide sanctuary for the refugees, but their request was quickly refused. The ship was sent back to Europe where 254 of the 907 passengers were murdered in the Holocaust.
Now, thankfully, Canada is no longer like that; we do not dismiss refugees in need, and there are no policies that discriminate anyone. Throughout the 1930s there were only about 170,000 Jews in Canada, compared to the minimum of 308,995 according to a 2001 census; over the span of 60 years, the Jewish population has increased by 181.76%. This, and other more accepting immigration policies, has changed Canada socially and economically for the better.
This event contributing to making Canada more economically autonomous because, even though most Canadians would hate to say this back then, the Jewish people helped our economy a lot. Wanting to fight more for their people and less for their country about 17,000, roughly one-fifth of the country’s Jewish male population, enrolled in the Canadian army. 421 Canadian Jewish soldiers were died in service and 1,971 received military awards. They fought with us even though they thought we were against them; that built up our army’s reputation and the army itself, and it is something we continue to build on today.