The German liner MS St. Louis was carrying German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution and had previously been rejected by Cuba and the United States.
"We were surrounded by a group of thugs who said, 'Jews are not allowed here, get out.' And we ran and they caught up and they beat us up and they stole our money and they left us in a pool of blood".
"Anti-Semitism directly affects Jews, but it doesn't only affect Jews and it's not a Jewish problem". About 30,000 people were sent to concentration camps, the first large cohort of the millions who would be murdered.
Prior to the apology, Trudeau met with Ana Maria Gordon, who was a passenger on the St. Louis and who now lives in Canada. "Apologizing, I sincerely hope that we will be able to shed some light on this painful Chapter of our history and to ensure that lessons learned will never be forgotten", said Trudeau.
Mr. Trudeau also warned of an "alarming rate" of discrimination and violence against Jewish people today. She urged Canada not to fail them as it failed the passengers on the St. Louis.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the apology for past wrongs should be a reminder that anti-Semitism "is not a relic of the 1930s". On the contrary, it should grab us and shake us.
A handful of surviving passengers from the St. Louis are to be in the House of Commons when Trudeau rises to issue the apology later this afternoon.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Americans on Wednesday for electing a "historic number of women" in midterm elections. He called for a focus on tackling anti-immigrant and hate speech, particularly online.
Pictures and stories of the victims from the St. Louis circulated on social media a year ago in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to ban immigration and refugee settlement from certain countries.
The luxury liner carrying almost 1,000 Jews hoping to escape Nazi persecution was refused permission to dock in Halifax in 1939.
As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould told the reception later that "today represented the very best of what Parliament can be".
"While decades have passed since we turned our backs on Jewish refugees, time has by no means absolved Canada of its guilt or lessened the weight of our shame", he said.