Safe Haven PowerPoint - Camden Central School

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Safe Haven
Oswego, New York
How It All Began
Jewish Emigration from Europe
1933-1938
How It All Began
How It All Began
How It All Began
The United States Gets Involved

In December 1941, the United States was pulled
into the WWII and the horror of the Holocaust.

In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a
symbolic gesture by sending his Secretary of the
Interior, Harold Ickes and Dr. Ruth Gruber to
Italy.

Their goal was to bring back 1,000 war refugees
to the United States.
Dr. Ruth Gruber

“Mother Ruth” as the refugees call her, selected
refugees and escorted them from Naples, Italy to the
United States.

She was given a strict set of criteria for choosing the
refugees including:




Lost relatives in the Holocaust
Had family members in the United States
Had talents that could help run the American shelter
Had helped in the Allies war effort
Who were the Refugees?

A total of 982 refugees from 18 different
countries made the trip.



Males 525
Females 457
Country of Citizenship

Yugoslavia, Austria, Poland, Germany,
Czechoslovakia, Russia, Belgium, France,
Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, Spain,
Greece, Italy, Holland, and Danzig.
Who were the Refugees?

The refugees spoke the following languages


Refugees practiced the following religions


German, Italian, Yugoslavic, English, French, Polish,
Spanish, Bulgarian, and some other miscellaneous
languages.
Judaism, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and
Protestant
Before the war, they had the following occupations

Medical, merchants, artisans, bookkeepers, lawyers,
manufacturers, tailors, and rabbis.
The Trip to the United States

Before leaving Italy, all refugees had to sign a document
stating that after the war, they would return to their home
nation. They were considered “guests” of President
Roosevelt.

They were tagged as U.S. Army Casual Baggage for
identification.

The trip across the Atlantic Ocean took two weeks.

Refugees faced cramped conditions and unbearable heat, but
it was all worth it when they pulled into New York Harbor.
The Trip to the United States

Refugee Eva Kaufmann Dye remembers, "It
was very cramped quarters on the ship. It was
made for American soldiers, with bunks that
slept two and two and two, which is six
stacked on top of each other. The other half of
the ship was full of wounded soldiers. It was
beastly hot."
The Trip to the United States
Arriving in Oswego, New York

After the initial wonder and excitement of arriving in
America, the refugees faced some uncertainty. The
train ride from the city to Oswego reminded some of
the refugees of the train rides to the concentration
camps.

Upon arrival at Fort Ontario, many refugees became
nervous at the site of the barbwire fences and did not
wish to enter.

Camp director Joseph Smart convinced one refugee
to enter the camp and report back to the others what
was inside.
Entering the Camp

The Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter
was opened on Friday August 5, 1944.

This shelter was the only camp on American
soil for Holocaust refugees.

Refugees were to be quarantined
for 30 days to ensure the
public’s health.
Entering the Camp
Entering the Camp
Where was the Shelter?

The shelter was set up on the bluff overlooking Lake
Ontario. Some of the refugees referred to this place
as their “villa by the sea”.

The barracks were two stories tall with bathrooms at
the end of each hall.

They were made of wood and had no insulation.
The Barracks
Life in the Camp

Refugees were expected to work for their keep in the camp.

Everyone had a job and duties to ensure that the camp ran
smoothly and everyone’s needs were taken care of.

The government provided food and shelter, but the rest was
up to the refugees.

Teachers from the town and state college came to the Fort to
teach English to all of the refugees.
Life in the Camp

Children went to Oswego schools and spent their afternoons on the
fort grounds playing soccer and other games.

Women learned skills such as hairdressing and sewing to make needed
items for the home.

The refugees put on theater shows and put together their own
newspaper called “The Ontario Chronicle”.

Refugees were allowed to leave the camp but only for a maximum of
six hours a day and could only travel within the city limits of Oswego.

It was common for teenagers to sneak out of the fort to socialize with
local teenagers.
Life in the Camp
Life in the Camp
Life in the Camp
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt strongly
believed in extending a helping hand to
those who were persecuted. She visited
the Fort Ontario Shelter and lobbied to
Congress to allow them to stay in the
country.
What Happened When the War is
Over?

On December 22, 1945 President Harry Truman
signed an executive order allowing the refugees to
remain in the country.

In order to be granted citizenship though the refugees
had to leave the country and then return.

February of 1946, Truman granted permission for the
refugees to be bussed across the Rainbow Bridge into
Canada. Upon reentry into the U.S., Truman had the
necessary paperwork for visas and citizenship waiting
for the refugees.
What Happened When the War was
Over?

Seventy communities across the nation invited the refugees to come
live there.

Most of the refugees ended up in New York City or on the West
Coast.

About 100 refugees chose to return to their home countries in Europe.

Those that chose to stay became successful, productive members of
society- 2 went to Harvard, 1 helped develop the MRI and CAT scans,
and 1 was placed in the space program.

There were 22 babies born in the camp.
What Happened to the Camps Once the
Refugees Left?

A few months after their departure, the camp was
dismantled.

Some of the barracks were plowed into Lake
Ontario but most of it was hauled off to the junk
yard.

Some buildings still stand today in remembrance
of what use to be.
“It is a chapter of the history of the United
States. It’s a chapter in the history of
Judaism. It should be told, it should be
remembered. And it should never be
forgotten.”
-Adam Munz, Safe Haven Refugee
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