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About Safe Haven

Emergency Refugee Shelter at Fort Ontario In August of 1944, 982 refugees from war-torn Europe were placed in an internment camp at Fort Ontario to await the outcome of the Second World War. The majority of these refugees were Jewish and had recently been liberated from the persecutions of Nazism in central Europe. The Emergency Refugee Shelter at Fort Ontario was established by a directive from President Franklin Roosevelt. Their stay in Oswego was to become an emotional event for the community of Oswego and a political conundrum for the nation. It was not until January of 1946 that the gates of the War Refugee Center were opened and the refugees allowed to become truly free. The following information related to Safe Haven is available from Penfield Library:

  • Oral Histories - audio and transcripts from 1984 interviews
  • Emergency Refugee Shelter at Fort Ontario (Safe Haven) bibliography
  • Safe Haven 50th Anniversary Reunion Video Collection
  • Haven: the unknown story of 1000 World War II refugees - book by Ruth Gruber
  • Safe Haven: A Story of Hope - DVD of selected oral histories videotaped by Vince Doody
  • Ahead of time: the extraordinary journey of Ruth Gruber- DVD

Additional information is available from:

If you would like to learn more, please contact Special Collection, Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego at archives@oswego.edu.