New York State Parks, Friends of Fort Ontario, and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum will be hosting a program of events to commemorate the August 5, 1944 arrival of the nearly 1,000 European refugees of the Holocaust at Fort Ontario in Oswego, NY. The Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter was the only shelter for victims of the Holocaust located in the United States during World War II. Fort Ontario was where the Holocaust came to America, and where the American public and press first encountered victims of Nazi persecution and their personal stories of survival, resulting in stories of the Holocaust moving from the back to the front pages of newspapers across the country.
Schedule of Events
8:15 a.m. – Bus departs for private commemoration ceremonies at cemeteries where refugees who died at the shelter are buried: Ahavath Achim Cemetery in Jamesville, Riverside Cemetery and St. Paul’s Cemetery in Oswego. Open only to officials, former refugees and their families, and invited press/guests. Reservation are Required.
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Free admission to the Safe Haven Museum and Fort Ontario, including self-guide tours of refugee sites. Open to the public.
1:00 p.m. – Boxed lunch at the overlook near the Na’Amat Refugee Memorial Monument at Fort Ontario. Open only to officials, former refugees and their families, members of Safe Haven and Friends of Fort Ontario. Reservations are required.
2:00 p.m. – Main Commemoration Program at Refugee Memorial Monument at Fort Ontario. Open to the public.
6:00 p.m. – Refugee Reunion Dinner with guest speakers at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego, NY. Open to the public. Reservations are required.