K627

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter in Oswego, New York

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K627



Assembly Resolution No. 627

BY: M. of A. Barclay

COMMEMORATING the 75th Anniversary of the Fort
Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter in Oswego, New
York

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to recognize the
efforts of those organizations that seek to illuminate historical time
periods, places and events within the State of New York and, in so
doing, help to ensure that the complete history of our State and Nation
is preserved, to be shared with present and future generations of
citizens; and

WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its
long-standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to
commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee
Shelter in Oswego, New York; and

WHEREAS, On Monday, August 5, 2019, the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee
Shelter Museum, Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Friends of Fort
Ontario and the greater community will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of
the arrival of the 982 World War II refugees who came to Oswego and were
given shelter at Fort Ontario; and

WHEREAS, Attending the 75th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony will
be former refugees of the Holocaust, their families, religious leaders,
Jewish groups, historians, public officials, U.S. Holocaust Memorial
Museum Curator and Historian Rebecca Erbelding, Safe Haven Holocaust
Refugee Shelter Museum President Kevin Hill, and others; and

WHEREAS, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his proposal to
create an emergency shelter at Fort Ontario for victims of the Holocaust
and war refugees on June 12, 1944; this was the first and only refugee
center established in the United States during World War II; and

WHEREAS, To carry out President Franklin D. Roosevelt's order,
Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, sent Special Assistant Ruth
Gruber to Italy to bring back war refugees to the United States; it took
over two weeks to cross the rough Atlantic Ocean, however, according to
documented accounts from the refugees, the hardship of the journey was
well worth the wait when the refugees first caught glimpse of the Statue
of Liberty; and

WHEREAS, In the early morning of August 5, 1944, the 982 men, women
and children from war torn Europe arrived at Fort Ontario in Oswego; and

WHEREAS, The 982 refugees were from 18 different countries in
Central Europe that were liberated from the Nazis; most of the refugees
were Jewish and priority was given to those refugees who were in
concentration camps and had escaped or who lost relatives in the
Holocaust; and

WHEREAS, 'Fort Ontario is where the Holocaust came to America' and
where Americans first encountered the persecution and horrors of the
Nazis through the victim's eyes; and


WHEREAS, Due to their undefined immigration status, refugees were
not allowed to leave Fort Ontario, however, the Oswego Community
welcomed these guests; over time, children were allowed to attend
schools and the refugees were permitted daily access into the City of
Oswego; and

WHEREAS, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the refugees at the
Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter on September 20, 1944; and

WHEREAS, Advocates for the refugees at Fort Ontario Emergency
Refugee Center petitioned Congress and the President to grant the
refugees immigration status; their persistence paid off as President
Harry Truman signed an Executive Order allowing the refugees to remain
in the country; and

WHEREAS, In January and February of 1946, the refugees made the
historic trip across to Canada and back into the United States to
receive their immigration visas; and

WHEREAS, The stories of these 982 men, women and children is a story
of tragedy, suffering and the will of the human spirit; it is an
important piece of our history that should be retold for generations to
come and never forgotten; and

WHEREAS, In 1989, the Save Haven, Inc. was founded with the mission
of honoring and keeping alive the story of these brave 982 refugees who
survived the terror of the Nazi reign during World War II; on October 6,
2002, the Safe Haven Museum and Education Center was dedicated in the
former Administration Building for the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee
Center; and

WHEREAS, The quality and character of our great Empire State is
greatly enhanced by institutions that engage communities in the
exploration of New York's history and culture, instilling in them a deep
appreciation for the richness and breadth of our cultural heritage; and

WHEREAS, This Legislative Body is pleased to have this opportunity
to express its highest admiration for the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee
Shelter Museum, Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Friends of Fort
Ontario and for all of the individuals who have worked to bring proper
attention to a place and time which merits recognition in the grand
panorama of the history of our State and Nation; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee
Shelter in Oswego, New York; and be it further

RESOLVED, That copies of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum, Fort
Ontario State Historic Site, and Friends of Fort Ontario.

actions

  • 18 / Jun / 2019
    • INTRODUCED
  • 19 / Jun / 2019
    • ADOPTED

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative

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