Fort Ontario in Oswego was originally built by the English during the French and Indian War; it served as various military posts for over a century. During World War II, Fort Ontario became known as the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter, also known as "Safe Haven," a home to almost 1,000 Jewish refugees escaping persecution from Nazism in war-torn Europe. It was the only government-funded shelter for Jewish refugees in the United States. The shelter was established by a directive from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After the war, there were concerns about allowing the refugees citizenship. They were ultimately granted citizenship and allowed to leave the camp in 1946.
Scope of Collection
Photographs and documents relating to the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter or Safe Haven. Documents include camp newsletters and articles about the Refugee Shelter. The newsletters describe the events and daily life at the camp. Photographs depict the refugees at the camp, many are of children.