OSWEGO, N.Y. –The Oswego community celebrated the reopening of the Safe Haven Holocaust Museum on October 9.
The museum has been awarded a $100,000 grant secured by state senator Patty Ritchie (R). Her support for the museum, along with a grant from the Oswego County Foundation Committee, allowed the extraordinary opportunity to update and redesign the museum into 32 technologically sophisticated, interactive exhibits that tell the incredible story of the Fort Ontario refugees.
During the event, speakers, state and local officials, and the public commemorated the inspiring journeys of 982 refugees that arrived in Oswego in 1944.
The Safe Haven Museum’s president Audrey Hurley started the ceremony by remembering her family roots as a Jewish girl from Brooklyn. She honored the refugees and their braveness to escape the holocaust.
“Survivors who were able to become mothers and fathers and who could get to be the cherished grandparents of grandchildren who adore them,’’ Aurley said.
Oswego’s Mayor Billy Barlow showed his respect to the brave refugees for their resilience and courage.
“Safe Haven is such an important part of the history and the fabric of the community here in Oswego, being the only place in the United States of America to actually taken Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust during World War II… It is just a continuation of highlighting the museum and how special it is, you know it is important to always keep a museum fresh… so it is a great tool to attract more people to recognize the museum,” Barlow said.
One effort that was introduced during the event, is the proposal to establish the National Park status to the grounds of Fort Ontario. This idea is supported by Congressman John Katko (R-NY), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).
One of the highlights of the event was the participation of Paulin Bates’ family that brought a little book known as the ‘’Posie book’’ of children’s poems and autographs including a poem written and signed by classmate Anne Frank.
’’She always wanted the story about Anne Frank to be available… My mom loved that book… She gave stories and talks about this connection and her memory of Anne Frank… But also about living in an occupied country during World War II,’’ Bates said.
The museum is now open to the public Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. located at 2 East 7th Street, Oswego, NY. For more information about the museum, visit the website here.