World War II

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Oswego's Safe Haven Museum is marking 70 years since Fort Ontario served as a camp for Jewish refugees fleeing Europe during World War II. To celebrate the event, one Oswego resident who lived near the fort at the time talked about what it was like and tells the story of her long-lost friendship with one refugee.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Beginning Thursday, the Safe Haven Museum in Oswego is celebrating the 70th anniversary of when 982 Jewish refugees were first housed at Fort Ontario.

In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt allowed 1,000 Jewish refugees to enter the United States as guests, and they lived at the decommissioned Fort Ontario base in Oswego until 1946, when they were allowed to stay as American citizens or return home. The refugee camp, known as "Safe Haven," was the only location of its kind in the U.S.

Seventy years ago, nearly 1,000 European refugees came to Oswego to escape the Holocaust during World War II. Now the city's Safe Haven Museum is collecting and cataloging stories from those living in the city at the time, for what it calls the "Neighbors Project." The refugees, many of them Jewish, were housed at Fort Ontario from 1944 until 1946. The camp was the only one of its kind in the United States.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) awarded a World War II veteran the Purple Heart on Saturday. Staff Sergeant Richard Faulkner turned down the award 70 years ago, but recently had a change of heart.

When 89-year-old Richard Faulkner was 18, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a ball turret gunner. In March of 1944, he was wounded after parachuting out of an airplane that crashed in France. Faulkner says it was the scariest time of his life, he spent 29 days behind enemy lines. He was awarded the Purple Heart, but he turned it down.