For the A to Z blogging challenge I’ve decided to blog about the 1940′s. And in the spirit of the 1940′s, at the end of the month, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of one of my favorite books, Summer at Tiffany, to one of my newsletter subscribers (sign-up on the sidebar if you are so inclined.) It’s a light-hearted memoir of two college girls let loose in New York City for a summer. What a hoot
During most of WWII the United States barred large groups of refugees from entering the country. It wasn’t until the summer of 1944 when the war was nearing the end, that a “Safe Haven” was allowed at Fort Ontario in Oswago, New York. Only about a thousand refugees were chosen in Italy, most of them of Jewish descent, to make the special trip over. So few, when so many were in need.
They were housed at the empty fort, kept behind a barb-wire topped fence. Their status was a strange one–guests without Visas, not allowed to work or leave the area. At the end of the war, many of them were finally allowed to apply for immigrant status. Of those who stayed, many left their mark on America in amazing ways. You can read more about them in the book Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America by Ruth Gruber. She was the one tasked with the job of sailing with the refugees and helping them make the transition to the shelter. Fascinating piece of history.