Friends of Fort Ontario

Holocaust Remembrance Day Program at Old Fort Ontario

[9 January 2015] On Tuesday, January 27th at 7:00pm, Shannon Cilento will deliver an illustrated lecture on the history of the World War II post chapel – synagogue at Fort Ontario State Historic Site.  The event is free and open to the public; it will be held in the Enlisted Men’s Barracks inside the old stone fort.  Plenty of free parking will be provided.

In 1944, by Executive Order, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Fort Ontario as the only emergency refugee shelter in the United States for mostly Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Throughout the refugees’ two year internment at the fort (August 1944 to February 1946), bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings, and a celebratory service at the announcement of the end of the war were held in the chapel-synagogue.

Several years ago the United Nations General Assembly established January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day; this date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945.  Due to its unique role in World War II, Fort Ontario joins nations around the globe holding ceremonies, commemorative services, and programs in observance of this day.  Fort Ontario State Historic Site is located at the north end of East 4th Street in the City of Oswego, New York.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Fort Ontario at 315-343-4711 or email