Former refugees mark 75th anniversary of the only US safe haven during

first_img By: Renee K. Gadoua Share This! News • Photos of the Week Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Catholicism As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Chaldean Christian deported by Trump administration dies in Iraq Tagsanti-Semitism asylum Fort Ontario Franklin D. Roosevelt Holocaust homepage featured Jews Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum,You may also like News Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,OSWEGO, N.Y. (RNS) — Suzanne Krauthamer Gurwitz remembers little about the 18 months she spent at the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Center in Oswego. She was 5 when she, her parents and two older brothers arrived at the former military post near Lake Ontario.“Like other children, I played,” said Gurwitz, 80, of Plainview, N.Y. “I don’t remember being unhappy.”Gurwitz was among 982 refugees at Fort Ontario, the only U.S. shelter for Europeans fleeing World War II. Of the 30 surviving refugees, 19 attended a 75th anniversary reunion on Monday (Aug, 5). The event commemorated the 1944 arrival of refugees in the small upstate New York city.Survivors and their families crowded Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum, once the shelter’s administration building, and wandered the Fort Ontario State Historic Site. More than 200 people attended a memorial under heightened security. Some guests expressed concern for their safety, an official said, citing the weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.Several former refugees and Oswego residents didn’t want to talk about those worries or about the  Trump administration’s policies barring asylum-seekers. Instead, the former refugees, surrounded by descendants and greeting old friends, were eager to talk about how they came to live at the shelter.Gurwitz, born in Paris to Polish Jews, remembers crossing the Alps and hiding in the woods before her family ended up living with nuns and priests in Rome in 1943. In June 1944, her father learned a ship would soon leave Naples, Italy, for a shelter in the United States.Deena Albert photographs her grandparents, Suzanne Krauthamer Gurwitz and Marvin Gurwitz, on Aug. 5, 2019, at the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum. The couple stands around a cutout of a photo of Suzanne’s brother, Simon, then 12, as a resident of the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Center in Oswego, N.Y. Suzanne, her parents and two brothers lived at the shelter for 18 months. Simon died in 2000. RNS photo by Renée K. GadouaBy then, the Nazis had killed about 5 million European Jews.After June 6, 1944, when Allied forces attacked German forces on France’s Normandy coast, at least 200,000 Jews remained in concentration camps or in hiding. Three days later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced a refugee camp would open in six weeks at Fort Ontario.The refugees came to the U.S. as Roosevelt’s “guests” and agreed to return to Europe after the war. President Harry S. Truman in December 1945 signed an executive order that allowed the refugees to enter the U.S. and the shelter closed in February 1946.The refugees from 18 countries shared “loss, trauma and a path that somehow got them to southern Italy,” said Rebecca Erbelding, curator and historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and author of “Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe.”U.S. immigration policies kept most Jewish refugees out of America, she said.“Isolationism, economic concerns, racism, and anti-Semitism all led most Americans to focus on domestic problems rather than international ones,” she wrote for the Holocaust museum.  “Reflecting the mood and situation of the country, State Department officers interpreted America’s restrictive immigration laws even more stringently, leaving the quotas far from filled.”Harry Frajerman, of Philadelphia, points to a picture of his parents, Icek and Helen Frajerman, while attending a reunion at Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum in Oswego, N.Y., on Aug. 5, 2019. Harry was born at Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Center on Dec. 9, 1945. After World War II, the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia sponsored his family. Harry attended the reunion with his wife, Myrna Frajerman. RNS photo by Renée K. GadouaThe refugees boarded the USS Henry Gibbins in Naples on July 21, 1944. About two weeks later, they arrived in New York Harbor, then traveled by train to Oswego.They were greeted on arrival by military police and a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire, conditions many refugees found troubling. Despite restrictions — a 30-day quarantine, curfews, passes and less than luxurious conditions in the former army barracks — the former refugees described positive experiences and friendly interactions with city residents.“It was an adventure for us,” said Simon Kalderon, a native of Bosnia-Herzegovina who was 9 when he arrived. “I never felt that I was different.”Linda Cohen’s parents, Leon and Seri Kabiljo of Yugoslavia, dreamed of living in the United States. “This camp saved their life,” she said.Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., called the refugee shelter “a beacon of sanity in a world of insanity” and pledged to push for its recognition as a national park. In October 2018, President Trump signed the Fort Ontario Study Act, a step toward that designation.Before Roosevelt created the shelter, refugees fleeing the Holocaust were sent back, said Katko.“The State Department would send these ships back over to Europe and (refugees) would go back and meet their fate,” Katko told the crowd gathered for the anniversary. “They kept sending them back. Can you imagine that happening today?”“Yeah,” and “Yes, we can,” many in the crowd of more than 200 yelled.Suzanne Gurwitz’s grandson said that the anti-Semitism and nationalism that fueled the Holocaust parallels hatred for asylum-seekers at the U.S. southern border.“This is what happened to our ancestors,” said Daniel Albert, a rabbinical student at Yeshiva University. “They closed the borders and didn’t let us in.”Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel in New York and a supporter of designating Fort Ontario a national park, said anti-Semitism is “raising its ugly head again in Europe and Latin America and, unfortunately, in this country.”“We know where this scourge of anti-Semitism can bring the human race,” Dayan said.The memorial took place near the shelter’s former barracks and dining hall. A granite monument, dedicated in 1981, marks the site. Vandals have chipped the monument’s corners and marred the word “Jewish.”Safe Haven officials have not repaired it, choosing to let the vandalism speak for itself.center_img Share This! By: Renee K. Gadoua Photos of the Week August 30, 2019 Share This! Share This! Renee K. Gadoua,Add Comment Click here to post a comment Renee K. Gadoua Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.,Curfew eased partially in Kashmir for Friday prayers Share This! By: Renee K. Gadoua Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Emaillast_img read more

Siliguri Intl Film Festival to kick off from November 19

first_imgDarjeeling: On the heels of Kolkata International Film Festival, the 19th Siliguri International Film Festival is all set to be flagged off on November 19th. The 6th Siliguri International Short and Documentary Film Festival will also form an important part of this film festival.The film festival will be inaugurated on 19th and will continue till November 26th. Around 17 films will be showcased from 9 countries including England, Switzerland, Sweden, Vietnam, Chili, Nepal and Bangladesh. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”The festival will commemorate 100 years of Bengali cinema and also mark the 100th birth anniversary of Master film maker Ingmar Bergman. There is a lot of excitement surrounding the festival,” stated Tourism Minister Gautam Deb. The festival will open with the Bengali film — Aschhe Abar Sabar. “Silence” by Bergman will also be screened. The film festival is organised by Siliguri Cine Society in association with the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, Government of West Bengal, Federation Film Societies of India (ER) and Dinabandhu Mancha Advisory Committee. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe inaugural ceremony will be held at Dinabandhu Mancha, Siliguri at 6pm on November 19. The festival will be inaugurated by filmmaker Arindam Sil. Minister Deb will be present as the Chief Guest. “The Short and Documentary Film Festival will be a part of this festival. It will be flagged off on November 13 and will continue till November 16. Around 66 short films and documentaries will be screened. This is a competitive category for Indian short films and documentaries with cash awards,” stated Pradip Nag of the Siliguri Cine Society. The short films and documentaries will be screened at Ramkinkar Hall, Siliguri. Cash prize of Rs 5000 each will be given for best short film, best documentary, best Cinematographer and best Director. Jury mentioned award will be given for non-Indian films for best film, best cinematographer and best director. Tasmiah Afrin and Sadia Khalid from Bangladesh and Sankhajit Biswas from Kolkata will be present jury members.last_img read more

Googles Chief Diversity Officer Danielle Brown resigns to join HR tech firm

first_imgIt was just a little over a week ago when Google released its diversity annual report for the year 2019. And last thursday, its chief diversity officer, Danielle Brown, who co-wrote the report with Melonie Parker, announced that she is leaving Google to join Gusto, a leading Denver and San Francisco based HR-tech firm. “I’m joining the team at Gusto…that’s on a mission to create a world where work empowers a better life. I’ll be leading the People team at a company that is all about people”, writes Brown in a LinkedIn post. Brown is being replaced by Melonie Parker, who earlier served as the Global director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Google. Brown had joined Google as the Chief Diversity Officer back in June 2017 and earlier worked at a similar profile at Intel. “Danielle has dedicated her career to helping foster humanity at work. Most recently, she served as vice president, employee engagement and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Google, where she focused on ensuring their workplace and culture were respectful, safe, and inclusive — values we hold paramount at Gusto. Danielle will be an incredible addition to the Gusto team”, said Josh Reeves, co-founder, and CEO, Gusto. Gusto serves 6 million small businesses all over the U.S. and provides small businesses with a full-service people platform. The platform provides business owners with all the features they need to build their team. Eileen Naughton, Google VP of People Operations, confirmed Brown’s departure and told TechCrunch that she’s “grateful to Danielle for her excellent work over the past two years to improve representation in Google’s workforce and ensure an inclusive culture for everyone. We wish her all the best in her new role at Gusto”. Liz Fong Jones, a former Google Engineer, who left Google earlier this year in February, tweeted in response to the news of Brown’s departure, saying that it’s not a good sign for Google. She mentioned that Brown wasn’t “always popular with execs and employees” but was a  “straight shooter”. Jones at her departure cited Google’s lack of leadership in response to the demands made by employees during the Google walkout in November 2018. She had also published a post on Medium, stating, ‘grave concerns’ related to strategic decisions made at Google and the way it ‘misused its power’. Brown hasn’t specified a reason for her departure from Google but wrote on her Linkedin post that “What if, in addition to trying to solve for employee engagement and inclusion within the biggest tech companies in the world, we tried to solve those critical needs for every local storefront, every new startup just getting off the ground, or every doctor’s office across our communities?” Google is facing a lot of controversies over its employee treatment and work culture. Just last week, over 900 Google workers signed a letter urging Google for fair rights for its contract workers, who make up nearly 54% of the workforce. Google in response rolled out mandatory benefits for its TVCs including health care, paid sick leaves, tuition reimbursement, and minimum wage among others. Brown hasn’t spoken out yet anything regarding her experience within Google and writes that she’s “thrilled to join Gusto and advance its mission. I look forward to a future where work empowers a better life for all small businesses and their teams” Audience reaction to the news is largely positive with people congratulating Brown on her new role at Gusto. Read Next Ian Goodfellow quits Google and joins Apple as a director of machine learning Google employees filed petition to remove anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant Kay Coles James from the AI Council Is Google trying to ethics-wash its decisions with its new Advanced Tech External Advisory Council?last_img read more