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Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America
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Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  317 ratings  ·  52 reviews
The powerful story of a top-secret mission to rescue one thousand European refugees in the midst of the Second World War

In 1943, nearly one thousand European refugees from eighteen different countries set out on a journey for asylum in the United States. Accompanying them was Ruth Gruber, who with the backing of the United States government, was made a simulated General to
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ebook, 352 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by Open Road Media (first published 1983)
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Bethany
Wow, just wow.
I have never cried so much in reading a book, but I loved reading it. Ruth Gruber (author) seems to be one amazing, incredible woman. The title had me believe that it would be personal stories of some of the refugees and their struggle on seeking freedom in the states. That wasn't QUITE the case. It was only 1,000 that the US govt was willing to take on (and specifically chosen individuals) - and even then, when the refugees finally made it to the states - they weren't "free". I h
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Barbara
This is a another book assigned for my bat mitzvah. It was written by the journalist assigned by the Secretary of the Interior during the Roosevelt administration to accompany the first 1,000 refugees from Hitler's decimation of Europe from Italy to the United States. I was horrified to learn that these were the first allowed in to the US -- in 1944! -- and were kept at Camp Oswego in NY state before a series of congressional acts freed them. Anti-Semitism was - and still is - rampant. I found m ...more
Barbara
Aug 22, 2009 Barbara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ROSE, SUSAN, MARIA
This book documents the trials and the lives of refugees from the Holocaust in Europe.When no one else would help, they were given sanctuary at the Fort Ontario Emergency Refuge Center in Oswego, New York. This was the only shelter of its kind in the U.S. I have visited this site, which is now a museum and education center. It is small, but impressive, located in the beautiful countryside in N.Y. state. The story of their passage in the dangerous Atlantic and the efforts by Ruth Gruber are descr ...more
rameau
I thought I'd be reading the tales of a select few of a thousand stories, instead, I only read one.

This isn't as much a story of the 982 Jews fleeing from Europe and Nazi terror to be President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's guests in the United States as it's a story of a young woman making the trip with them and acting as their guide to their new life and home.

Haven and its thousand refugees are only the frame that holds the picture of Ruth Gruber facing her life-altering moment as she learns the
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Denise
This is the story of a small group of Europeans rescued in 1944 from Europe and given haven in the US by President Roosevelt. The writer is a Jewish American journalist who was working for the Department of the Interior and spent much of her time coordinating the project and documenting the experiences of the refugees. She becomes more than just an objective documentation collector but comes to represent to those living on the former Army base at Oswego as a sort of guardian angel and problem so ...more
Susan Unger
Well worth the read-reads like a novel and is all true.
Rannieg
Excellent. Unbelievable account of the selection and ultimate sea voyage to freedom of a mere thousand victims of Hitler during WWII. Infuriating and eye-opening account of U.S. passivity toward the Jewish genocide occurring in Europe and FDR's bias against assistance. Written by the woman appointed by the State Department to travel abroad, hand pick, and accompany the refugees to the U.S.. Objective, historical, educational, and ultimately uplifting. A true testament to the resilience of the hu ...more
Hailey
“One thousand refugees.” America was shocked when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced that 1,000 refugees would be brought from Italy to the US. The story takes place in the spring of 1944, in the middle of World War II. For years European refugees have been told that they were unable to enter America and that the quotas were completely filled, which lead to millions of people suffering until death. There was suddenly a hint of hope in saving the refugees, and finally the actions of A ...more
manatee
This is a very moving and wonderful book. It is filled with stories of cruelty and heartbreak and stories of survival and hope.

It also puts things in perspective. It is very easy for us to forget that there were many isolationists during the WWII era that enacted and upheld immigration quotas to limit the number of Jews and Europeans that could come to the US. These quotas amounted to a death sentence for many Jews and others fleeing from Hitler.

Ruth Gruber reminds us of this fact in this very
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Norma Wright
I absolutely loved this book. Haven is the true story of Ruth Gruber who brought a boatload of 1000 refugees to the United States during Hitler's Nazi reign of terror in Europe. Ruth's love and concern for these refugees grew to include all refugees of the Nazis. She became their mother, their mentor, their savior. Her compassion and understanding of all people was incredible to see. Unfortunately America and other countries not under Nazi oppression were not as compassionate as Ruth and her bos ...more
Agnes
Another unbelievable episode in our country's untold/forgotten history.

I didn't realize the quota system was so strong during the war (WWII) as this brings to life. To think that millions of people - Jew, Catholic, gypsy, etc - were in harm's way but couldn't get to safety in US or Palestine blows my mind. Yet boats full of POWs were brought here! How many of them were returned to Europe. I wonder? Ruth Gruber writes an excellent story , easy to read without pathos, but with spirit, on the part
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Roxanne
Did not live up to its promise. It lacked depth in examining the author's experience, and lacked breadth in examining the historical event. Rather dry diary of what Ruth Graber heard, said and did without much insight or context.
Sara
I was born in Oswego and spent my entire childhood in Oswego County. I was shocked when I learned (just this year) of the refugee camp housed at Fort Ontario during WWII. How is it possible that such a HUGE event could have occurred not ten miles from my hometown without my ever being told about it? It was my understanding that the US closed its doors to refugees, especially Jewish refugees during the war.
That being said, this was a phenomenal book, one that I am thrilled to have discovered. Whi
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Carol Catinari
An excellent book. Non-fiction, the story of 1000 survivors of concentration camps who were brought to the U.S. as a holding place until the end of the war when they were to be sent back. Ruth Gruber is the assistant to Harold Ickes (Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior) and was instrumental in the advocacy, planning and shepherding these persons to Camp Oswega in New York State. The book is a personal memory of the political feat of getting the U.S. to accept them in the first place, and to re ...more
Becky
I enjoyed the story. It wasn't too graphic about the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Georgia
Very interesting story about WW II that takes place in America.
Virginia
This book is filled with very moving accounts of refugees, not limited to Jewish but also Christian and other religions, all who had endured harrowing atrocities. Accounts of government policies are woven throughout the book, as well as some personal perspective and background of the author. However, this information is pertinent in understanding the entire book. As an added bonus, the book does not stop with the personal case histories of the refugees who came to America but continues into the ...more
Sonja
Great story! I learned so much through reading this book. And the writer is such an amazing woman - all the things she accomplished and all the hard work she did for so many people. So smart and able to do all the right things in helping the 982 refugees who came to America during WW II. She gives us so much history that I sure didn't know before. I looked her up on Wikipedia and she is still alive today (Dec 29th, 2013) at 102 years old! She was truly placed on this earth for a reason!
Cherie Noël
Interesting subject, I had never heard of the refugee camp at Oswego before. The story gave some insight into the politics behind maintaining the camp as well as the stories of the refugees themselves. I would have been more interesting in learning about the stories of the refugees themselves, though.
Debbie
This was eye opening. I have read a great deal about World War II in regards to Hitler's Holocaust but I never realized to what extent the US government had turned its head away from reality. This is the account of how we finally allowed 1000 persecuted Jews into our country in order to save their lives and their struggle to be able to remain here when the war ended.
The journalist who fought for and accompanied the survivors through this journey is the author.
Ellen
Fascinating piece of history that I really didn't know anything about. Then, imagine my surprise when I was reading the list of names of refugees and "where they are now" and I knew one of them! Never knew she'd been through all this. Well written, easy read and interesting.
Karen
Although the book was filled with more names and details than I would have liked--I'm so into the stories--still it is what one would have to expect out of a non-fiction book. It was so interesting because I had never heard of the refugee camp in New York state. Ruth Gruber made the plight of even these "saved" refugees so real. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the times of the WWII era.
Diane Lybbert
Heroic and heartbreaking true story of FDR's program to allow 1,000 refugees to escape Europe and Nazi persecution during WWII. They are brought to the US and set up in a camp which had been a military base. Their stories of death camps, hardship, loss, and in the midst of that the courage and humor, all captured by Ruth Gruber, who had been sent to accompany them to the US and help them assimilate. Wonderful.
Jodi
The story of Ruth Gruber escorting 1000 refugees from Europe to America in the last throes of WWII. The personal stories of survival of man of the refugees are compelling and devastating, but the book drags on with the slow grinding wheels of government as the State dept, Interior, Justice, and Congress all argue of the legal status of the people who have no home or family to return to.
Trebledb
A wonderful book of a critical time in history both in the United States and Europe.
Ruth Gruber emerges as a dogged heroine in her role as advocate for the refugees from
the Nazi holocast. A realistic and disturbing view of the isolationist attitudes within the US government at the highest level, even when faced with indisputable evidence of mass exterminations
throughout Europe.
Catherine
The book started out slowly, but once she left for Europe and then boarded the ship, I became more engaged. Even though there were almost 1,000 individual stories to condense down into a cohesive, interesting story, Gruber manages to move along at a good pace and she did a nice job of depicting the refugees’ stories. An important documentation of history.
Diane
An amazing story! I was not aware of the attitudes of people in the US government about helping the survivors of concentration camps. It seems so strange now that these attitudes existed and formed the policies that were used to deal with these refugees. I now want to go to Oswego and see this place and the museum that is there.
Tammy
I did not know about this piece of American history. I loved learning about many of the different refugees and how their experience affected and impacted Ruth's personal story. I also like how she went back years latter and documented where they were and what professions they had taken. What an amazing group of survivors.
Janice
Ruth Gruber did an outstanding job sharing the history of the near 1000 European refugees invited to the US to wait out the end of World War II in Oswego, New York. Their sagas of survival are heroic and heart wrenching. World history that must be shared.
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Ruth Gruber is an award-winning Jewish American journalist, photographer, and humanitarian. Born in Brooklyn in 1911, she became the youngest PhD in the world and went on to author nineteen books, including the National Jewish Book Award–winning biography Raquela (1978). She also wrote several memoirs documenting her astonishing experiences, among them Ahead of Time (1991), Inside of Time (2002), ...more
More about Ruth Gruber...
Raquela Ahead of Time: My Early Years as a Foreign Correspondent Witness: One of the Great Correspondents of the Twentieth Century Tells Her Story Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched a Nation

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