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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

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  452 Ratings  ·  63 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
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by Open Road Media (first published 1983)
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Aug 25, 2012 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 22, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  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
May 21, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was highly informational to me, as it showed a moment of compassion on the part of Franklin Roosevelt to bring 1,000 World War II refugees, mostly Jews, to a fenced camp in the U.S. It also showed the intransigence of government officials, particularly congressmen, who opposed such a merciful mission either because of isolationist tendencies or anti-Semitism. It illustrated to me how long such prejudice against refugees/foreigners has existed in the U.S. and how it blithely continues t ...more
Alan Kaplan
Sep 05, 2015 Alan Kaplan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haven recounts an amazing story of rescue and redemption. In 1944, Franklin Roosevelt agrees to allow 1000 European refugees to come to America. Ruth Gruber, the author, escorts them to Oswego, NY where an internment camp has been built for these newcomers. Before the refugees were allowed to enter the country, they all signed contracts that they would return to their home countries at the end of the war. With compassion and grace, Gruber recounts the horrifying stories of these survivors. In th ...more
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
Jan 07, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Paula Yerke
Jun 12, 2015 Paula Yerke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the true story of 1000 Refugees (mostly Jewish) accepted into the US during WW2. AFter being hand picked they were sent to a camp in New York where they were in many ways imprisoned and told they must immediately return to Europe after the war. (Things did change after much struggle!) I learned a lot about whey the U.S. accepted so few (a quota system being the political issue), the difficulties of getting into Palestine, the fact that we had so many POWs from Germany but few refugees, t ...more
Susan Unger
Jun 30, 2008 Susan Unger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well worth the read-reads like a novel and is all true.
May 14, 2014 Rannieg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2012 Hailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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

Seems like the stories from World War II, and in particular the Holocaust, are never ending, not to mention not well recorded for our American history. At least I had never heard this story, and as I was reading it, I wondered how many hundreds of thousands of stories have never been told and silenced forever.

While World War II was raging across Europe, FDR decided to invite 1000 refugees to come to the US until the war ended. He chose journalist Ruth Gruber to be in charge of bringing them
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
Norma Wright
Apr 04, 2012 Norma Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nava BT
Jun 17, 2016 Nava BT rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating account of American isolationism and antisemitism during the period of World War II. Describes the entrance of ~1000 refugees from Europe detained in Oswego, NY, recounting their journeys and their lives. A serious book and a gripping read.
Nov 17, 2011 Agnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 05, 2014 Roxanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judaica
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.
Feb 03, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carol Catinari
Feb 16, 2012 Carol Catinari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2014 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the story. It wasn't too graphic about the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Apr 30, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-2015-bir
What an amazing non-fiction historical account! Loved it, have to get more books by this lady.
Apr 21, 2014 Georgia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting story about WW II that takes place in America.
Apr 01, 2013 Virginia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Meriam Blair
Oct 22, 2015 Meriam Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
story to remember
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dec 29, 2013 Sonja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 06, 2013 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kathy Collins
Feb 02, 2016 Kathy Collins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
easy to read and very interesting. I really enjoyed it.
Jan 25, 2014 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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
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