© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fort Ontario hosts Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day

SUNY Oswego student and Fort Ontario inter, Charles Boivin, speaks to community members during a Yom HaShoah event, April 18.
Abby Connolly
SUNY Oswego student and Fort Ontario intern, Charles Boivin, speaks to community members during a Yom HaShoah event, April 18.

Yom HoShoah is internationally recognized as a day of Holocaust Remembrance. Six candles were lit during Fort Ontario’s Yom HaShoah program Tuesday, standing as a reminder of the 6 million Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust.

Oswego’s Fort Ontario played a unique role during World War II, acting as the only safe haven for Holocaust Refugees in the United States. The refugee center saw 1,000 Holocaust refugees during its operation, many of whom ended up remaining in the United States. SUNY Oswego student and Fort Ontario Intern, Charles Boivin, who organized the event says it is necessary to remember this day to prevent future tragedies from occurring.

“It’s important that we celebrate days like these, well not celebrate but remember days like these so that something like the Shoah, the Holocaust, can never happen again,” Boivin said.

Per the tradition of sharing the stories of survivors, and those who experienced the Holocaust firsthand, biographies of some Fort Ontario Holocaust Refugee Center refugees were read during the event. Oswego resident Jonathan Lustman attended the event to share the story of his grandfather who was a Holocaust survivor. Lustman says sharing the stories of ancestors is one way to claim his heritage.

“It is a claim to say we are here and we are here to stay,” Lustman said.

Lustman says being able to attend the event allows him to reflect on his own life and remember the perseverance of those who survived.

“Given, you know, the opportunity to still have our lives, we must use it and flesh out its meaning to the fullest and make something of ourselves and push forward no matter what,” Lustman said.

The event concluded with two minutes of silence to honor those who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.