The Golden Cage

The powerful and true story of Oswego’s Holocaust survivors during WWII.

982 refugees from the Holocaust were brought from Europe to the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter in Oswego, New York and stayed from August 1944 to February 1946. It was President Roosevelt’s only acknowledgment of the Holocaust. All refugees had agreed to return to their homelands after WWII ended, but by that time in 1945 there was nothing to go home to, or it was too dangerous to do so. They wished to remain in the United States and used various means to petition authorities to stay. One was to write an opera that told their story—life in Europe, the journey across the Atlantic, and their experiences at the Shelter in Oswego, referred to as “The Golden Cage.” All their physical needs were met, but they lacked freedom. Charles Abeles, an Austrian musician, composed the music, and Miriam Sommerburg, a German artist and author, wrote the text.

Support Provided by:

Geddes Federal Savings and Loan Association



Funding provided by a grant from Empire State Development. Supported by the Innovation Group of CNY Arts, LLC and the Empire State Development Film Office.



All archival resources, photographs, and historical holdings used in the production of “The Golden Cage” were made available with permission from the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum, in Oswego NY.


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