restricted access In Memoriam: Ruth Gruber
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In Memoriam:
Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber, renowned photojournalist, author, and activist, died at the age of 105 on November 17, 2016. She was born in Brooklyn in 1911 to Jewish immigrant parents and proved an extremely gifted student, earning her doctorate by the age of 20.

While studying at the University of Cologne, Gruber witnessed the rise of Hitler and growing antisemitism throughout Germany. As a New York Herald Tribune correspondent in the 1930s, she reported from Siberia and the Soviet Arctic. She later reported on the Nuremberg war-crimes trials and documented the British interception of the SS Exodus 1947 in Palestine; the ship's Jewish refugee passengers were subsequently sent back to displaced persons camps in Germany.

Gruber was best known for her role in helping 1,000 Jewish refugees gain temporary admission to the United States in accordance with a decision by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They were kept in a camp in Oswego, NY. Gruber successfully lobbied for them to stay in the country and wrote a book about their experience.

Among her numerous publications are Destination Palestine: The Story of the Haganah Ship Exodus 1947 (1948); I Went to the Soviet Arctic (1939); Rescue: The Exodus of the Ethiopian Jews (1987); They Came to Stay (1976); and her memoir, Inside of Time (2003). In 1979 her biography, Raquela: A Woman of Israel (1978) received the National Jewish Book Award for Best Book on Israel.

For her work, Gruber received many humanitarian awards, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Medal of Valor (1997) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (1998). Gruber was also the subject of several documentaries, including Ahead of Time (2010) and Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America (2001). [End Page 185]