"Words and images are my tools for fighting injustice."
The world's youngest Ph.D. at 20 when she returned home from Germany in 1932, Ruth Gruber earned her doctorate as an IIE grantee. The multilingual Gruber became a foreign correspondent and photojournalist, and traveled around the world covering stories of rescue and survival. She was the first foreign journalist to report from the Soviet Arctic, interviewing prisoners in Stalin's Gulag. In 1944, while Holocaust raged, Gruber was sent to Europe at President Roosevelt's request, to bring 1,000 refugees from war-torn Italy to haven in Oswego, New York as part of a top-secret U.S. government rescue. With her knowledge of Europe and its languages, Gruber was well equipped for the daring journey, and successfully lobbied Congress and President Truman on the refugees' behalf for their right to remain in America after the war.
Among those she saved were Dr. Alex Margulies, who helped develop the CAT-scan and the MRI, and Karl and Recha Kaufman, the uncle and aunt of IIE's longtime Chairman of the Board, Henry Kaufman. Three years later, Gruber was the only journalist allowed to cover the voyage of 4,500 Jewish refugees on the "Exodus 1947." Her exclusive photographs and interviews later became part of the Oscar-winning documentary "The Long Way Home." Gruber has written 17 books, acted as a guardian for Korean orphans coming to the United States, and inspired a four-hour CBS miniseries called "Haven." Gruber currently lives in New York City, speaks to audiences all over the world, and remains a symbol of hope for all refugees.
See more stories