Ruth Gruber, an American journalist, photographer, writer and humanitarian, was at the Milton and Betty Katz JCC recently with her award- winning documentary film "Ahead of Time," which spans her career as a photojournalist and rescuer of 1,000 Jews during WWII. The special event was sponsored by the Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage, The Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and the Katz JCC.
The Katz JCC Gallery is also the venue for her photo exhibit "Photographs as Witness, 1944- 1947," which will be on display through July 10.
It was a personal relationship between Gruber and Jane Stark, executive director of the Sam Azeez Museum, a primary sponsor of the evening, which developed into the opportunity to bring Gruber and her award- winning film here.
"We have been friends for 22 years," Stark said. "I met Ruth on a media trip in Israel and we became close immediately. She has been a major influence in my adult life.
Gruber, who will celebrate her 100th birthday in September, walked down the aisle of the JCC auditorium to a standing ovation. "When I asked her why she doesn't use a wheel chair instead of a walker," Stark said, "she shrugged and made a face. ' I go for physical therapy twice a week and my Chinese doctor tells me my body is working wonderfully. If I stop what I am doing, all that would change'."
Gruber was born in Brooklyn, one of five children of Russian Jewish immigrant parents David and Gussie Gruber. She became an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist at age 24, and emerged as "the eyes and conscience of the world." She has been credited with being the first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, and also traveled to Alaska as a member of the Roosevelt administration in 1942, escorted Holocaust refugees to America in 1944, covered the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and documented the Haganah ship Exodus in 1947.
The exhibition at the JCC Gallery includes 49 photographs documenting the challenges facing refugees living in World War II displaced persons' camps in Europe and the United States.
Jewish Times May 27. 2011
L-R Ruth Gruber and Museum Executive Director Jane Stark