Congregation Havurah Shalom, Georgetown Public Library Mark Yom HaShoah with  Ruth Gruber Film Screening, Guest Speaker

Congregation Havurah Shalom, Georgetown Public Library Mark Yom HaShoah with Ruth Gruber Film Screening, Guest Speaker

Image courtesy of Congregation Havurah Shalom.

By Ellen Silverman

In observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the award-winning documentary “Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber” will be shown at the Georgetown Public library Sunday May 5, at 2 p.m.

Patti Kenner, the film's executive producer, will introduce the film and conduct a Q&A following the showing.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1911, Ruth Gruber at age 20 became the youngest person to earn a Ph.D. in the world before going on to become an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist at age 24.

During World War II, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes appointed Gruber as his special assistant. In 1944, she was assigned a secret mission to Europe to bring one thousand Jewish refugees and wounded American soldiers from Italy to the United States. Ickes made her "a simulated general" so in case the military aircraft she flew in was shot down and she was caught by the Nazis, she would be kept alive according to the Geneva Convention. Throughout the voyage, the Army troop transport Henry Gibbins was hunted by Nazi sea planes and U-boats.

Aside from this secret mission, which she documented in her book, “Haven,” Gruber’s trailblazing career included becoming the first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, covering the Nuremberg trials in 1946, and documenting the ordeal of the refugees aboard the ship Exodus in 1947 with photographs that helped change the world.

She authored 18 books and received many awards for her writing and humanitarian acts, including the Na'amat Golda Meir Human Rights Award and awards from the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance.

On October 21, 2008, Gruber was honored for her work defending free expression by the National Coalition Against Censorship. In 2016, an exhibit of her photographs, "Ruth Gruber: Photojournalist," was on display at the Oregon Jewish Museum in Portland.

She died at the age of 105 in November 2016.

The film is presented by Congregation Havurah Shalom of Sun City in cooperation with the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. 8th Street, Georgetown. Admission is free; refreshments will be served. ■

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