Ruth Gruber didn’t just record history, she made history as the youngest-ever PhD, an honorary general, and the reporter who covered the famed voyage of the Exodus 1947. Gruber graduated from NYU at eighteen and travelled to Cologne, Germany to study German philosophy and English literature, witnessing Hitler’s rise to power while becoming the youngest PhD in the world at age twenty. Working for the Herald Tribune, she became the first foreign correspondent allowed to travel to the Soviet Arctic, studying conditions in Stalin’s gulags. In 1944, the US government gave her a general’s rank to avoid being killed as a spy while escorting European refugees to America. Gruber was deeply moved by the stories of the refugees and recorded them in her book Haven. She continued documenting Jewish stories in the years leading up to Israel’s independence, visiting concentration camps and DP camps, and profiling David Ben-Gurion and other Israeli leaders for American readers. She was chosen as the American correspondent to cover the unfolding crisis of the Exodus 1947, and her book became the basis for Leon Uris’s novel and the award-winning movie. In 1985, she helped rescue Ethiopian Jews, again recording their stories with her accustomed courage and powerful prose.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Gruber." (Viewed on May 14, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/gruber-ruth>.