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Ruth Gruber at ICP
Ruth Gruber
Photojournalist
Families from Romania reunite in Haifa Port by Ruth Gruber. Source: icp.org
Ruth Gruber, "Families from Romania reunite in Haifa Port" 1951

Now almost 100 years old, Ruth Gruber is a photojournalist who was clearly ahead of her time. This long overdue exhibition, which covers a 50-year span, is testament to Gruber’s groundbreaking work as a journalist as well as her pioneering spirit, bravery and activism. It confirms that she was not only a witness to history– she also made it.

Gruber’s early accomplishments were legendary. Born in Brooklyn, she earned her doctorate at age 20 to become the world’s youngest PhD. In 1935, she became the first correspondent to gain permission to travel around the Soviet Arctic and Siberian Gulag. To complement her reporting, she took photographs to document the role of women in frontier towns and ports.

In 1944, Gruber was given a secret mission to shepherd 1,000 Jewish refugees and wounded soldiers from Italy to the U.S. on an army troop transport ship called the Henry Gibbins. She documented life on board and interviewed survivors of the Holocaust, some of whom still wore their concentration camp clothing. Once her stories and pictures were published in the U.S., German atrocities became common knowledge.

 by unidentified photographer.

Perhaps her most moving and important photographs were those she took in 1947 when the Exodus 1947, a ship packed with 4,500 Jewish refugees, was prevented from docking in Haifa by British warships. Gruber’s photo of a British flag with a swastika scrawled on it was published around the world and drew attention to the plight of the Jewish refugees. So did her haunting images of Exodus refugees being sent back to Europe aboard a prison ship, packed shoulder- to -shoulder mournfully staring up at the camera. You feel their distress.

In later years, Gruber continued to document the plight of refugees in the Middle East and North Africa. And today, with all the upheavals taking place in the region, her work provides an important perspective and a window on history.

Ruth Gruber
Photojournalist


International Center of Photography
1133 Ave of the Americas
Midtown         Map

212 857 0000
icp.org

Friday, May 20 to
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Hours: Tues - Sun, 10 to 6; Fri to 8
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery