Friday, November 23, 2012

Randolph to host producers of documentary about WW-II journalist who helped Holocaust refugees escape to America

By Tory Brown ’13
College Relations Intern
Randolph College will screen the documentary, “Ahead of Time” Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.  in Room 300 in Smith Memorial Building. Directed by Bob Richman, the documentary follows the journey of Ruth Gruber, a foreign correspondent and photojournalist whose trailblazing career made history. The film’s producers, Patti Kenner and Ida Cole, will be on hand for the free event.

A lifelong writer, journalist, photojournalist, and humanitarian, Gruber has written 19 books and recently accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Overseas Press Club. Her book, Haven, which told the story of escorting Holocaust refugees to America, was made into a television mini-series starring Natasha Richardson in 2001.

“Ahead of Time” is a feature-length documentary film focusing on the life of Gruber. who was born in 1911 to Russian Jewish immigrants. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Gruber attended New York University at the age of 15. At 20, she became the world’s youngest Ph.D. A feminist before feminism, Gruber became the first journalist to enter the Soviet Artic in 1935.  She traveled to Alaska as a member of the Roosevelt administration in 1941, where she was the first civilian on the Alaska Highway.

Ruth’s unique perspective of the events surrounding WWII is a result of her involvement in many of those historical moments. She was chosen by the Roosevelt administration to escort 1,000 Holocaust refugees from Naples to New York in a secret wartime mission in 1944. As a journalist, she accompanied leaders to the Middle East where they studied the problems of displaced persons and Palestine. Gruber covered the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and her photos of the ship Exodus 1947 were published in Life Magazine and around the world.

With her love of adventure, fearlessness and powerful intellect, Gruber defied tradition and in the process, emerged as the eyes and conscience of the world. Today, she still has the moxie and sharp wit that propelled her career, and the film interweaves vérité footage with interviews and archival material.

“Ahead of Time” has won multiple Best Documentary awards from many different film festivals. Additional screenings of “Ahead of Time” will take place on Dec. 1 at Lynchburg College at 12:30 p.m. in the Hopwood Auditorium and The Agudath Sholom Synagogue at 7:30 p.m.