Scene Around

 

August 4, 2017

Ruth Gruber on assignment

In Memoriam...

Ruth Gruber, a photojournalist and author who documented Stalin's gulags, life in Nazi Germany and the plight of Jewish refugees intercepted by the British on the infamous passage of the Exodus to Palestine in 1947, died a few months ago at her home in Manhattan. She was 105. Her son, DAVID MICHAELS, confirmed her death.

Ms. Gruber called herself a witness, and in an era of barbarities and war that left countless Jews displaced and stateless, she often crossed the line from journalist to human rights advocate, reporting as well as shaping events that became the headlines and historical footnotes of the 20th century.

Over seven decades, she was a correspondent in Europe and the Middle East and wrote 19 books, mostly based on her own experiences. Acting for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, she escorted nearly 1,000 refugees from 19 Nazi-occupied nations to a safe haven in the United States on a perilous trans-Atlantic crossing in 1944. They included the only large contingent of Jews allowed into America during World War II.


As with many of her exploits, the rescue became the subject of one of her books. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. (like me) to Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe and led a remarkable life as a journalist, author, photographer and human rights advocate. "I had two tools to fight injustice," she said in 2001. "Words and images. My typewriter and my camera."

(I guess people were still using typewriters in 2001.)

A fun time...

Just a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from an old friend (not old in age!). ETHEL GOLDBERG, who used to live here and now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla. phoned that she would be in Orlando and could we get some of our old (again not old in age!) friends together for lunch? Great idea! And we did.

Ethel, whose deceased husband, Larry, was once mayor of Longwood, EVELYN COHEN, HILDE SANDS, DEBBIE KANTOR and "yours truly" met at Too Jays (where I could order matzo ball soup) and had a nice visit. (Inspite of the fact that I asked for a table with an ocean view and got a parking lot view instead.)

Kudos go to our waitress, ANDI BOSTICK, who took probably more than a dozen photos of us girls at lunch. (see photo).

Terrific Thursdays...

On Thursday, Aug. 10th, beginning at 1:30 p.m., the JCC 39ers will present "I NEED IT!" (I do?) a fun time directed by ANITA WEINTRAUB. Please RSVP to Anita at 410-272-2140.

(I need a face-lift. Is that what its about? Please let me know.)

More Terrific Thursdays...

On Aug. 17th, bring your own lunch for an interactive "Say it your way" discussion at 12:30 p.m. followed by "Yiddish can be fun" at 1:30 p.m. This takes place at the JCC, of course.

Shout-Out...

While "dining" at the Steak 'N Shake restaurant on Semoran Blvd (just south of Aloma Avenue) with many friends, our waiter, DEVIN CASEY, was just the best and most proficient. So was his manager, RICHARD BLOOM, just a wonderful guy who knows how to treat a diner... even some nutty ones like us!


One for the road...

Moshe is the owner of "SHMATTERS R US LIMITED," a hugely successful chain of upmarket menswear shops.

One day, Moshe calls in one of his staff and says, "Bernie, when you first joined the company, you started as coffee boy. Then, within 3 weeks, I promoted you to assistant to the catering manager and 3 months later you became junior buyer. I promoted you again 6 months later to chief buyer and 2 years after that you became our general manager. I've now decided to retire and after careful deliberation I've decided to give you my job as chairman and managing director of the company. What do you say about that?" 

"That's fine," says Bernie. 

"Is that all you've got to say?" asks Moshe. 

"No, you're right, I'm sorry," replies Bernie, "I should have said, 'Thank you dad, that's fine.'"

Ruth Gruber later in life

 

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