Monday, September 27, 2010

Ruth Gruber, Journalist Who Captured The Exodus on Film to Celebrate 99th Birthday at Brooklyn Heights Cinema

Did you know that when Otto Preminger found out that much of Leon Uris' book EXODUS was based on Ruth Gruber's EXODUS 1947, he told Ruth he could have saved money had he not bought the rights to the Uris story. He said he wanted to do something for her. She thought, "maybe a screen credit?," but all she got were two tickets to see the film! In 2008 she was invited to Israel to speak about Preminger when the studio donated a print of the film to the Jerusalem Cinematheque's archive. The AHEAD OF TIME crew followed her there to capture Ruth's visit to the Captain of the ship Exodus on film. He was 23 years old at the time. When they reunited, he marveled that she was 11 years older than he and that 60 years had not changed their stance on the events of that time. Yithak Aharonovitch passed away in Israel in December of 2009 at the age of 86. Ruth took the famous photos of the Exodus trying to come into port in Palestine where it was thwarted by the British, including the one depicting the Union Jack with a swastika painted on it. Her photos were nearly confiscated, but she wouldn't give them up. Ruth's editor at the Herald Tribute decided to put them out over the AP (Associated Press), saying the photos belonged to the world. Her interviews with the refugees on the ship (many of them Holocaust survivors) gave the situation a human face. Ruth's photos were influential in shaping world opinion and Ruth found herself involved in the creation of the Jewish state of Israel. She ended up escorting 1000 survivors to safety on another ship, The Henry Gibbons as part of a US mission. On that ship was 5-year old Doris Schecter who is one of the executive producers of the film AHEAD OF TIME. Ruth's book EXODUS 1947, which exposed some unpleasant facts about the British, was finally published in the UK in 2007! Learn more about Ruth in the documentary AHEAD OF TIME. She will be speaking live at a cinema in her hometown (Brooklyn, NY) on Thursday, September 30, 2010 (which happens to be her 99th birthday!) after the 7:30 PM screening of AHEAD OF TIME. Many of Ruth's photos can be seen at this link to the Jewish Virtual Library.