When Ruth Gruber saw a report during World War II that 1,000 Jewish refugees were being brought to the United States, she rushed straight to her job with the Secretary of the Interior.
“I got rid of my breakfast and rushed to the office and said, ‘I have to see the secretary.’ I told him, ‘Somebody has to go over and hold their hands; they’re going to be terrified,'” Gruber said in a 2010 interview in the Sunday Telegraph of London.
That somebody turned out to be her, and as she accompanied the refugees to the U.S., she interviewed them, which became the basis of “Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America,” one of her many books but only one part of Gruber’s long, trailblazing life. The book inspired the 2001 television miniseries “Haven,” in which the late Natasha Richardson portrayed Gruber.
The journalist and humanitarian died Thursday at her home in Manhattan, according to her editor, Philip Turner. She was 105.