Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber


“I am experiencing that feeling of zest which goes with exploration. I am in the thick of an historic moment. I am in an era in the making…” - First lines of Ruth Gruber’s initial dispatch from the Soviet Arctic, 1935

Born in Brooklyn in 1911, Ruth Gruber became the youngest Ph.D. in the world before going on to become an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist at age 24. She emerged as the eyes and conscience of the world. With her love of adventure, fearlessness and powerful intellect, Ruth defied tradition in an extraordinary career that spanned more than seven decades.

The first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, Ruth also traveled to Alaska as a member of the Roosevelt administration in 1942, escorted Holocaust refugees to America in 1944, covered the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and documented the Haganah ship Exodus in 1947. Her relationships with world leaders including Eleanor Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, and David Ben Gurion gave her unique access and insight into the modern history of the Jewish people.

Through her own words and images, the film follows Ruth Gruber’s incredible journey as a student, a reporter, an activist leader and a prolific author. The film captures the drama of her life as she lent her camera lens – and her heart – to refugees of war. Ruth continues to travel all over the world re-connecting with many of the people who shared historic moments with her in Europe, in Israel, in the Arctic Tundra, in DP camps and refugee centers overseas and in the United States.

Ruth is an inspiration not only for her ground-breaking career, but for her vitality at 97 years old. We have filmed her all over the world re-connecting with many people who shared historic moments with her.

Film website: www.ruthgruberthemovie.com

About the Filmmakers


Bob Richman is an award winning documentary cinematographer and Director of Photography. His credits include Academy Award winner, An Inconvenient Truth, and Academy Award nominee, My Architect. His most recent documentary project will premiere at Sundance 2009. He was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy for Paradise Lost.


Sabine Krayenbuehl is an award winning documentary film editor. She was nominated by the American Cinema Editors for an Eddie Award for My Architect. Her other documentary projects include Mad Hot Ballroom and The Bridge. Her most recent project Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in Fall 2008.


Zeva Oelbaum is an award winning documentary producer. She wrote, directed and produced the trailer for the Ruth Gruber film project. She was Executive Producer of Rene and I, which premiered at the Walter Reade Theater in New York and was broadcast on NBC.

Rene and I won a series of international awards including Special Jury Mention at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Zeva teaches photography at the International Center of Photography, and her photographs are represented by Hirschl & Adler Modern.


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