The book “Haven: The Dramatic Story Of 1,000 World War II Refugees And How They Came To America,” tells the story of a photojournalist who assisted refugees from different countries to reach Oswego, New York from Italy in the year 1944.
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The photojournalist, Ruth Gruber had been chosen by Harold Ickes the Secretary of the interior to be his special assistant but the “top-secret mission” objected this appointment doubting her qualifications (Gruber 4). In her line of duty, Gruber met the survivors of the war who narrated their sad stories of hiding in forests and sewers as well as risking their own lives so as to save others.
She “became the refugees’ guardian angel” and this is how she started helping the refugees get to America (Gruber 6). This paper will analyze the character of Ruth Gruber by focusing on two themes: the idea of inspiration and hope restoration and the notion of truth telling according to the book “Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America.”
Courage, brevity, and patriotism in the theme of inspiration and hope restoration
The character analysis of Ruth Gruber in this book can be based on her personality, motivation, ethics, her behavior, and all the good deeds associated with her. The story revolves Ruth Gruber, the protagonist bringing out her brevity and patriotism thus in the end restores hope and inspires refugees to keep fighting for a better life (Gruber 14).
The story is dramatic and compelling simply because of Gruber’s character and the way she describes each individual and their story. Gruber illustrates the character of a person who loves her country excluding all differences that may exist due to varied dependencies. In this sense, Gruber can be said to be patriotic and due to her patriotic nature, she helps restore hope to refugees by bringing a thousand of them from Italy to Oswego, New York.
Gruber was patriotic such that when she was appointed a special assistant to the Secretary of the interior and people doubt her credibility, she did not give in to the pressure but courageously took her job with stride. Gruber met many desperate refugees who narrated their sad stories of hiding in sewers and forests and how they risked their own lives to save the others.
The description of these individuals is quite an emotional one, but Gruber’s dedication to them restored their hope and even inspired them to find refuge in New York. The refugees had lost hope especially with American consulates living abroad telling them that “you cannot enter America, the quotas are filled” (Gruber 16). Her dedication was her motivator to give these people hope for the days to come.
Gruber’s courage, brevity, and patriotism is seen where the president Franklin Roosevelt announced that “approximately 1,000 refugees should be immediately brought from Italy to this country” (Gruber 10). She could have turned down the offer but she was brave enough to take it and travel to Europe.
Ruth Gruber accompanied the one thousand refugees from eighteen different countries across the Atlantic Ocean having been requested by the government to escort the refugees during the secret mission. Moving the refugees from Italy to Oswego was a dangerous affair considering the threat of being captured by the Nazi. But with her brevity, courage and patriotism, Gruber was able to listen to the refugees’ stories no matter how painful; this way she gave them encouragement hence restoring their hope.
From the refugee stories, the reader gets a clear picture of how people suffered under the persecutions of the Nazi and the brevity in the faces of the survivors even during the most overwhelming circumstances. Gruber’s dedication to restoring the hope of the refugees is seen upon their arrival to Fort Ontario where the US government contemplated deporting them back to Europe (Gruber 78). Gruber was on the frontline lobbying to have the refugees kept at Fort Ontario until the end of the war.
Her efforts were paid off in 1946 when the US government allowed the refugees to apply for residency; this is the only attempt made by the US to give shelter to refugees of Jewish descent during the course of the war. Her personality, behavior, and motivation gave her the characters of patriotism, courage and brevity which strengthened her to achieve the theme of restoring hope and inspiration to 1,000 refugees who had undergone a lot of hardships and cruelty during the war.
Courage and brevity in the theme of telling the truth
Ruth Gruber’s description of her journey in the company of the 1,000 Christian and Jewish refugees is amazing and it sheds light to the truth behind Nazi’s prosecutions and the horrible facts of the war. First, were it not for courage and brevity, Ruth Gruber would not have taken the chance and privilege given by the president to go on the rescue mission. It takes a lot of dedication and patriotism for an individual especially a woman to go on such dangerous missions.
In the book, she recounts the moving and amazing stories of survival as told by the refugees during the journey; she says that “sometimes my tears would flow on my notebook” (Gruber 110). It is quite evident that the refugees’ survival stories were moving and emotional.
Her interviews with the refugees’ exposed heart breaking stories but through her courage and brevity she was able to achieve her goal of telling the truth. Gruber went to all this pain to expose the story as it was; without her courage she would not have been able to tell the truth behind the war and the suffering on the ground.
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This story demonstrates how politicians can frustrate people with their bureaucracy and wastage of valuable time while making important decisions. Gruber tells the truth regarding Anti-Semitism that was demonstrated by soldiers during the war. She was not afraid of telling the animosity that existed between wounded American soldiers on the ship with their Jewish counterparts.
Through her journalistic characteristics in writing, Gruber was able to write the truth regarding the service organizations who lend a helping hand during the journey and the stay at Fort Ontario. As a reader, one gets to see and understand the horrible facts of the war and the nature of the Nazi’s (Gruber 122).
Her courage and determination as well as sympathy for human life is evident where she tries to tell the truth about the situation back at Europe thus lobbying for the refugees’ stay at the US until the end of the war. Her motivation to tell the truth was also derived from her occupation, she was a photojournalist and just like any other journalist she was in a mission to expose the truth about the war.
Ruth Gruber’s characters of courage, brevity, and patriotism helps achieve the intended themes of telling the truth and inspiring and giving hope of 1,000 refuges from 18 countries sail from Italy to Oswego, New York. Her personality, motivation, and conduct contributed to the achievement of this goal. Her dedication to restore hope saw this woman travel miles braving the oppression of the Nazis to bring these refugees to the US.
Gruber, Ruth. Haven: The Dramatic Story Of 1,000 World War II Refugees And How They Came To America. USA: Open Road, 2010. Print.