28 Years after Communist Expulsion, Ruth Ellen Gruber Awarded Order of Merit by Poland

23 Sep 2011 12:21 PM | Anonymous
28 Years after Communist Expulsion, Ruth Ellen Gruber Awarded Order of Merit by Poland

What a difference a few years and the fall of the Berlin Wall makes.

In 1983, at the height of martial law and the Solidarity workers' movement, Poland's communist-led government detained American reporter Ruth Ellen Gruber on suspicion of "crimes against the state."

The then-bureau chief for United Press International was hauled in for questioning by police, then expelled from the country.

Thursday the Polish government bestowed on Ms. Gruber the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit, one of the highest honors awarded to foreigners.

The award, presented by Poland's president at a ceremony in the Polish consulate in New York, honored Gruber for her reporting during the democratic uprising and for helping promote understanding between Poles and Jews through her lectures and books on Jewish life in Poland.

"It's a picture of what's happened in Poland, all the changes," says Ewa Ziomecka, the Polish Consul General. "She was expelled by a communist government and now she is honored by a democratic Poland, member of the European Union, and a member of NATO.  It's a completely different situation and a different world."
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