In Honor of Dr. Ruth Ellen Gruber

“It’s what we’ve been fighting for all these years.” – Ruth Gruber
Only Hope
I received my PhD at the age of twenty
Worked with the Interior as the special assistant to the Secretary
The headlines bolded in my mind
Now someone would be kind
Enough to hear the dying’s cry
And save them before they vanish in the blink of an eye
President Franklin Roosevelt
Shocked the nation with heartfelt
News bringing one thousand refugees
Into our country
As his special guests
I was filled with unimaginable zest
I wished to be the one to escort them from Italy to the U.S.
Fully knowing the dangers and the governments tests
On July 15, 1944 I left and headed for Naples
Where I would discover all my capabilities and flaws
Three thousand applied
Two thousand denied
Only nine hundred and eighty two were aboard the ship
Though broken inside I must get a grip
The ships that escorted us were filled with Nazi’s
Also heading for our country
How could the President save thousands of them?
And only nine hundred and eighty two true victims
Once we arrived the main battle would begin
I thought the war was in Berlin
The press wanted the story
The Departments wanted me to give a false allegory
When the refugees registered
They signed a document agreeing to go back once the war was over
They would have signed anything that would allow them to get away
The Departments must be tired of me, for they listen to nothing that I say
Into a decommissioned Army Training Base
Called Fort Ontario, the refugees were placed
On the day that Roosevelt was pronounced dead
Many gathered to bow their heads
Still no one hears me
Though I feel the obligations of more than just a secretary
The war is over, we have won
Though my battle be far from done
They tell me, ‘save your breath’, ‘go home’, ‘and stop’
I’m done playing your game; I’m going straight to the top
I go to President Truman
Will he, too, laugh at the sight of a woman
I plead; don’t send them back after the war
Cities in ashes, there is no more
The refugees were allowed to apply for American residency
What I did was a chosen duty
Right alongside them I cope
For I am their only hope





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