Speaker Bio's

Ruth Gruber
Author and Journalist

Dr. Ruth Gruber, a journalist and an author.has covered Israel and the Middle East from the start of WWII to the present.

Born in Brooklyn in 1911 Ruth was among the first women to receive a PhD, her career as a journalist began 1932. During the war, she worked for the State Department under Harold Ickes. After the war, Gruber covered the situation of 100,000 Displaced Persons. Her story was the subject of a two-part national television series shown in February 2001.

In 1944, Ickes asked her to take on the secret mission of escorting a group of about 1000 Jewish refuges from Italy to America. Roosevelt permitted this group to "visit" the U.S. as guests and be lodged at Fort Ontario, N.Y (adjacent to Oswego, N.Y.). Gruber recorded this story in her book "Haven."

Ruth is the author of fifteen books, correspondent for the "New York Herald Tribune," and has been given five honorary degrees. Ruth Gruber's latest book, "Inside of Time: My Journey from Alaska to Israel," was published in December 2002.

In a recent interview she said about her work: "My tools, my weapons for fighting injustice are words and images."

More informaton on Ruth Gruber can be found in the Jewish Virtual Library.

Peter Hayes
Theodore Z. Weiss Professor of Holocaust Studies, Northwestern University

Peter Hayes (PhD Yale, 1982) specializes in the history of Germany in the 20th century, particularly the Nazi period. He is the author or editor of five books, including a prize-winning study of the IG Farben corporation in the Nazi era, and is currently completing two other works: Profits and Persecution: German Big Business and the Holocaust, and Gold, Gas, and Gain: Degussa AG in the Third Reich. A recipient of the WCAS Distinguished Teaching Award, he is a member of the academic advisory boards of the Fritz Bauer Institute in Frankfurt and the concentration camp memorial at Buchenwald-Dora and of the Academic Committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Dr. Martin C. Jischke
President, Purdue University

Dr. Martin C. Jischke became Purdue University's 10th President inAugust 2000. He formerly was president of Iowa State University, chancellor the University of Missouri-Rolla, and faculty member, director, dean and interim president at the University of Oklahoma.

A native of Chicago, he received his bachelor's degree in physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and earned his master's and doctoral degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetss Institute of Technology.

Robert Melson
Author: False Papers: Deception and Survival in the Holocaust

Robert Melson, a professor of political science at Purdue University, Indiana, is the author of the award-winning Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.

Xu Jin
Art Teacher and Daughter of Wenli Xu

Jin Xu is the daughter of a Chinese human rights prisoner, Wenli Xu. Jin has found political asylum in the USA, where she teaches art. She supported her mother's efforts to gain freedom for ailing Wenli Xu.

Xu Wenli
Chinese Dissident and Senior Fellow,the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University

Mr. Xu first went to prison in 1981, convicted of printing an unauthorized political journal. He remained there for 12 years. After his release, he returned to his pro-democracy activities and was jailed again in 1998 for trying to establish an opposition party. He was supposed to be locked up for 13 years, but this past Christmas Eve he was released and sent into exile in the United States.

Now that Mr. Xu is in the West, he plans to study, to find ways to bring democracy to China. Democracy is not just a political system he says, "It's a way of life, essential as bread, air and water."