Friday, September 23, 2011

I Receive High Honor from Poland

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

I'm honored and delighted to report that at a ceremony at the Polish Consulate in New York last night I received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit  -- one of Poland's highest honors awarded to foreigners. Poland's President Komorowski presented the awards -- alas, I was not able to be in New York, but my friend who stood in for me took a video of the moment when my name was read out:

Given my history with Poland, going back more than 30 years, it is quite an honor! As my old friend and colleague Doug Stanglin reported in USA Today, this award comes 28 years after Poland's the-Communist regime arrested me, threw me in jail, interrogated me and expelled me on trumpted up "espionage" charges.

At Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, 1983
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 worker's movement, Poland's communist-led government detained American reporter Ruth Ellen Gruber on suspicions 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 was at it again, with a new proclamation aimed at Gruber.

This time, it bestowed on her the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit, one of the highest honors awarded to foreigners.
.Read full story HERE

Here's another story, by Polish Radio's English service:

Ruth Ellen Gruber, who remains an active commentator on Central European affairs, was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit by President Bronislaw Komorowski on Thursday at a ceremony at the Polish Consulate in New York.

Poland’s head of state is currently attending the UN General Assembly in New York, where he gave an address calling for solidarity among nations.

Gruber, who covered the Solidarity surge in Poland as a bureau-chief of United Press International, was deported from the country for “crimes against the state.”

As it was, Mr Komorowski was himself arrested by the Polish authorities during that period. As a Solidarity activist, he was interned after the declaration of Martial Law in December 1981.

Gruber was granted the award both for her coverage of the Polish bid for democracy, as well as her more recent work furthering Polish-Jewish understanding.

Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere), a collection of her articles, was recently published, as well as her work on the so-called Jewish revival in Poland – Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Central Europe. (nh/jb)
Read full story HERE

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