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Ruth Gruener was born Aurelia Gamser to a Jewish family in Lvov, Poland. She was a small child when Nazi Germany invaded in World War II and occupied her hometown.
Her father smuggled her out of the Lvov Ghetto under his overcoat and placed her with Christian friends, who hid her at great risk to themselves. She shared a room with the family's teenage daughter, Joanna Zalucka. After eight months, Ruth was taken to the home of another Polish Christian family that also hid her parents. She had to spend so much time silent and immobilized that after being liberated in 1944, she had to relearn how to walk and talk normally. She and her parents were the only ones from their extended family of 300 who survived the Holocaust.
They emigrated together to the USA in 1953, settling in Brooklyn. Ruth married Jack Gruener, also a survivor, with whom she had two children. She works as a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan. She and her husband volunteer to visit schools in New York and around the country to educate students about the Holocaust.
Ruth wrote a memoir, Destined to Live: A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust, published in 2008.