Ruth Bloch was born on Ruth Kohn on May 24, 1937 in Glina, Yugoslavia. She lived with her two brothers and parents who owned a small department store until the outbreak of World War II. Ruth’s father and brothers were sent to Jasenovac, a concentration camp in Yugoslavia. In the early 1940s, Ruth and her family were jailed by Nazi sympathizers. She lost 33 members of her family during this time. Ruth and her immediate family were rescued by her Christian uncle, Zvonko Novakovic. He was able to steal a S.S. uniform and forge release papers. The family hid in Split, Croatia until they were placed on a fishing boat that went from Adriatic to Lastovo, then to Bari. From there, they took a ship to Taranto, Italy where Ruth and her family finally reached freedom. Ruth spent most of her childhood in Milano, Italy. On October 11, 1949, she arrived, by ship, in New York. Ruth’s parents changed her name to Ruth Colton to protect her from any more anti-Semitism. Ruth had to quickly learn English once she was placed into an English-speaking school. Ruth met her husband, Gilbert Bloch, and moved to Baltimore. There, they opened a sign shop and had two daughters. Their marriage ended in 1994. Since her divorce, Ruth has become very involved in many Holocaust survivor social clubs and joined a Holocaust survivor committee.
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