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Vita Rivkina

Belorussia

Because both of her parents had died by the time Vita was 5 years old, she went to live with her cousins. At the age of 18, Vita married Iosif Rivkin, and the couple moved to Minsk where they raised three daughters--HaciaDora and Berta.

1933-39: By the early 1930s, the Rivkin family lived on Novomesnitskaya Street in central Minsk, near the Svisloch River. In the 1930s the girls attended Soviet state schools and were members of the Soviet youth organization, Young Pioneers. By the late 1930s Minsk was filled with Polish refugees fleeing the German invasion of Poland.

1940-43: On June 27, 1941, the German army reached Minsk. By August, Vita's family was forced to move to 46 Obuvnaya Street in Minsk's ghetto. There, starving people made holes in the wire fence confining the ghetto to secretly search for food on the "Aryan" side. Those caught were shot. To feed her family, Vita sold whatever the family still possessed to buy food. Once she was caught trying to hawk her husband's coat. The policeman seized the coat and put it on. Then he gave her his own coat and beat her savagely.

Vita's youngest daughter, Berta, escaped from the ghetto before it was liquidated. Vita and the rest of her family were deported and never heard from again.

 

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