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Dora Rivkina

Minsk, Belorussia

Dora was the second of three girls born to a Jewish family in Minsk, the capital of Belorussia. Before World War II, more than a third of the city was Jewish. Dora and her family lived on Novomesnitskaya Street in central Minsk. Dora's father worked in a state-owned factory building furniture.

1933-39: As a young girl, Dora was athletic and excelled at swimming and dancing. When she was in the second grade, she was chosen to dance the lead part in a New Year's performance. She was also a member of the Young Pioneers, a Soviet youth organization that held lectures on Soviet history, and also organized camping trips.

 
 

1940-43: The invading Germans reached Minsk in 1941 and Dora's family was ordered into the Minsk ghetto. In 1943, when the ghetto was emptied, 19-year-old Dora escaped from a transport and joined the partisans but the Germans soon captured her band. When the guards ordered them to identify any Jews, everyone remained silent at first. But after a guard threatened to shoot them all if they didn't speak, a woman pointed at Dora. The Germans bound Dora's hands, tied a rock around her neck, threw her in a river and shot her.

Some young girls who were in the partisan band later related the story of Dora's death to her sister, Berta, the only surviving member of Dora's family.

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