The Holocaust killed millions of men, women, and children, and was unquestionably one of the greatest atrocities that ever occurred. The death and carnage during this period of time is hard to fathom, and out of the depths of evil there are many stories of survival. Rivka Yosselevska was one such survivor, and her story of what happened to her remains one of the most harrowing and well known to come from the Holocaust.
Rivka's story occurred in the Jewish Ghetto near Pinsk. By the time that the Nazis rose to power, Rivka was a mother. She lived in the ghetto along with her family including her mother, her sister, father, and her daughter. When Germany invaded Belarus, they swept through the country executing the 'undesirables' – gypsies and Jews, mainly. On August 15, 1942, German soldiers entered the ghetto and forced all Jews out of their homes and into the streets. After standing for a day, the Jews were forced onto a truck. Those that couldn't fit on the truck were forced to run behind it. Those that couldn't keep up with the truck were simply shot where they fell and left behind.
The truck reached a point roughly 3 kilometers from the village, near a long ditch. After lining up the Jews, the massacre began. Those who ran were quickly caught and immediately shot and killed. Those that stayed behind were executed by the German soldiers and tossed into a mass grave. Rivka was the only member of her family to survive the ordeal, and though she had been shot in the head she managed to live due to her wound not being as serious as it could have been.
Rivka and several others managed to survive the ordeal, and by lying in the mass grave for three days and three nights she was eventually found and hidden by a farmer. Rivka lived with her story until nineteen years later, when Adolf Eichmann was put on trial in Jerusalem. There, she told her story to the court in full. It remains one of the most heart wrenching testimonies to come from the Holocaust, and is frequently cited in various accounts as evidence of what the Jews had to endure even before they were placed into concentration camps.
Rivka's story is incredibly difficult to hear, and the atrocities she survived are unspeakable. But by remembering what she endured, her memory and the memory of her family will live on.
Help us keep not only Rivka's memory alive, but others like her as well by donating to our cause
. With your donation you will receive our exclusive DVD "Hitler's Children"
. Let us Never Forget!