Dora Rivkina had many talents. The middle sister of three girls, Dora was athletic and an excellent swimmer and dancer. She was chosen to dance the lead in a New Year's show when she was only in second grade.
Dora grew up in Minsk, the capital city of Belorussia. Before World War II, more than a third of the residents of the city were Jewish, just like Dora. After the Germans invaded Minsk in 1941, Dora's family was forced into the ghetto, a part of the city where Jewish people were forced to live. Two years later, when everyone in the ghetto was forced out, Dora, then 19, escaped and joined a group of partisans—people who were trying to fight against the Germans. Unfortunately, they were soon captured by the German soldiers. The guards demanded to know who was Jewish. The group answered with silence. Then a guard said he would shoot them all if they didn't speak. One woman pointed at Dora.
The young, beautiful and talented girl died a terrible death. The Germans bound her hands, tied a rock around her neck, and threw her in a river. Then they shot her. Her sister, Berta, the only one of Dora's family to survive the war, learned the story of Dora's death from some girls who were with her.