Black River Technical College, in cooperation with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will host Holocaust survivor Rita Rubinstein for three presentations October 24-25.
Rubinstein will be speaking at 9:30 a.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening. All presentations will be held in the Randolph County Development Center auditorium on the BRTC Pocahontas Campus.
According to the USHMM website, Rita Rubinstein was born on December 12, 1936, in Văscăuti, Romania (now Vashkivtsi, Ukraine) to Abraham and Tabel Lifschitz. Her father operated a dry goods store and small factory along with his brother-in-law. Their house was equipped with modern amenities such as electricity and a radio.
In 1940, the Soviet army marched into Văscăuti and, some months later, drafted young men, including Rita’s father, into its army. Rita never saw him again. In early August, Romanian soldiers entered Văscăuti and ordered all Jews to prepare to leave in the next 24 hours, allowing them to take only what they could carry. In their attic the Lifschitzes hid money and photographs. Rita’s mother bundled her up in layers and her grandmother sewed money into her own undergarments for safekeeping.
Once at Mogilev, Rita’s uncle bribed Romanian solders with the money Rita’s grandmother had sewn in her clothing, and the soldiers took the entire family on a barge to the Shargorot ghetto in Transnistria. There, a village family took Rita and her family into their home. There was no running water or electricity. Rita attended a small class organized by a local teacher, but the winters were bitterly cold and she was always hungry. Her family remained there for three years, enduring harsh conditions and witnessing the death of their beloved grandmother.
The presentations are free and open to the public. Sponsors of the event include SEAS Project of the BRTC Foundation; Mike and Barbara Dunn; First National Bank of Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Pocahontas, and Bono; Brett and Karen Liebhaber; and Integrity First Bank.
For more information or to schedule a group contact Jessica Bailey at (870) 248-4189.