Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Rita Ginenskaya was born into a religious Jewish family on May 13, 1928 in Novogrudok Byelorussia. In 1941, the Nazis took over her country and ordered all Jews into a ghetto. Her grandmother, grandfather, and two of her aunts were killed for resisting the resettlement into the ghetto. Rita’s family was ordered to register and wear badges with the image of a yellow star. Her family was in the Novogrudok ghetto for two years and three months. Rita’s father was killed in the ghetto as well as many of her relatives. The Jews organized an incredible effort of resistance and survival: After months of secret planning and digging, her family, along with others, escaped through a tunnel from the ghetto to the forests. Many people were shot by Nazis as they tried to escape. Rita’s family wandered through the woods until they connected with Tuvia Bielski’s Partisans; brothers who had formed a resistance enclave that allowed families to join them. They stayed in this detachment from October 1942 to July 1944, when Byelorussia was liberated from the Nazis. Rita, her mother, and her sisters lived, worked and fought in the detachment and that is how they survived.
All information from the book Never Heard Never Forget and interviews with survivors.