Riva Nussenbaum was born in Khotin, Basserabia on November 9th, 1910. She had two sisters, two brothers and two parents and was the youngest child.
Her two brothers and sisters left for America when anti-semitism had begun to increase but Riva was only nine so she remained to take care of her mother, who was sick.
She married Avraham Wolkove when she was 28 years old and they celebrated the arrival of their first child a year later. She made a hope chest her new daughter. Little did she know, their future was not something she could plan or prepare for.
When Riva’s daughter turned one, the Iron guard descended on their little town without warning and told the townspeople to pack up their bags. They were all sent to a work camp, ‘to help the government.’ The soldiers offered to put my mother (who was then only one year old) onto a carriage for the children but she walked with my Bubby instead.
It was 300 miles to a town called Murapha, 60 kilometers before Kiev. The work camp was called Transnistria. At night they slept on the fields and ate raw potatoes and carrots. Every day 3-5 people died from hunger. This difficult journey took them 6 months to complete.
At Murapha, they lived in an abandoned house with seventeen people. There was nothing to eat and every day the men were taken to work. The men worked on the fields and in return they were given some pea soup which they split three ways. Some days they lived only on water. They did not take a bath for three years and had head lice. They had to wash their clothes without soap and my Bubby loved to be clean, so this was hard for her. She imagined what it would be like to come home to a normal bed and home.
Find out how she survived this and more and lived on until 99 years old…and share in the wisdom and grace that she can offer us, today.
Riva Wolkove’s Interviews:
Below is the link to some clips of my Bubby at 86 years old telling her story. She died at 99, but this was the one time that she spoke of her experience on video. Hopefully it adds an element to the book to bring her Spirit and personality to life!
Paperback: 36 pages
Publisher: My Dating School (January 30, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches