"Darling Mother, don't be upset that I'm writing so little,
The man didn't have time to wait."
Rivka (Rywka)-Regina Folkenflick wrote these words to her parents, Chana and Moshe, and her brother, David, from her hiding place, a short time before she was murdered. Chana, Moshe and David survived.
Moshe and Chana lived in the city of Borszczów in the district of Tarnopol, Poland. Moshe was a grain merchant, and the family lived a traditional Jewish life. The couple had two children: Rivka (b. 1931) and David (b. 1934).
Following the German occupation in the summer of 1941, the family was incarcerated in the Borszczów ghetto, together with all of the city's Jews. The Germans allowed Moshe to continue working in the grain warehouse, and this meant he could leave the ghetto on a daily basis. Sometimes, his young son David would accompany him. In his testimony, David told of Ukrainian friends of his father who would leave his family a little food in the warehouse so that Moshe could take it back to the ghetto to break the terrible hunger. They would also warn the family of upcoming aktionen.
In September 1942, the family escaped the ghetto and went into hiding with Ukrainian acquaintances. Rivka was given false identification papers and placed with a Polish childless family in Bilcze Złote, a village in the surroundings of Borszczów, in the hope that at least she would survive. "If you stay alive," those hiding her promised her parents, "you can have her back."
A while later, Moshe, Chana and David were caught by Ukrainians and brought to the Lisowce labor camp, from where they also managed to escape to a different refuge. All the while, Rivka remained with the Polish family. However, one of their neighbors informed upon her, and she was caught by Ukrainian policemen. News of their daughter's capture reached Moshe and Chana, who were told that they could bribe her release. Chana and Moshe paid the ransom, but in the end, despite the payment,
Rivka was shot dead on 28 June 1943, five days before her twelfth birthday.
Chana, Moshe and David survived the Holocaust and began their wanderings from Ukraine back to Germany via Poland. In 1945, Chana gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, in Bytom, Poland. The infant boy died at birth, but the girl, Shoshana, survived. In 1949, the Folkenflick family immigrated to Israel and settled in Acre.
In 1955, Moshe Folkenflick submitted to Yad Vashem a Page of Testimony in memory of his daughter Rivka. In 2015, David Folkenflick gave the last letter written by his sister Rivka to Yad Vashem, for eternal posterity.
Dearest Mother and Father, and dearest Dulu [David]
How are you, and how is it at that man's house?
Mother, don't be upset that I'm writing so little
The man didn't have time to wait.
Mother dear, please give my regards to everyone,
I wish you [well], and send kisses to you all.
Yours, Genya [Regina]
*On 28 June 1943, soon after this was written, Rivka-Regina was murdered