Rifka and Elvira - Coming of Age in a Time of War

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It was 1941, and Elvira Kohn had just turned 20 and was working in a camera store in Dubrovnik. Just up the Croatian coast in the port city of Split, 14-year-old Rifka Altarac was still in school and had joined a Zionist youth group. Then the Germans and their allies invaded Yugoslavia and for nearly two years, their cities were occupied by the Italians. But in September 1943 when the Italians left, the Germans were speeding toward Dubrovnik and Split—and Elvira and Rifka knew the time had come to act. Or perish. This is their story.

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