Ryfka Schacherl was born July 1, 1922 in Dresden, Germany as Ryfka Zweigel. She was the youngest of four girls. Her parents were Orthodox Jews and kept a kosher home. Ryfka was the only Jew in her class. She recalls saying “Heil Hitler” in school. Ryfka did not experience much anti-Semitism personally, but she recalls that there were anti-Semitic riots in Dresden.
In 1933, the parents and the four girls left Dresden and moved to Palestine, where Ryfka’s uncle lived. Hitler had been in power for one year at this point and Ryfka’s parents feared for the future in Germany. They worked and gave the money to their parents. Ryfka’s mother did not work, but her father did construction work. Her parents never spoke to her about the Holocaust, but she knows that much of her family perished in the Holocaust.
Ryfka later married and had two children. She came to the United States 1957. When she arrived, she spoke only a few words of English. Ryfka and her family lived in Long Beach, NY and she became a naturalized citizen five years after her arrival.