Dora grew up in the industrial city of Radom, known for its armaments industry. Though fervently Jewish, her Yiddish-speaking parents differed from each other in that her mother was deeply religious while her father was not religious and was an ardent member of the Zionist Labor Party. Also known by her Jewish name D'vora, Dora attended Jewish schools and joined a Zionist youth organization.
1933-39: When I visited my uncle near the German border in 1936, I first noticed anti-Jewish placards and hate messages. In school our teachers told us that humanity was becoming more civilized. However, on September 8, 1939, the German occupation began. I was identified as a Jew on the new ID card I was issued. And before the year ended, I had to wear an identifying badge on my clothing.
1940-44: A German officer was billeted in our home, but at least his presence protected us from pillaging by Nazi bullies. In March 1941 we were forced into a ghetto [Radom]. Germany seemed to be winning the war; we were young and decided to do as much living as possible. We'd even violate the curfew in order to have fun. Those who worked and were useful to the Germans had a better chance to live. I had a job at the weapons factory, which saved me from being deported when the Germans destroyed the ghetto during 1942 and 1943.