Dina Levina

Year of birth 1927
Date of arrest 29.09.1941
Place of rescue Babyn Yar
Date of rescue 30.09.1941
Location of the stumbling stone Shchekavytska Street, 45
Stumbling stone installation date 1 October 2021

Life story

04.11.1927 – Dina Avramivna Ruvinska was born in Kyiv. Later on she took her mother’s family name and became Dina Arkadiivna Levina. She lived in Shchekavytska Str. 43/45, ap.22. She remembers Podil community to be very friendly. In the yard there was a stage where various performances were held, residents of the house used to cook “on stove” together.

Dina’s mother Klara Borysivna Levina worked in Kyiv district power plant, and then she worked in “Kharchovyk” club which was a baking industry Palace of culture. Before the war she received annually a free voucher on a diet alimentation in hospital in Illinska Street and took Dina there. Dina’s father Avram Ruvinskyi worked in Kyiv prosthetic plant. During the war he was found to be in air defense. He didn’t live together with the family.

1934 – Dina started going in for Oleksandra Havrylova ballet studio.

1941 – she took part in one of the episodes of Swan Lake staging.

She studied in school №157 and finished 6 grades before the war. She was rewarded in school with clothes for being an excellent student and as a child from a low-income family. She also got a diet alimentation at school. She attended the ballet studio, went to “Kharchovyk” club and a district library.

June 22, 1941 – start of the bombarding. She remembers that the first bomb shelters started to be built after that. Dina’s family wasn’t able to evacuate themselves.

September 29, 1941 – when Dina was heading for Babyn Yar she took some family photos since they very valuable for her. Those photos were not preserved.

She jumped into the Yar together with her mother before the shootings started which saved her life. Together with some other women she began to get out of the Yar in the morning. Then she asked people how to get to Podil and went to her home yard. Neighbours were very kind to her and accepted her.

Kateryna Shchur took Dina to her place where the girl stayed for a couple of days. The neighbours offered Dina some food and clothes but asked her to leave the Podil neighborhood because of the incoming danger. Later she met her school friend’s mother Valentyna Tarasenko who hid Dina in her flat. Shortly afterward Dina went to the orphanage in Puscha where she stayed under the surname of Pylypenko (Pylypchenko). When the orphanage dismissed Dina went to the villages near Kyiv and offered her help in household work.

1943 – Nazis began to encourage young people to move to Germany to work. They organized raids taking people to Germany. The same happened to Dina. She managed to escape on the Polish-German border. She started going to villages offering her help in household work.

1944 – Dina noticed the announcements about the repatriation point and went there with the certificate from the orphanage which stated that her surname was Pylypchenko. While making the documents she wrote her real surname – Ruvinska. She spent some months in repatriation camp where she worked helping the soldiers and lived in hostel.

1944 – Dina returned to Ukraine. At first she came to Myronivka from where she was moved to Kyiv. Her Kyiv flat happened to be occupied so she went to regional executive committee to get her room back but got denied.

1945 – Dina came back to Myronivka and went to district committee of the Komsomol. She recalled that people who were repatriated had difficulties in joining the Komsomol. Dina was hired as an assistant teacher in children’s center. She received food in district health department. She remembers suffering from deteriorating health of the nervous system.

At that time, Dina lived in Myronivka with some people in their apartment. People who helped her had a daughter that lived in Ivano-Frankivsk. She had a son whom she wanted to become married. Dina was invited to come to him.

1948 – Dina moved to Ivano-Frankivsk. While waiting for a man, whom she was planned to marry, from the army, she got a job in a canteen. The man returned from the army with another woman.

Dina went to live with another woman who worked as an engineer. This woman introduced Dina to another man named Yurii Margolis. Over time, they began to live together and moved to Lviv.

1953 – she gave birth to a son Matvii Margolis.

Over time, due to health problems, Dina moved to Kyiv with her family, as Kyiv had a slightly better climate. The man received group one disability due to eyesight problems. The district executive committee approved a loan to the family for building materials to complete part of the house and for living there. The man joined the Association of the Blind.

Eventually, Dina managed to find Dina Pronicheva, a woman who also survived the Babyn Yar tragedy.

2011 – Dina Levina passed away in Tbilisi.

Links and documents:

Interview with Dina Levina, 20.08.1998. Kyiv, Ukraine//USC Shoah Foundation 47650.