Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Understanding Experience

Can I understand your experience? You're telling me this story. Do you think I, do you think I understand it? I mean, anybody, not just me, but anybody?

You might have a little feeling. Don't forget, you have--you're read, you heard other people's with their stories, so you heard other people's feelings.

What about your children, do they understand it?

I don't know.

You told them?


But not everything.

Do you want me to cry in front of my children? It's very hard. It's very difficult. You can cry when your father dies, you can cry when your mother dies.

[telephone rings]

Hello? You have to call back. Thank you.

But can you cry in front of your children? How you felt, how you feel now? I have more feelings now than I had then. And now I understand when my wife tells me--used to tell me, "Why are you so angry all the time?" I wasn't angry at my wife. I wasn't angry at my children. But I didn't know what I was angry about. Maybe I should have gone to a psychiatrist, but I was too proud. I don't want to go and cry at someone.

What were you angry at?

I don't know. I guess I was angry at the world.

At the experience?

I think the--as you go on, as you become older, you become to understand what happened to you. You can't--I find that I did not really understand what was happening to me. But now I--you know, you start to reflect, start to think. When you have the experience of you know, your children and your wife, your relatives, you begin to understand what happened to you. Otherwise you know, if I understood then what I understand now, I probably would have been uh, crippled mentally. I couldn't you know, I couldn't probably handle all of this or understand. I consider myself very fortunate, very fortunate. I have my mother, I had my broth...my mother, I had my brother with me. You know, we came out as a unit. Even Tante Chyka came with us, right?

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