Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Thoughts on Liberation

He's from Hungary.

He's from Hungary. You know, it's sometime--somebody told me that a few years ago, I was really confused. I thought liberation, everybody got liberated all, I mean, that's what you have in your head...


...that if you're liberated, everybody else was free. Here, they was going on a train to Auschwitz. I was--it's, it's scary.

It just, just began there.

Just began. The, the nightmare...

And--liberation was that--was--it wasn't some joyous occasion for you, was it?

Uh, I'm looking and I got folders like this you know, all kinds of things. This I wrote on May 21, 1988, about liberation--talking about liberation.

Eleven, eleven years ago.



Oh, Saturday--this was on a Saturday. You're not supposed to write on Saturday, but you know, "Lying in bed this morning, I said to myself that it was time to rise or to arise. The Russian word ??? flashes through my mind." The word means rise up, or lift up, lift yourself up. And the Russian song came to my mind, "Esli zavtra voina," "If There's a War Tomorrow." You know, the--we learned this in school, this particular song. "Esli zavtra voina," if the war is tomorrow, came to my mind, would the next part of the song that urges the people to arise by saying you know, "Rise up, uh, masses of people and get ready for the big march." You know, there's a you know, they had in China the big march?


But you know, you--that happens you know, at different times. Sometimes it's you know, connected. I thought to myself, what a peculiar chain reaction you know, because I found myself standing again...


...on Dubenskaya Street, west of the army camp, be--you know, beside the cemetery, in three--February the 3rd, 1944 in Rovno. Liberation was February 2nd. On the 3rd--next morning, we got on the highway, hitchhiked and got to Rovno. I was standing over there you know, on Dubenskaya, watching parts of the Soviet army moving west, towards, Dubno and Lvov. Even today, forty-four years later, I still remember the feeling I had that day. It was the first day of liberation from the German nightmare. I felt that something very important was happening. I felt uplifted, I felt that I was witnessing something interesting. This song you know, "Esli zavtra voina," "If There's a War Tomorrow," translated, with the message in it you know, arise multitudes, lift yourself up people, kept surging in my mind. It was a very patriotic feeling. I remember thinking to myself how a song taught me--taught to me by Czech boys and girls from the neighboring village of Martynovka would be so inspiring. That's the day after. You know, you asked me the other day--on the--asked me how I felt.

Hm. ???.

You know, through the years you know, it fades away. You, you don't, you don't think about feelings. But I think because a ten-year difference--eleven-year difference, this is...


...you know, it's something and at my age, sure there's going to be a change of...

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