Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Effects of anti-Semitism

Let me, let me ask you a question about it, just as uh, an aside. When Easter comes around now...

I think about it very much, yes. But I know--you know, I've been here long enough. I know already that it's--you know, this is not--this is not...

It's safe.

Yeah, it's safe. But uh you know, I used to work in Hamtramck. I used to work part-time after school there in a fruit stand. I used to always think about it you know, because there are a lot of Slavic people used to live--a mix of Slavic people used to live in Hamtramck. You had to be--I wasn't--I was on the lookout. You know, I expected something. But they were polite, they wouldn't say anything. But maybe it's another reason I've had all these years, one of the rabbis told me once that it takes forty years to understand what you learned when you were young.

Do you think you sort of uh, subconsciously still uh, at Easter time or at Christmastime, still sort of...

Haunt you.

...look over your shoulder?

Yes. I mean, I'm kind of look over your shoulder. I'm conscious of it. I'm very conscious of it. I know that--what could happen. I mean, I don't expect it, but it clicks you know. It's like I told you the other day you know, with the--I always--when I see construction going on, I always think of a hiding place. Will there be a place where someone can hide? I don't know from what. It's the same thing.

W...when you were a child, do you remember on those--on those holidays or at those times, what--did they--do you--they threw s...stones through windows?

Yeah, it was around the eve--on the eve of the holiday.

The eve of the holiday.

If tomorrow is Easter, tonight you want to get, you know--smashed...

Your father's store, would it--would...

My father had a store, yes.

And would...

Had a little grocery store.

And would that get smashed?

No, that would not get smashed.

Just the homes.

The house. Because the store and the house--there was one room of the house was a store, a separate room. I remember, in our house, the corner, corner room was the store.


With a counter you know, with those balance scales, you know. You put them--twenty grams here. And uh, there was two little--I don't know, maybe hundred dollars worth of merchandise in the whole store because it was little. Oh, we used to--used--before Easter, my father used to always bring a barrel, a barrel of herring. You're not supposed to eat meat, right? During uh, there was a lent time...

Lent, yeah.

So uh, herring was popular.

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