Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Post-war Ukraine

In Rovno.

Until of--May of '45 and that's a whole year. And I was in the village. I'm sure everybody knew. I didn't contact anybody.

But they knew you were there.

I'm sure they knew I was there. I was in the open, I was riding with a horse--a team of horses. I was helping to plow. It almost killed me, but that's beside the point you got to, you know, you have to overcome your pride. Even if you're weak, you're going to work like the devil. Because holding a plow with a team of horses is very difficult, hard work. I mean, you have to hold it. And...

Now you, now you...


Yitzhak and Pinhaus were probably doing the same thing and...

Yeah, probably.

...learning how, how to work a plow.

Probably, probably. I never asked them.

The--do you think uh, did it ever, ever run through your mind that it might have been easier for your parents if they had--didn't have...

The two of us?

...the two of you and...

Oh, sure it ran through my mind, no question about it. It's easier to hide two Jews than four or five. Isn't it? I mean, you have to--we were hidden and--you know, in that hay--straw stack that I told you about...


...where the Czech you know, with the dog--where the dog found us and the hired help came--started looking for us.


After the war--well, after the liberation--after the war, the Czechs you know, they were good farmers, good heads...


...you know, they knew how to manage it. They ended up under the--because they plowed their fields and they had crops, they didn't destroy their horses and animals like the Ukrainians did. So whatever was left in their collective farm, everybody got--okay and they decided, I don't know how, but everybody had a horse, at least one. Some of them had two.


So you survive the Germans and you still had grain you know, food. They used to thrash their--they make flour and they used to bring to town to sell it...


...for gold coins. That's all they wanted. It didn't matter whether they were--what kind. But mostly the gold coins were Russian, the five ruble ones and the ten ruble ones. He loved fish, Mr. Dvorjak l...loved fish. Something was wrong with his left hand. It was always covered, like in a sock of some sort. So maybe it was a kind of a deformed thing. I...

Mr. Dvorjak?


Who was that?

The Czech that hid us, that let us...

Oh, right.

...use his uh, haystack.


So Tante Chyka, when she knew that he's coming or she knew he was in town, she ran to the market and bought fish. She wanted to--you know, he was a nice man. He saved her life. She understood better what you know, what transpired than I did.


She was an adult. She was already might have been sixty years old, maybe more. So they were sitting and chatting one day in our, in our house. And she was feeding him gefilte fish. Uh, and he asked her--whatever the conversation, he asked her, "Who hid you out? Hey, lady, where were you hidden, who hid you out? Who helped you?" She says to him, "You, you did." He says, "Oh, no, you weren't in..." Okay, but she was with us.


She says you know, "I was in there in the haystack in the s..." He said he never knew about them. You think he would have let us stay there or let us stay there? No, I don't, I don't think so.

He didn't know you were hiding in his...

He knew that we were hiding.

Yeah, but not that she was.

But she was not included in the bill of fare. She--he didn't know.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn