Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Illegal Immigration

Let me ask you what--were--you, you had decided--your parents had decided to work through--not through the Jewish agencies, the HIAS and uh, um, the Joint, to get out, but through...

Illegal means. The Joint, the Joint and the HIAS was packed, overworked.


Loaded. The people were standing in lines there day and night. And the response from them--your bureaucracy works slow. Bureaucracy doesn't work tonight. So they--my father and Uncle Ch...uh, Uncle Jack and one of my cousins, the--one of the Crom--Chyka's sons, one of them, they used to go to Warsaw. But they found out it was dangerous to go--you know, you already knew, but they figured if not me, it's going to be somebody else. The Polish--what are--the Polish nationalists or whoever, they used to stop the train. And they'd say, "You, you look Jewish, come on with us. Off the train. Put up your pants." If you're circumcised, goodbye--killed you.

They killed you?


The Poles?

The Poles, yes. They used to be--I--they used to--they called them A...AK.



A...Armia Krajowa.

Armia Krajowa.


I mean, they supposedly--who knows who they were. Maybe they weren't just--maybe they were just Poles out of the neighborhood.

This was, what, 1946 now?


So you were uh, sixteen?

Yeah. I was almost sixteen, yes.

Aren't you getting tired of this?

No, I was busy. First of all, I was doing a little business on the black market. I had friends, okay? I had Jewish friends.


All Jewish friends--except German girlfriends, but what are you going--there were the movies. I could afford to go to the movies. Ilona was uh, Weissburger was an acquaintance, a Jewish girl.


They sent me to take English lessons, my parents. There were two Romanian sisters and they knew English. So I used to go there once a week.

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