Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Conditions in Bytom

How did they pay for the English lessons?

With the black market.

Again, the black market, okay. But I mean uh, here, here...

But I...

First the Germans are trying to kill you and now the Poles are gonna try and kill you...

Yeah. It was...

...because you're a Jew.

Yes. And I'm--the--where, where else? You are--you're on a train. You're defenseless. Now, the city is different, you can scream and holler, somebody is going to come, right?

And you--but you didn't think you know, e...enough already. What is, what is this all about?

Don't forget, I led a very sheltered protected life. Everything was done for me, wasn't it? I always had my parents. I was loyal to my parents. When my parents said, "No, you can't--you have to be home by eight o'clock in the evening," I was home at eight o'clock. I knew--I really was not consciously aware that my parents were doing the right thing or my parents were trying to protect me. There was something I knew that my--I had to obey. Maybe I'm a sissy, I don't know, but...

Well, if you're out past eight o'clock and you're in...

But you're in a big city.

...in Rovno, in Rovno...

It was okay.

And, and the Germans are occupying ???...

Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. You could not do that.

This is post-war, you're talking about.

This is post-war.

But your...

This is Bytom, okay.

But your life could be in danger, right?

Was not. In Bytom it was not in danger. Be--why...

[interruption in interview]

Go ahead.

Bytom, Bytom is uh, I want to tell you this uh, little incident that--what dictatorships and what Communist dictatorship can do or what was happening. Maybe it happened under the other governments too, but I--it happened in a different way. This happened for--towards Jews. The Jews were rounded-up. It's like you know, did you ever see uh, uh, a animal, where they go hunting for animals, or they round-up--cattle round-up. You saw all the cowboys ride on horses. They have the dog running. And they make a big circle and they get the herd together.


Before the war, where we lived, they used--in the winter, the--the Polish aristocracy used to come on horses. And they hired boys you know, peasant boys and young men and they used to hunt for rabbits.


They used to call ???, it's like a round-up, you know.


What--a sweep, an army sweep.


And they used to chase the, the rabbits into an area where the, the, the hunters wanted them, you got them.

Shoot them, right.

They rode on horses and the boys and the peasants ran on foot. That's hard work you know, deep snow, no snow shoes, you have to run in that. They earned--whatever they got paid they earned every penny and they should have been paid five times as much, maybe ten.

What time, what time of year was this? Was this...

In the winter they used to happen, okay.

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