Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Survival Instinct

But I noticed, there's no policemen you know, next--on the street. They were marching through the street, in the middle of the street. Then I noticed that on the sidewalk there's a whole bunch of them, Russian soldiers, Russian police, because you see those markings...


...and a lot of grownup civilians you know, they're too--they don't look like the general population. When a foreigner comes to your country, he doesn't know how to dress. He dresses according to his taste and his customs, right? They're having difficulty blending in with the population, right? The locals?


A foreigner.

So, so you...

So these--I spotted--you know, I began to look and I recognized them, all these marching...

Are these Secret Service...

...Secret Service in civilian--and they just kept following them around and following. And I thought to myself you know, how long are they going to--how long it's going to happen? Well, they finally came into the center of the city. Do you know they used to drive up a truck and put a truck right in the middle of the street. Bytom is like a central--a city you know, like a circle, you know. Not like Detroit downtown. Let's put it--it's like--uh, where was I ??? Like St. Louis--no, St. Louis they laid out in--Bytom is a circle city, you know.

So everything comes back to the circle.

Yeah, everything comes back to the center. It's like a wheel.


Because you live in Detroit you know, you have a downtown which is by the river and the rest is--they don't have...

What's the center cause of a square--is it a...

A uh, circle that...

...plaza--a plaza of some sort?

Huh? Yeah, there's a small plaza. And the streets radiate from the center, right? Boston is like that, okay?


You have those rotaries, right?


And the streets go on. Well, I notice that every time they came to a street there was a truck parked in the middle of the street.

Middle of the--so they couldn't walk?

You know, like...

You--so they...

Okay. There's a street radiates over here, right?

Yeah, okay.

At forty degrees or thirty degrees of this circle, there's a street. You, they radiate out of this...


...main street uh, circle--center of the city. There's a truck parked and you can't go there.

Can't turn on to the street.

You can't turn on, you can't go into the street.


They already had a plan. And they didn't have walkie-talkies. I don't know how they did it. Or maybe they had prior training. And they maneuvered this demonstration ever so slowly you know, each street and they made them go into the center, to the main street. And they came there. And everything--all the other streets were blocked already with trucks, Dodges. Dodges and Studebakers. You know, those, those big army--United States Army trucks.


Dodges and Studebakers. And they maneuvered this, this, this demonstration into one of the streets and in the middle--you know, in the middle of the block there were three trucks parked side by side. You could not get through. The only place you could go is inside the truck.

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