Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Russian Invasion

Um, do you remember when the, when the Russians came in?



We were in Shul--that--when the Russians came, I think that day we were in Shul. Okay?

It was a Friday or Saturday?

No, I think it was Rosh Hashanah--some kind of a holiday, because it was all moved by trucks. Okay? And they, they avoided the highways, so they--maybe the highway couldn't accommodate them or--they left such nice beautiful ruts in the, in the--in the red dirt. We have no pavement. But the next day I woke up--next day in the morning and I was--I came outside and whew a new world. Soldiers you know, such funny looking soldiers with that--you know, the Polish soldier used to wear those corner hats you know, like a square...


...or the oblong hats, you know. And the different uniforms and man, all kinds of machineries and things I've never seen before--crowded. So I got dressed--no, I was dressed already. And I get--I got even before breakfast, I didn't eat breakfast. I ran to see what's going on in our village. So I went to the cross roads. There was a little place you know, where three roads came together. That's where everybody was talking. And my friends were all standing there. So I'm glad you asked this. And I went there too. And there was this truck you know, nice green truck you know, such funny wheels. And I walked out and I was the last one to get there. So this soldier comes up-I don't know if he was an officer. There was soldiers standing around, the kids standing around. And he says to me, "Come on here, you're--come on." I must have--I don't know if I was the smallest or the lightest or whatever. I came up, walked over to him and he's standing right by the hood of the truck in the front of the truck. And he says uh, "Would you like to sit on the truck?" "Sure." I said. Well, he put me right on the top of--above everybody. And he says uh, "You know your father?" "Sure." He said, "Where is he?" I said, "He's home." He said, "Are you sure?" I says, "Sure. Do you see my house over there?" We could see the house. "That's my house. That's where my father is." "What's your father's name?" I said, "Anschel." He said, "Are you sure?" I says, "No, no." And the soldiers are laughing, because they knew already what's coming up. I didn't. He said, "No, that's not your father." I said, "Oh, yes he is." "No," he says, "no." "Oh, yes, he's my father. Ask them," you know. The...

Your father is Joseph.

Yeah. He says, "From now on, I want you to remember, your father's name is Joseph Stalin." So I don't know. I never met him, so I, I don't know. Everybody had a nice laugh. From now on, never forget it. Oh, it was fun but I had--I--it uh, uh you know, I thought about it. It comes up--comes back all the time. When the Russians came, that was somewheres in the autumn, sometime during the f...winter--the winter wasn't too far away. Sometime during that winter, my father taught me the melody to "The Internationale."

Do you remember it?

Oh, s...some--the melody I remember, but some of the words slipped away. I still remember a few words.

Can you hum it?

Huh? [hums "The Internationale"] It occurred to me in 1939, how did my father know the melody and the words to "The Internationale"?

How ??? could he know?


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