Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Departure of Friend (continued)

Well, huh.

But there's no bags. And uh, so they took a newspaper and they made a cone out of it. Cheapskate Germans wouldn't give us a big enough, enough paper. They put it--the, the walnuts in a cone. And there was a um, uh, like a pin, a big pin, like a--like a cockroach, like a beetle you know, green...


...some kind of a stone with wires. It looked--ah, it looked very impressive. That's what we bought her.


We come to her apartment and there's a lady you know, very formal dress--and not formal, it's like a maid you know, like a butler or lady you know, in a white uniform with a cap. But it--she didn't look like a nurse, a little different. And she lets us in. And she takes us and she says, she, she must have been told in case we come to let us right in. We come in this big room you know, dining room. Now I know what it was. Oy vey, it was electricity, bright. And there's big mirrors on the walls, from ceiling to the floor or from floor to ceiling. And we stand--me and George are standing there, we can see ourselves. I mean you know, look on the sides what we looked--because of mirrors and...

Uh-huh, right.

And I took a look, seen me---my face there you know, so I--oh, I wanted to disappear.


You know, with long hair you know and that--we wore Russian uniforms without the insignias, that's what...

You were still wearing the uniforms.

Oh, yeah.


That was it. We're uni...wearing Russian--you know...


...that was the style. Or that's what you could get for, for cheap.


And I took a look in that mirror and I said, Oy, ??? like they say in--in Yiddish. Sis mier Finster geworen in die Oigen.

Yes, but say it again?

Sis mier Finster geworen in die Oigen, you know, it became dark in my eyes and I, I closed my eyes. I could not--I didn't want to look at myself.


And I take a look and the dining room is formal, now I know it. Um, the ladies with off-shoulder dresses. I said "Oh, my God, very impressive." And nice dresses and they're sitting around the--this, this, this big long time--uh, dining table.

So uh, what were they doing there?

They were celebrating Ilona's birthday.

Even though there was illness...

No, this illness was all over.

Oh, all over, all right.

But the father with no hair on his head, bald. Oh, my God. He didn't look too good, he was and uh, Ilona gave up her--I don't know what, her father and mother said something. And they sat us--me here and George over here, at the head of the table. Oh! And oh, "Sorry you know, we'll, we'll have--we'll serve you cake--tea and cake, okay?" And I thought to myself, oh, this is going to be fancy. Everybody's going--uh, to the right of me over there, there was sitting this young lady, charming, with an off-shoulder dress. I never seen anything like that. Everybody was smiling and you know, laughing and see--and she was sitting like a dumb...

What did you think? You...

Something's wrong.

Yeah, okay.

Just something is wrong with this young lady. She told--Ilona told me that's her friend you know, whatever her name was. Yeah, it's okay. They served us tea and cake and there was so many knives and spoons, I almost ran away. The tea had a spoon and the cake had a spoon and the sugar had a spoon and the lemon had a little fork you know, for the lemon. And what do you do with all that paraphernalia?

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