Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Thoughts on Mother

Mm. Do you think your mother was always thinking of the problems that every situation produced?

I think my mother had problems way back...

Before the ???...

...because--before--even before World War I, I think as a teenager, I think there was some kind of effect, either of the war or--either of my grandfather or siblings or some kind of an infection they had. She was, was very bitter about things.


She always used to take--she told me several times how her father cheated her, because he promised her a dowry and he never gave it to her.

Uh-huh. On the other hand, that kind of thing, always thinking of how to deal with the next problem might have, might have been...


...what clicked in...


then during the war.

Yeah, maybe. She was driven uh, um, I'm more than convinced, she was going to survive come hell or high water.

Hm. You said last time that she was authoritative, that, um...



She kept telling me--badgering me for a while--off the record...

[interruption in interview]

We used to discuss all kinds of little things. She lived over here in Federation apartments. And one day I went to visit her. And I worked full-time--I had a full-time job, I got a family. I can't run every day to visit her. So my brother went one day and I went one day. She had food galore!


So I'm thinking God, she all the--every day she used that thing for the food pretense--you say--she had money to pay for it uh, that was no problem. But she didn't want much, two apples, three pears, a can of this, a can of that. So I thought to myself one day, what the heck you know, what is--say, "Hey, Bob, did you buy food for your mother today?" "Oh, sure, she called me up and she said she needed this and this." "Well, you just bought it." I thought to myself you know, for a single person, she eats a lot! Listen, it's okay, you know. It's her money, what else she can do with it? Well, I found out she was giving it away to a lady down the hall--some of the things, not all. She kind of slipped up and she told me. That's okay. One day, I went there unannounced. She didn't expect me to show up. Guess what I noticed? You know, there's this garbage chute. She was in there in that little room you know, where the chute in an apartment building...


She was throwing cans and food down the garbage chute!


Well, she doesn't eat it!


That's why she could call up and she'd say you know, "I need food!"

I see. I see. Oh.

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