Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Thoughts on Non-Survivors

The first time we met was at a hidden children meeting.


And we--everybody went around the room ???...

Had something to say.

And, and introduced themselves and where were they and so on.


And I did my standard--I was in Rochester, New York. And a couple hours later, people were talking about the origins of the group.


And you said, "What's Sid Bolkosky doing here anyway?"

Yeah, because I didn't know who you were.


You know, because I don't know what...

Why did you, why did you--I mean you know, I--a lot of the people there you didn't know, except you knew they were all--they were all hidden ???.



But uh...

Well, I--it, it was--it...

I ???...

...was not a terrible surprise to me. I mean, I--but--I'm--I--I've always wanted to--not just from you, because it's happened in a couple of other cases, what, what--was it suspicion, was it--did--what did you feel...

You know, if you're not a survivor, why are you coming here, you see.

Then what do you think...

Do I know...

What do you think...

Do I know you're a his...did I know you were a historian? Or you, you know, you're interested in this field, are you making notes, are you recording it, are you studying it? I didn't!


Sid Bolkosky from Rochester, New York.


I mean, it's okay. You know, he wants to listen, it's okay. But what is his purpose here? I can understand the others you know, we talk, we have something in common. Uh, maybe somebody will say something you know, it's too bad you know, it's tough, isn't it? I feel bad. I feel like you do.

Because that girl last week--the last time, was in a similar situation, she's--of course, she's much younger, but...


And I thought people reacted very similarly to that.

No, no, no, no, no, no. We did not--I didn't react to you, because you sat and you listened. You didn't ask questions, "Tell me how you feel." You just exploring there, you're just sitting and observing or whatever you're taking in.


This guy tells me, "Tell me how do you, how do you feel?"


So how do you go up to a lady that's been raped and say, how did you feel?

How do you feel.

"Tell me."


Even an investigation ??? you know, a psychologist doesn't approach it directly like that, I'm sure, because ??? "What happened, when it happened, you know. How did you feel, what it was--you know, what was it like?" What did--you know, how did--but this girl came up directly and--oh! Nobody ever asked me how I felt. It was a different experience.


And since then, I've been thinking a lot about it. I'm trying to remember, how did it happen? How did I feel when my par...when all the Jewish men were in that cellar beat--being beaten the hell out of? How did I feel?

And your father was there?

And my father was there. You know, try to remember how you felt. It's very difficult. And maybe I was out in there you know, having an adventure. I don't know. I can't remember. I--the only thing I resent very much, tremendous, terrible, there were latrines there, because you know, this was like a, like a--uh, uh, a inn, like a motel.


But there was no indoor plumbing, so they had latrines. Um, I think--??? there were four latrines, there were four cubby holes. They--the Ukrainians, they took the upper structures off and they made the women clean out the--the ditch of the latrine, to take the crap out of them. This is in the summer, right? And they stood there and they threw rocks and that splattered all over the women. If I would have had a gun, I would have done something there. I was very, very angry. I was very upset. I was more upset about that than the men being beaten up.

Uh-huh, sure.

That's a terrible thing to do to a human being. So how do you figure out how you felt? Oh, years went by. You know, you had your ???--you lived--you think you lived a normal life. I think I did. I was sheltered by my parents, the best I could get. Any person who was in a situation like my parents and myself, I think I would have been a winner way ahead of everybody else. I think--I know. Maybe it's prejudicial. Maybe I take it for granted, or maybe I'm--but they did a terrific job.

No, I--it's a rarity that...

They did a wonderful job for us.

It's a really unusual story. Um, now, now the--I'm going to come--to finish...


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