Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Ukrainian Intellectuals

The intellectuals did?

Yeah. So he started howling and said, "Boys, what the hell you doing? What did I do? I used to, you know--I'm your friend. I was a your neighbor. I didn't hurt your parents or anybody else around here. Uh, this is--do you remember that--Kerbitz say, "you remember the horse I used to take you know, skiing around the village and spent the whole day with you? Is that my reward for that?" Guess what? They stopped and they through him down the cellar. They didn't throw him down the cellar, they pushed him down the cellar. Because if they would have given him a good push, he would have been broken arms, limbs and all smashed up. And that's how--what they did to all the others. But the others got tremendous beatings. One of my uncle had a broken leg.

They, they were getting Jews?

Only Jews.

Only Jews.

Only Jews.

Was, was this the partisans, were they forming the partisans?

No, no, no. They were not forming the partisans. partisans was Communists. This was the Ukrainian Liberation Army, which was with the initials UPA, Ukrainska Povstanska Armyia.

Povstanska Armyia, yeah.

They had two, they had two armies. They had another abbreviation. I don't remember the other one.

And they were essentially anti-Semitic?

Oh, definitely. Well, they were German-inspired, they were German educated and the Germans promised them an independent state. A funny, a funny--it's a very curious thing happened. Here were the men, were all in that cellar all beaten up with no food and no water, okay? You know, every, every uh, well-off or every Bulebaser uh, a substantial who had uh, been or so some--a substantial household you know, it had means, they had a cellar. If it was brick you know, brick built around--they had a chute, like a you know, like a milk chute...


...or a clothes chute down the--ba...well, they had a level ground. They had a--made like a chute where they used to throw the potatoes in there or the sugar beets or the red beets or the carrots into the cellar there for the winter. But I was hanging around and my mother said, "You be careful and go and take a look. Maybe you can talk to them through the chute. The probability is that they are there in that cellar." Nothing to it. I took my Ukrainian friends. "Oh, let's go over there." So we went to Kerbitz. And I went down to--and you know, this is the chute and they are you know, on the--right above, right above ground level, the officers with the Ukrainian guys sitting there. Whatever they were talking, I don't know.


And I hollered, "Tata ???." They said, "Oh, tell your mother we're okay." They were not okay you know, the, the cellar...


"Tell your mother to contact somebody to do something about it." So I went home and I told my mother that they're still there, they're alive. She went and got her sister Hava. And she told me, don't go back over there. Don't go unless I tell you. She got her sister Hava and they went to two people. One person I know who they went to, the other one I don't know.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn