Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Hiding From Germans

This is a continuation of an interview with Martin Koby at his home in Southfield, Michigan on April 28th, 1999. The interviewer is still Sidney Bolkosky.

In 1941, in, in, um...


June uh, the Germans invaded Eastern...

The Soviet...

Eastern Poland, the Soviet Union, the Ukraine. Uh, how did you hear about that?

Oh, we--the--there was the one Sunday I, remember--maybe it wasn't a Sun...but one morning, we heard the drone of airplanes. I mean, there was talk that there's going to be war in the village. But these airplanes you know, like three airplanes, they--a team--they just kept going east all day--all morning that morning. So everybody knew that--you could even see the swastikas on the airplanes.

They didn't fire on anybody.

No, they did not fire.

And, and did the Germans come to, to the...

Within a week they were there, in our village.

In, in...




It--within a week they were in...


in Giuszwica.

In, in Giuszwica.


Because there was, there was talk that the Germans are going to be here. So everybody, Jews and non-Jews alike were, you know, hiding in places. You know, not in, uh, in case there's bombing or cannons or shooting. So everybody had uh, had their own uh, hiding place or went--mostly in the cellars.


There were no castles or however you--having a big building. Everybody went to the cellars. And we went--we went like oh, the fifth house from us. We didn't have a cellar. But this man had a, a house was made out of uh, lime...sandstone. And it looked like you know, sandstone is more substantial than wood.

The man, Mr. Czepko?

No, no. This was a different.


A neighbor, a neighbor of ours. And we went and we slept in the cellar. Not only did our, our, our Jewish family that is, my father and my mother, my brother and I. And uh, I think that Chyka was already with us--no, this was at the beginning, no. This--we went there and we spent the night there. There were Ukrainians--our--some of our neighbors. The funny part about it, in looking back now, this man was an outspoken anti-Semite, the one that allowed us to stay in this cellar. He was just a plain Jew hater. I don't know if--why, but he was not a--the family--the whole family was not nice. And yet, they let us in there. We were just like everybody else. In the morning, I don't know what time--we got up in the morning and went outside and the village was full of German soldiers--full, absolutely loaded. When they came of some--you know, in the cellar, you can hear. There was no shooting, no bombing that day. We went home. We came in the house. Our, our backyard and part of our garden was all with trucks, different kind of trucks, German trucks, motorcycles. And the house was occupied by the Germans. They didn't touch anything. They didn't...

Your house?

Our house, just like everybody else.


You had--they, they had to sleep somewheres. They were very nice. They were polite. They didn't harass us.

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