Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Germans in House

They knew you were Jews?

No. They didn't know whose house they were in. We came home and uh, they were sitting at the dining room table with a map spread out. They were ??? looking there. And my father uh, and my father started talking with one of them you know, pigeon German, the little--Yiddish--the Yiddish that he knew. And one of them, one of the men found out he was a Volksdeutsch you know, the...


...Volksdeutsche that were, uh...


...German--no, Germans who had one parent you know, had--could be a Slav, but one parent was German. So you know, the Germans took him all in before the--before they invaded Poland.


They were the Volksdeutsch, like uh, whatever. They made Germans out of them. Because if one of your parents was German, you were German. This particular man was a--from, from the Sudeten. He told us he's--he's a Czech, he speaks Czech. So oh, boy, he--you can talk now. My father didn't speak Czech, my father knew a little bit. But Polish Ukrainian and Czech, you mixed it and you could get along. And I was sitting in the corner. My father was sitting like a--at the one end of the table and the German was on the other side--not at the corner. He was right next to each other and I'm sitting here. And the--he asked him, "How come you never--how come you stayed?" "What do you mean?" "How come you didn't run with the Russians? Why didn't you run away? You knew the Germans would come. Didn't you know what Hitler is doing?" My father said, "No." He says uh, "Why should I run, I--said, I didn't do anybody any harm. I have lots of friends in this village and no one is going to you know, has any gripes about..." He said, "It doesn't matter." That's when I really knew what Hitler is all about, what Germany is all about.

You um, so he, he obviously knew you were Jewish at this point.

Yeah, well he--they finally--they, they must have talked and said, "Yeah, we're Jewish."

Did he say anything about killing?


No. But just that Hitler was...

"Why didn't you run away? Didn't you know what's going on." He says, "I had no reason to run. I said I didn't do anybody any harm."

Well, what did you think of--how old--you were, um...

I was eleven years old.

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