Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Impression of Germans

Eleven years old. So what did you think of when you saw all these German soldiers?

Nothing. Just thought it was another, another bunch of soldiers. You uh, knowledge of terror, is--I think comes with a little bit--somebody older than eleven years old or ten years old. You know, what is, what is it terror? What is harm? What is shooting? What is killing? You don't know. You, you do not really have an understanding. It's terrible you know, but you really don't--you take it--you something, I don't know, but not--I was not alarmed, I was not scared. I went with my, my--with my Ukrainian friends. We went all over the street, you know all over the village--not all over--our--part of the village. And...

Now, they, they were in your house. Did anything change? Did they threaten you? Did...

Nothing. There were no threats, no nothing. They were just as polite as polite can be.

Did any--what--when, if any--did anything change in uh, did, did those conditions change?

Uh, eventually, yes. When--this were the first lines, the--I think um, the books that I've read you know, of the invasion of the Soviet Union, the first line were the most polite people you can meet.

The Wehrmacht.

The Wehrmacht. They were just plain soldiers who get whatever they command was, they march forward and they did whatever, occupied and did their fighting and that's all there was to it. No, no threats, no robbery, no stealing, no taking, no...

Did they stay in your house?

Sure they stayed in our...

You mean they slept in your house?

Yes. They only slept, you know, when we were hidden in the cellar, they came in, okay, during the night.


Then about eleven--twelve o'clock, did they, they, they got into their thing, whatever the ??? they went away like--I was very impressed, they had you know, those little discs, little--like a stick with a disc on it you know, green and red on one side, so it must have uh, the, the--this these are their own track controllers. And there were motorcycles, two men to a motorcycle, you know. The motorcycle and they had a side car.

A side car, uh-huh.

And these lined up and everything started working and then they moved, like lightning. I was very impressed.

You mean, they left the village?

Yeah. This is the front line.

So they weren't there very long.

No, no. They were just there overnight. And then on the eleven--twelve o'clock, it was sometime before noon, they left.

So, so what was--when they left...


...was there any discussion in your, in your house about what, what had happened?

Not that I know. I never heard any discussion between my parents.

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