Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Work on Estate

So you went to work on this estate?

We went to work on that estate. I used to always go with my father.

And what did you do?

We did whatever we had to do. First day, we got uh, an assi...we used to work like uh, the melon--the watermelon patch. We, we tended the watermelon patch. The Soviets started to grow melons in our area, which was not suitable, okay? But that's what they did. I don't know why, but that's what--so we tended the watermelon patch. And as soon as it got uh, cold, they gave us--I mean, my--somebody must have come and told my father, you have a new job. We used to--in that area where we lived, they used to grow hops. You know, hops grow on vines. Every, every spring you've got to put up the wire--the trellis. There, there were no trellises. There were--it was like uh, posts with wires. And you, you had to with you know, long wires, that--maybe twelve--twenty feet long. And you--it--you know, they were suspended from other wires. And the vine of the hop grows around this wire, around the wire.

Yeah. So to make beer out of it?

Yeah. They used to make beer. I think that, that counts for, for flavor--the flavoring. The specialists in that art were the Czechs only. Ukraine would uh, Ukrainians did not grow hops. Okay. But the Polish man had, had a section where he used to grow hops, okay. Because he wanted to be like all the good farmers, he grew them. We were assigned the duty--we had to untangle wires, take off the dry vine from the wire. You know, it's like--like a trellis, you have to...

Yeah, like grapes.

Like grapes you know, but this grows on a wire.


So we used to hook up to a--we make a ring around the post, put the hook here and one of us pulled the wire you know, held the wire and the other one got the vine out, because it, it was semi-dry. Miserable work. The only problem was this was autumn already, raining...


...cold winds. And the--you know, the, the dirt over there is very rich, you know. It sticks to your shoes...


Like, like silly putty, you know. The more you work the--it backs like a snow shoe on your shoes.

Like--is it clay?

Like clay, but this is black, black soil.

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