Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

The Germans in Rovno

What--where were the Germans during all this?

The Germans were in uh, Rovno over there...

And they didn't care what you were doing?

No. But I told you, remember, they made a deal with this--with the representative that went to the county seat.


That he has to be an honest man, give honest answers but don't inquire what you should do with the Jews. Don't mention the Jews. If you're not asked, don't men...we used to work over there all day. At sundown before it was time to go home, because we didn't have watches.


Because the sun was down you know, in the west I mean you know, already it's certain, maybe two feet above the ground, you went home.

Now, you knew for sure he was told this, he was given this--these instructions?

I didn't know.

You just speculated.

I, I knew later, next summer I knew.


There was something about it, okay. Because the day before they were gonna act--you know, annihilate our Jewish people in this village, this man was riding on the horse. We got a new job after that. We used to tend the cows. You know, there were about 400 cattle, maybe 500. And we were sitting in the forest there grazing them. And my father saw--I saw the principal is riding on a horse. He was in a hurry. He never did--rode like that you know, in a gall...uh, in a gallop.


Sort of like Paul Revere without a saddle.


Or did he have a saddle?

Wh...so where was he going?

He was going back to the village. My father says to me as we were sitting there--oh, there were two prisoners of war with were--with us too, we tended the c...cows. But my father used to sit on the hill and watch what's going on--the approaches to the forest in case something happened. That I found out later on. But we--from the beginning, I didn't know. And he sees the, the principal of the school, because he was the representative to the county seat, he's riding in a gallop, he says to me. "Uh-oh, we got bad news." Why would he be in a hurry, right?

Maybe it was good news.

Hm, I don't know. He never came with bad news you know, he never rode like that in a hurry.

Yeah. So was there bad news.

Yes. We came--we went home--we took the--we had to listen. We didn't find out until when it was dark already. They said that the uh, they gonna--we were told that they're going--that they're getting--he found out at this county seat meeting that they're going to uh, kill off the Jews in our village. He told us that the plan's are in the works already. He didn't know which day or which night or when, but the thing's in, in...

To sh...shoot them?

Whatever. They're going to liquidate the Jews, okay. So we came home, the two of us. My mother was already home. My brother was there too. We were--they did not turn on the light that night, because we don't know when it's going to be.


We didn't turn on the light. It was too--we ate whatever, I don't know it was--we ate something. Everybody ate in a hurry. And I was told to take--to dress for the winter. Take as much clothes as you can put on top of yourself. So I think I put on three shirts. "Not enough, put on two more." But you know, how many can you put on, you became like a big uh, snowman you know, you c...couldn't move.

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