Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Thoughts on Ukrainians

Of the man who...

Hid us out over there in the, in the Polish estate. You know, we were went back to that Polish estate for hiding.


And he says to me "You know, the--Hitler had, Hitler had the right idea of killing all the Jews."

Now, why do you think his grandfather was...

Willing to listen?

...a decent person and he is not?

What about his father too?

What--where is the--what--why the, the change from one generation to the next?

But there's something else he told me. He has two--b...he has two brothers, okay? There were three brothers. His brothers were active participants in Rukh in Ukrain...the Ukraine you know, the '80s and '90s, there was a movement called the Rukh.

Rukh, uh-huh.

Uh, ethnic reconciliation you know, a re-establishing ethnic tolerance.

Yeah, a liberal movement.



So his brothers uh, okay, they were both Communist party members, he told me, okay?

But he...

He was not.

He's not, uh-huh.

And he tells me that his brother's son, this movement, the Rukh. I uh, questioned him about it and he said, he didn't want to talk too much about it, but he told me then. And we're sitting and talking, you know. And when--remember when the revolution happened in the Soviet Union where uh, uh, what's his name...


No, no, no.


The, the '90s, when, uh...

Oh, the '90s, oh, oh.

...when the Perestroika happened, you know.


When Gorbachev was kind of overthrown, you know?


Uh, uh, defied.

By Yeltsin.

Yeah and everybody, and everybody was grabbing, you know...


...becoming independent.


Oh, he was here. He was glued to the television all day. I went to work, he watched television. That's okay.


Ah! So one day I talk with him, you know. Oh, he said, "We're going to go back and we're going to go cut throats oh, we're going to kill those Communists." Alright, talk to me, son-of-a-bitch. So he--so I say to him, "You dummy." I just told him, I said--I got nothing to lose--say "You're going to kill your two brothers? Are you going to kill your brothers?"

So what did he say?

"Are you going to call--you kill your neighbor Ukrainian? Because he tried to have a state just like you have a screwy idea of a state." I said, "I hope to God--you're an educated man, I hope that the government of the Ukraine never picks you for any government job, because you are a danger to yourself and to your, your fellow Ukraine--are you going to kill these people?"

And did he answer you?


No. How educated was he?

He was supposedly--he was a, a physician, okay?

Well and he still had these ideas.

Well, sure. But the thing is, his wife came here too, you know. She was here in the house too. And she was smart--she was--she knew what I was talking about, you know. So I asked her one day you know, "Why do you live with this man?" Well, she says you know, she said, "I'm in my forties, where I'm going to look for a new man?"


She said, "I'm already used to it. It's a..." I said, "You know, it doesn't make sense for an educated man..."

Are they still together? Are you his sponsor...

I don't correspond. I just...

No, I wouldn't, I wouldn't blame you.

When he left, I said, "I don't, I don't have nothing to say to an asshole like that."

You, you were right up-front with him, you told--you let him know that you thought that...

Oh yeah!

...he was a real...

I, I told him, I said you know, if it wasn't for your grandfather and your father, I would not keep you here a minute...


...after this. The only thing is, I could have done it. But I was afraid because I signed that I'm going to keep him up...


...you know.

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