Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Relations with Ukrainians

But didn't...

It's always the constant day-in and day-out you know, "Jews to Palestine" uh, "Dirty Jew," "Christ killer." All of this you know, it made there this big divide, I think.

And yet he had friends who were non-Jews, you said.


Your father.

Well, sure. We all had friends who were non-Jews. My father--you know, I told you when I went hiding, I went from one place to another, to another. I went to this guy named Timoscz Baron.


Timothy Baron. And I probably you told you about it. When things got bad you know, where you or when you could hear everybody telling the--and were talking in the community that you know, the Jews were eliminated in--in Dubno, the Jews were ??? you know, killed in Varkoviche or Varkoviche...


Or the Jews were uh, killed in little, little shtetl, a little Jewish shtetl not far from us, okay? Ten kilometers, fifteen kilometers. Lutsk you know, there was a--the action was at--you know, the uh, the Jews in Lutsk were killed.

You knew about all this.

We heard about it, yeah.

You heard the news. And you--this was before you were in hiding?

Oh, this was before we were in hiding. Mr. Tim--uh, this Mr. Timothy that--Timoscz, was on good terms with my father, okay? And he said to my father one day who--he came to visit at the house, during the day, not at night. He says, uh you know, "Kobylanski, you don't have to worry about anything. Your family..." now, this is a friend, right? But you also have to remember that he was a devout nationalist, which I can't deny him that. And his son was in jail under Poland, he was in jail for nationalistic activities under the Soviets. He's a good friend of my father's, right? They're buddy-buddies, you know. They talk, they have tea together. Probably when father went over there they probably had a few shots of vodka. He says, "You don't have to worry. Your family we'll save, especially." He said, "you're going to be the museum piece for our grandchildren." So how can you, you know...

You heard him say this?


The museum piece for his grandchildren.

You're going to be the museum piece for our grandchildren, so they will know--they'll be able to see what Jews looked like. If you didn't--I don't know if--how they knew. If a stranger came into our village, if he would know who was a Jew and who was not a Jew.


So how can you be part--how can you call yourself a Ukrainian. We were--you were never allowed--I mean, whether it was by design or not, but this was you know, the dividing line.

And what did your father say to him?

Well, he says, "If that's how you feel, what are you going to do?" That's--you know...

Hm, what...

My father was a very polite man. And I think one--my grand--my son is like him or, or has some qualities of getting along with people. Because he could tell them off--my son can tell people off, they don't know what you know, what was meant, what you know, how to take it until they think about it a few days.

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