Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Religious Life While Hiding

Okay. So you didn't do a lot of homework when the, when the tutor wasn't there?

Oh, some, some. Saturday, Saturday, I used to do a lot of home work. My father used to lie down on the--not on the bed, she wouldn't like the--she wouldn't let him lie on the bed. We didn't have a bench, so you got uh, three or four chairs.

Let me push this back in.

Okay. I had three--he would take three or four chairs, lie down, cover his head either with a coat or with a newspaper or something.

And go to sleep. That was Shabbos?

Shabbos, yes.


And I had to--you know, after lunch, I had to read from the Siddur, loud.

To who?

Oh you know, not the whole Siddur you know, sections.

But who would you read to?

My father.

Oh, while he was asleep.

Well, he was not asleep, because if I made a mistake, he knew...

He knew.

Just relaxing. And uh, you know the Pirkéy Avót.


You know, every Saturday, he would pick a different one. He was uh, he knew all that stuff very well.

So you were learning as well?

Well on Saturday.


Well, yes.

I mean, you were already, you were already into the Pirkéy Avót. That's...

Well, half of it you know, you, you read. You--reading Latin you know, anybody can read Latin, you know. I mean, I understood certain of the words, but I--not everything.


But I figured you know, the old system, read your Latin, you'll--someday you'll understand it.

Um, tell me about the um, the end...


The end, the end of the war.

It was an eventful thing. Yeah, I told you that you know, with the faith that the Russians could come back? That was a--an accepted--this was the--your religion, you believe, your God. We believed what like they said, ??? what that, unshakable faith that the Russians are going to come back. You know, looking back, I--that wasn't too good of a, too good of an idea. How could you know that the Russians are going to come back? Huh? How did you--we had no radio, we had no newspaper, just a word or two from, from, from somebody you know, that we ran into on, on--accidentally. We were--the last part of the war, we were in a straw--I mean on a haystack in the village of uh, Martynovka. It was a Czech village. It's not there.

It's not...

You won't find it on the map.

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