Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Discovered While Hiding


And uh, the haystack, the--you know, the straw, after they thrash the, the crops you know, they got the grain out and they had the straw, they're big mountains. You could actually ski off of it if--when you were a kid.

But, but it was inside the barn or...

No, outside the barn.

Outside. Okay, so you were in a haystack outside the barn.

Yeah. And I don't...

And this, this was when, approximately?

This had to be winter of '43, sometime, September--October. And we went there. And so that was my father and my mother and Chyka, my brother and I. And uh, we made--there was a hole in--under--in the stack you know, like. What happened, when they were throwing the, the straw off from the barn where they were trashing it, they did--the Czechs did it with machines you know, threshing machines. When they threw the straw there, there was a fence. And they through it over the you know, on the--onto the fence. And what happened, the fence leaned--it was like a lean-to. So inside, there was a, a hole, a hiding place.


That's where we were hidden. Not in the barn, not in the--any of the barns--in the outside. It was a very drafty thing. Draft, oh! Terrible cold, in the winter. And a dog found us. Dvorjak's dog. He had a dog. And he--we were there, I don't know, I would say about uh, two months--three months. And the dog sniffed us out. And he used to come and you know, and bark. Mr. Dvorjak had hired hands, people over there. And he had this hired hand guy--from the beginning, he didn't pay any attention. Oh, he said, "Don't worry. You know, I talked to the dog--the hired hand."

So the hired hand didn't know you were there?

No, no.

Nobody knew but Mr. Dvorjak ?

No. The only--I remember they were worried, my parents, what's going to happen when there's a snow?


Because you leave tracks. You have to get out, you know. You have to have water and you have to uh, get out to go to get food, because you didn't--they didn't want to bother Mr. Dvorjak you know, with food, because he'll get tired, them Jews are eating so much food that and I got to bother with them. So we left--we left them alone, which I think was a smart, a smart move.


And that dog sniffed us out and the man finally started looking. He took a pitch fork and tried to chase that damn rabbit out. Well, he found the hole and he took all the straw out and he found us there.

The hired hand?

The hired hand. "Oh, Jews! What the hell you doing here?" You know, what--he made a big fuss. But it's lucky it was sundown. It was dark--getting dark. It was lucky for us. He went away somewheres, who knows. Maybe he went to get somebody you know, to find--we gathered out our few things that we had and we took off. But the farm was in a slope of a hill, you know. Not a steep hill, but you know, it's like a uh, uh a long slowly slanting hill. And we took off and we started--but it was--there was some snow already. That was a cold winter, but there was not much snow that time yet.

It was October?

Yeah, not much snow, but a little snow. Uh, but it was frozen solid. So we walked--because you know, they plow in the, in the autumn, they plow the fields you know, to cover up whatever grew. And we started walking. And you know, cross country, not on the road, cross country. And we kept stopping every few minutes to see if it's not--somebody is not following us. The problem is, we were so weak, we kept falling, because the furrows you know, it was like little hills and little valleys, even in this...

You were weak from hunger?

Weak from hunger, weak from sitting in one place. You don't walk. You don't ever walk, so you--and Tante Chyka must have been already in her sixties. And she--we were a pair. You know, she held on to me uh, for s...support. I was a cane. And when she fell, I fell. And usually it was that she fell on top of me. And I used to gosh, got on those frozen furrows you know, it crushes your bones and you get hurt. So I was wishing that she would walk on her own, I was. What are you going to do? I'm not going to leave her alone. And we went straight down to Mr. Szczasny in our village, in Giuszwica.

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