Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Motivations of People

...all through the years since the end of the war, I've been wondering uh, uh, where did Mr. Szczasny ??? where did he hide the dirt from digging this hole? That's a lot of dirt to haul, right?


He had to work like a beaver, hard work, in close quarters, digging up with a shovel and a bushel basket. What did he do with the dirt? You got a place to hide it, this is winter. You just can't throw it out. It's got a fresh soil--people--fresh dirt. People are going say, "Hey Szczasny, what are you digging for, what--a gold mine or something?" I mean, they wouldn't ask it, "What are you digging? Where has this come from?"

You went to people who turned you away, I would assume. Were there some people who said no?


Everybody you went to said, yes, you could stay?

Every time my father went to make arrangements for hiding, they never said no. When he--when he decided--when my father and mother decided, okay...


...he went and he made arrangements. I never heard of them--any...anybody turning us down.

What do you think determined that Mr. Szczasny, say...

Szczasny, yeah.

...or um, who were some of the others? You mentioned one other person, M...

Mr. Dvorjak ?

...Mr. Dvorjak or Timothy uh...

Yeah, Baron, yeah, Timothy.

...Baron. What, what made them uh, hide you? I mean, there weren't--it's not that they loved Jews, was it?

No. They didn't love Jews. I think--I don't know. I can only...




Human beings--consideration for a human being. That's the only thing--the only reason they would do it.


My mother told me a story about Mr. Szczasny. Yeah, Mr. Szczasny is dead. He died in Czechoslovakia. I'll tell you how he ended up in Czechoslovakia as soon as I can. My mother remembers when Mr. Szczasny was a teenager, okay? So she must have been about the same age, okay? Uh, my grandfather Tessler, my mother's father--my grandfather, they had a house. And he was the--he copied the roof--the, the--he copied uh, the--that roof on his house should be just like the roofs of the Czech people.

Your grandfather?

Yeah. Tin. Tin roofs. You know, it's safer than straw. You don't have to replace it as often. But he had a tin roof put on the house, my mother said. Well, what do Jews--observant Jews do on the Sabbath? They stay home, they relax and take a nap or, or read a book or whatever. They had a busy household, my grandfather, because those--my mother and her--what, eight or nine siblings and Grandma. And there was an aunt living with them too. Well people--Christian boys or teenagers, young men, girls, I presume the same thing, knew what Jew--the Jews do on the Sabbath, they rest. So several of the boys would come, take rocks and throw it on the roof.

Make noise?

Sure, it makes tremendous noise. Uh, boom, you know. Take a tin pail or tin can and hit it you know, with a rock, it makes all kind--can you imagine this big roof thundering. Well, she says, it became annoying. So one day, Grandpa Tessler tricked them. Instead of staying in the house, he stayed in the barn with the horses, in order to approach the house--his house was like a square you know, like one of those--the house--one--stand--you know, everybody--what--the, the--all the buildings were surrounding the, the backyard--the yard.


And he hid in the bar...in the barn with the horses, in the stable. And when they started throwing the rocks on the side of the--at the--on the roof, he got out of the--jumped out of the barn and caught one of those teenagers. Guess who it was? Mr. Szczasny.

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