Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Russian Liberation (continued)

Then two more came, but a little later. Two more Russians came and one had the little--I--a, a--like a wart, a big brown wart over here on his face.


And he had this winter hat with a red star you know, with a sick...hammer and sickle in it.


And another young man. But they didn't stay too long outside. They just walked in into the house.

And you saw--you were there.

Oh, yeah. But I was choking, but I saw them come in. They went into the house and they're sitting there, they're nothing--Mr. Szczasny is not going to come out, he has guests, right? And he doesn't want to come and tell my--and he comes--finally they come out of the house. Oh, another, another Russian runs. It looks like, I don't know, in a big hurry, you know. He runs into the house and he hollers or screams something, you can't hear it, came out. And the other two went with him. And uh, whatever, Mr. Szczasny's going to give us the details, right? So finally they went away. And uh, about an hour later uh, another one came. So that's one and the officer, the two soldiers and the officer came, then another came. And he looked around you know and he said, "Hello and how are..."on foot.

Not on a horse.

No, on foot. And he says to Mr. Szczasny, "You got any tobacco for a smoke?" "Oh, yeah," he said. He takes out his tobacco pouch. You know, the Czechs used to use or the peasants used to use the pig bladder for a tobacco--you know, it was...


...pouch--for a tobacco pouch. And I was watching with my father...

[interruption in interview]

...brought his tobacco pouch from his pocket and got a--the soldier got a paper, newspaper and, and he gave him the tobacco and he pours it in. He said, "Ah, come on." You know, they're bargaining. And he finally rolls it up you know and li...they light it and they smoke together. And he thanked him, actually. And he says to Mr. Szczasny, "Could you give me uh, some more for the road?" Guess what? Mr. Szczasny wouldn't give him...

Wouldn't give him more.

...for the road, you know. Well, so he walked away. And they stopped coming. Mr...it was around--all of this was be...before noon. Finally Mr. Szczasny comes over and he stands and has his--talks to my father. We can hear down below. And he said you know, "Those two men that came in first, one was an old one, one was a young one?" "Yeah." He says--he asked them if uh, Stalin is still--because there are rumors that Stalin was killed or he died and committed suicide, disappeared, stuff like that--what--well, under the Germans. So he asked--want to know if Stalin is still alive, right, the great leader. And uh, he says that--and the Russian told him, he said, "He doesn't know. The devil knows him--if he's still alive, I don't know." He says, "But we are fighting for the Fatherland." Comprende? They weren't fighting for Stalin, they were fighting for the Fatherland, this plain soldier. He said--but you know what happened, the, the old one and the young one came in and they're the ???--these--they wanted to be in the house so it's warm for their hands. Their machine gun didn't work. So he took it apart and you know, to fix it and put it back together. But the soldier--and then the officer came out--you know, came in. He said, "What the hell are you doing? We need you on the front line." Maybe it was--who knows, maybe half a mile from us, they were, they were moving, they were attacking you know, towards sort of s...s...south, southwest, because they had to reach the highway. They did not go direct to the highway, they were much closer. So he said--well, he says, "What are you going to do?" The officer you know, was--so the, the man--the older man that was carrying this--the machine gun, he says, "Well, it's a, it's a funny war," he says, "I know how to take the gun apart, but I," he said, "I don't know how to put it together."

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn