Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Russian Liberation (continued)

And he--you know, it's--that's how you tell a story. He said, the man took the parts of the machine gun, put it in his pocket. And he said, "How are they going to fight?" That--this is Szczasny telling it. And they went on the front line. The question is, how's he going to fire it? What good is it?

This, this is all in Russian, of course.

Yeah, it's all in Russian.

And you--did you understand it--the...

Well, we--you know...

Most of it?

No, Mr., Mr....


...Mr. Szczasny was telling my father in Ukrainian, because my father was not too good at Czech.


So I understood it perfectly.

So is it--to, to this point, you hadn't really met any of the Russians yet, they were...

In person, no, no, no. This was the first day we saw the Russians. We stayed in that bunker until tomorrow morning. And in the morning before sundown, we got out and went through the back--to the--through the back of the houses, we went to our house. You know, I think you, you become--Mr. Czepko's lesson, in some way you know uh, you go to college to learn how to learn, right?


Or how to do--how to think or how to read and how to see.




Okay. Well, that lesson paid off, because--and I never forgot it--the minute we walked outside and my father said, "We go through the back." Uh, the back of the houses you know, back--through the back street, I knew exactly why it was done. And I'm so proud that I understood. This way he has to stay here, right. You don't know who's going to resent Mr. Szczasny's hiding Jews. This way you don't put your friends in jeopardy.

In jeopardy.

But I--it--you know, it clicked. It clicked! And I guess, I don't know, from the experience or my age or it was--you know, the that's what influences. We got to our house and it was full of Russian soldiers.

To your house?

Yeah. There was--a Ukrainian lady was living in the house, as she--as if it was her house!


But they were packed with soldiers. On the floor and on the tab...they were sleeping on the floor, on the table, under the table...


...on chairs. And I remember one nice incident when we were there. They, they asked us you know, who we are, blah, blah. So we told them. They didn't--ah, big deal. They didn't pay attention. They had one soldier sleep--sleeping on three chairs. My father and my mother's part of the furniture, the chairs. They were--they still stood there. Other people used them that lived in the house. And uh, they couldn't get him up. He wanted to sleep, he was tired. You know, a young guy, the Tommy gun you know, the...

Uh-huh, yeah.

...automatic Tommy gun on his chest like this and he's sleeping there. And I thought, "Gee, he looks young." And they tell him, you know--I don't know, he had some kind of a Armenian or some kind of a different name--it was not a Russian name--to get up and to get up. And he says, "I'll get him up, don't worry." He was in, he was in the officer's way. He was not in our way. So he finally walked up to him and he says, "Get up, we're surrounded by the Germans." And the guy jumped! Just like that. Just like there was a spring got in him, he was just ready. Stood by the window, stooped out the window you know, like this...


...to see what's going on.

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