Steve Lubky's service medals.Steve Lubky
Beer stein made for Steve Lubky by a friend, from 155mm artillery shell and 50 caliber machine gun shell, 1951. Engraved as follows: "H43094 Private Steve Lubky L.S.R 1941-1946."Steve Lubky
Steve Lubky, October, 2009.Historica Canada
"But that poor kid just got me. Now I have a different feeling for all kids. No child should suffer like that."
I’m Steve Lubky, originally from Manitoba. I was born in 1920. I was 21 years old when I started in the service. I was a driver mechanic out in the field; and you drive and do your own minor repairs. With the Lake Superior Regiment, there’s all kinds of driver mechanics because it’s all motorized vehicles. I drove every kind of vehicle that they had. Actually, I qualified in Bren Gun Carriers and I was driving a Half Track [armoured personnel carrier] the rest of the time. You know, the Half Track is, well, it’s got the wheels in front and tracks in the back. And we had eight people in the back. The Half Track had a 50 calibre machine gun mounted in the front; two 30 calibres on the side; a Bren gun and eight rifles, small arms. You had eight infantry guys in there. You just took them to the closest base and they went ahead, and you stayed with the vehicle with a phone in case they have to be picked up in a hurry, you just stashed there and picked them up.
When we first got into Germany, we were resting and the … brought some food for us, you know. And all of a sudden, down the highway, this woman and a kid come walking and they was crying the blues, you know. They’re Ukrainian origin, talking in Ukrainian. So I figured I’ll go and see what happened to them. I stopped them. They were sort of afraid to talk, but when they found that somebody was talking to them in their own language, they finally kind of eased up. I told them we’re Canadians, not terrorists. The way they were dressed and what happened to them really got me. Their clothing was hardly anything, just rags on them. The kid was just skinny and underfed. They, actually, instead of shoes, they had rags wrapped around their feet and they were walking that way. I asked them why. They were sent from a farm, were forced labour.
That morning, apparently the farmer found out that our forces were getting close. They chased them off the farm. But before they chased them out, it was in the morning, they didn’t give anything to eat; they took their shoes away and their clothing, just give them the rags and they didn’t even give the kid a piece of bread to take with him. I tried to find out who the farmer was and she wouldn’t say because she was afraid. I asked her where her husband was and she wouldn’t tell me, either in a concentration camp or forced work camp. She didn’t want to get involved in anything like that, you know. But when I finished talking to her, I just thought to myself, well, this is why we were sent here, to try and prevent that thing. I seen a different light in the war. I said that our camps were not very far away. I’ll send you to the camp, I said, so you don’t have to worry anymore. I said, you will be fed and clothing is provided and … But that poor kid just got me. Now I have a different feeling for all kids. No child should suffer like that.
Outside of that, well, war is war. They shoot, we shoot and that’s it. Things happen. We were in Germany, I couldn’t say where, out in the field someplace because I remember that we’re sitting out in the field, and the war finished, so we were sort of relaxing there, taking a rest. That morning, I woke up, after the rest, about, I would say, 4:00 and waited. And everything seemed to be so funny, it’s weird. So quiet after all that noise and it’s so quiet there. All of a sudden about 6:00, the church bells started ringing. It seemed so weird to me at that time. After that, at the Half Track, we took the armament off, and were sent down to pick up some German stragglers, military, down the highway. And I was all alone with the Sten guns [submachine gun] sitting by the driver’s seat, but it wasn’t loaded and the loaded magazine next to it. I picked up six of the military people. They were all so nice and polite. Everyone come down and shook hands, thanked me for picking them up and I guess they were hungry. I took them down and they fed them. That’s it. These people, they didn’t want to fight the same thing as we didn’t.