Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Survival Lessons

So a year and a half after the Germans had...

Yes. So we...


That's when we went into hiding. What do you mean by hiding? You disappeared, you went underground.

All right. Um, the tape is...

You want to stop here?

The tape is just about to pop, so we might as well...


...stop here.

...oh, that's it.

Go ahead.

Everybody went on his own. But I have a little story before, before, before we went underground, we had--my father and I--more my father than me, had lessons in survival. Very important. Very important, the art of survival. Jews did not know how to survive, even in their own village. And when we used to go to work back and forth to the estate over there, to the big farm, on the way back, my father was taught how to--the art of survival. From a person you'd have never believed, you would have never expected that he would be that kind to do that. That's a kindness. A teacher like that is hard to find, because he understood what we were facing. We didn't know what we were facing, but he knew.

Who was this.

It was a Ukrainian man, an intellectual. He had books in his house. There were very few houses in the village that had books.

And what did he teach you?

The art of survival, where to hide, who to trust or who not to trust. He didn't name names, but he said you know, he kind of pointed out the character of the person. Uh, when to go there, when not to go.

You mean he literally instructed you?

My father, yes, absolutely. Very interesting man.

Do you remember his name?

His name was Mr. Czepko, C-z-e-p-k-o, that's the Polish spelling. The Ukrainian name would be Ch-e-p-k-o. Very, very nice man.

Did you keep in touch with him?


After the war?

Uh, after--no.


We became--we went to the city and the village--no, we didn't completely abandon because you, you had to--you see, you did not want give people ideas who were the helpers, who rendered help. The Jew could run away to the city, they can't, could they?


Because but somebody find out that, that Sid helped out Moshka is a dead duck. Very interesting.

All right. All right. I'm going to start with him next time.

Okay, Mr. Czepko.


[interruption in interview]

He only told us the art of survival.

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