Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Mr. Czepko

I mean, it's--so he really gave you lessons. I mean...

Yes. He taught my father. My father didn't ask him you. He volunteered him. He, he made my father listen to him. And my father went to the other men you know, to the other families, they laughed at him. They thought he was crazy.

Now, how did he meet him?

He saw him every day.

He's just somebody...

He knew Mr. Czepko who he was...

...a neighbor, a neighbor.

...but my father stayed away from him, because he was one of the intellectuals.

Which means he was anti-Semitic.

Well, he never, he never said that.

Obviously he wasn't if he taught...

Are you off--are we off record?

No, we're on--we're on...

With the...


I don't know. But he had four sons and three daughters and uh, a couple of the sons were very active in the political movement, the Ukrainians. Okay. But they were not the guys that would do harm.

So they weren't, they weren't anti-Jewish, then, they were...

N...not that I remember

They were ???...

I did not remember them saying or doing things like that.

But they were anti-Soviet?

Alright, anti-Soviet, yes.


Every Ukrainian an...is not only anti-Soviet, is anti-Russian.

Right. All right. Okay. That's a good place to stop.

All right. I'll tell you about it later. I just want to tell you about him--about Mr. Czepko. Let's make it off the record.

Oh, why?

Okay, Mr. Czepko, here I told you he had books, he had a nice piece of land, he was well off, with educated sons. It was important, because see, some of the sons--two of the sons or three of the sons went to gymnasium, okay? And he was a German sympathizer. In 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland when the war started, okay? That summer was started in the fall--in autumn. They used to--the German's air force flew over our village. They were flying you know, according to the roads.


And they were going to bomb Rovno. And Mr. Czepko and his family were picking potatoes. And the German airplanes flew and they saw that there was people on the hill and they threw a couple--three bombs and they strafed them with a machine gun. They killed a daughter, his wife, they wounded two sons and they killed the horses. And he was wounded a little bit. Now, would you be a German sympathizer after that? That's a twist of fate you know, something that--whatever happened I don't, I don't know.

And you think that's why he helped you out?

I don't know. I don't know. But he was a nice man originally. But you know, you forget, that's two years later, he--or three years later, he's giving my father lessons of survival. What's it got to do with the bombing? You know, my question--I, I, I think about it. It's uh, it's fantastic. That's why I say, some of the people in the village were--must have been angels. We have proof. We have twenty-four Jews...

[interruption in interview]

For food.

For food.


Some of them would give me food you know, to take with me, but don't tell where you got it. And some offered me food, "You can eat all you want. The only thing you can have from us is a bottle of water." Because I could have gone to the river and gotten the water, okay? It was not polluted. But they would not give me any food to take. They never asked you know, "Where's your father and mother you know, why are you hiding or where you've been or where you're going?" Never. And they never--they--after the war and during the war, no--they never communicated to each other that they saw Moshka.

All right. I, I would like to come--talk about him when we come back.



© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn