Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999


What was the lesson he taught you?

You don't take the main roads. So I started walking through the meadow. The only problem was, it was wet and it was sloshing. So you can't walk in a sloshing mea...uh, meadow, can you? Because somebody is going to hear. Who walks around in the meadow and sloshes.

Uh-huh. So what did you do?

I got off the road--I got from the meadow, I went to the road. And uh, the, the fields were to the left. You see, I was walking east. To the west was the meadow with the river, with the sloshing and there was a narrow road between the meadow and the hills, and the fields and I went through the fields.


No one walks in the fields.

Let me ask you a question about this. Do you still not take the main roads when you go around places?

Oh, no, I take main roads. I do not...

I mean, it sounds like that's the main lesson that, that was the main lesson you learned on how to survive.

The main lesson--the main--I don't know. The main lesson was--is that it's always--I told you that before, that if there is construction somewheres, a building--okay, you don't have a forest here, you don't have the meadows...


...and you don't have the fields. If--you always see a building--a new building of some sort going up, you always--it's automatic--it hits me right away, is there a hiding place in there?

So you...

Will there be a hiding place there?

Did Mr. Czepko teach you that, look--always look for a place to hide?


You learned that on your own.


You learned that by yourself?

Self, yes. He never told us about that. But he told us, you don't walk the main roads. You don't walk in the moonlight. You don't walk...


You don't walk in areas where might--lovers might be hiding, okay? You don't go somewhere around the end of a street and so...you don't uh--you walk after eleven--twelve o'clock. Don't forget, we have no electricity. We have no--very few people have a clock or a watch, okay? And you go down--you go--after you ate dinner, you go to bed, because you have to--morning, you work hard, they're hardworking people. They've got to get all the rest they can for tomorrow, except lovers.

They don't need rest.

They--well, they always somewheres. Because they used to get together you know and they sing, you know when they get together, three or four couples. You know, you can't always be hiding with your girlfriend somewheres. Somebody else always watching you, whether it's the chaperones or, or whatever. They get together and they sit on somebody's stoop and they sing. So you can't walk in front of their house or walk you know, then who knows where they're hiding.

And if there's a full moon at night, now you...

You got to be care...you don't walk.

Do you--when you go out at night and you see a full moon...

Oh, I know what it's all about.

Do you still think of it?

I still think about Mr. Czepko, with--about the lesson. The shadows, the moving shadows, on the ground.

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