Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Koby - April 20, 1999

Feelings about Partisans

No. Last time we talked um, before we come to the--we'll come back to the liberation, we still didn't really talk about it um, we were talking about "Zog Nit Keynmol."

The what?

"Zog Nit Keynmol."

"Zog Nit Keynmol"


About the song, yeah.

Yeah. What, what are your feelings about the song? You were--you started to tell me you, you had some fairly strong feelings about it?

I don't like it. I mean, I have...

It's the, it's the partisan song.

...no feeling for it.

The partisan song.

But it's not actually a partisan, it takes in the ghetto and the--everybody else. You know, the man I was going to write, Benny, the...


...you know, I was going to--he said to me, he says "You know, we were a bunch of sheep in Poland. We had no leaders. We had no organization. We had no one to tell you know, to inspire us."


That's, that's the way I feel.


There was no--there...

You think it would have made a difference if you had a leadership?

I think so. You know, if you have a hundred Jews walking with guns down the street with a--you know, like a partisan group, because through our village you know, we had uh, like two--once--I mean, sometimes under the German occupation, like two uh, two, two groups move through the village, not at the same time. They were partisans okay? Horses and wagons and on foot you know, on horse--and on horses. The, the whole shebang, a motley crew of gypsies.



Where would a hundred Jews get guns?

Where did other people get their guns? Where do the--where did the partisans get their guns? You mean they were not--there were no straight Germans you know, you know, going on the highway in one truck at a time?

So you'd steal them?

Or they'd ???--how did the--how did everybody else get guns? How come the Ukrainians had guns and the Jews didn't?

They got them from the military. From, from the underground.

There were guns--in 1941, in the summer of 1941, in our village you know, where the Klimchuk brothers lived you know, they were about two kilometers apart, maybe a kilometer and a half, there was a big battle. And there were you know, a lot of Russian soldiers got killed. In fact, Olga wrote me, they're all buried in a common gave. You know, the--the Ukrainian expression is "brotherly grave," one common grave, okay?


And they left all kinds of equipment there. Mr. Klimchuk offered my father two--those--you know, those Russian tommy guns you know, you those--with the, with the, with the rings. Guess what? My father didn't take it! "Dad--so why didn't you take it, Pa?" He says, "What am I going to do with it? I don't know how to use it." "??? you know, maybe if you took it apart and you know, put it back together, who knows? You'll figure out something." Mr. Klimchuk said to him, he said, "Kobylanski, you take the guns. If they come, they find you, they attack, they want to kill you, let them pay too. Use it." Guess what? He didn't take it.

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