pg.220 Part 2, CHAPTER 2: Auschwitz (Time Flies)
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Vladek didn't repair shoes for a living, but the fact that he had watched his cousin carefully in his shoe shop gave him the ability to do so. His knowledge and willingness brought him good fortune and food.
"If you want to live, it's good to be friendly." Let's face it, in Vladek's circumstances acting in any other way would probably have cemented a death sentence.