Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Gringlas - January 14 & 22, March 18, 1993

Forced Labor

Now how did, how did it come that you were taken away for work?

Okay, now after, after liquidation, as I told you, that I was uh, working for that Hochofen.

Yeah, tell me how you came to work for Hochofen first.

How eh, first we worked, they took us, to a--if you knew, only thing I'm feeling was if you're going to work for something they're going to hold on to you. They're going to let you stay. So I was only--I--my brother and me we were young. The other brothers were working, they had to work for life so they couldn't work, they went, one was a tailor and one was a carpenter, so they, they didn't work for that, in a ??? we worked, we worked, like my brother and me worked for that Hochofen, so that's what we--that, that, the way they, we knew that the feeling that the only way to exist for awhile is to work. So I went working in the factory, started working something else, go for just take train, laying those metal for the trains to go through.

Tracks you mean?

Tracks, you put the tr...and this, I was working with that and that was very hard working, because to, especially the clay dust digging in the sides that the tracks. And that, that was in the factory, started with us, wo...and, and I was working that group that does tracks. But then they needed for the, for the--to make this metal they need a lot, to throw in the oven all kinds of material like eh, cokes, called cokes. It's, it looks like coal but it's not, it's lighter and those what gives that heat for the oven eh, for the ovens to burn. So I unloaded--I was taken in, I, for unloading those cokes for the ovens. And the, the tra...the bags was so big, I was little, I was young. And I had--we--three or four people asked unloading a bag like this, it's unbelievable. Anyway.

How many...

When, when we went back to the ghetto after working in that Hochofen and we went and they give us that few streets to live, all that group, it was a lot of people from us that work in the factory.

You worked for Hochofen for how long?

Oh, I was there about uh, five, six months, something like that. And then.

From 1940 to...

Yeah oh, I was working before yeah, as soon as I started, not just the time of liquida...I was working there five--because at, at liquidation if you want to go and save yourself, go to work. You couldn't get in, there was a list that you worked there, see? You had to be working a long time to be able to, to be--having there.

Before we go, you were supervised by German civilians...


...at Hochofen?

Is--there were Gentiles working the same as Hochofen, Gentiles working with us. Got--everyday morning going to work and going home.


Polish, yeah, the Gentile people were Polish.

And the supervisors were German?

Yeah, they were soldiers, you know, like...


Military guard...guarding us, you know, around the huts you were with the guns, make sure that you're working, you know.

But did you have any civilian supervisors as well?

They Ukrainians, yeah. And eh, after being there quite awhile, eh I mean working there and wh...and then they--I was with my brother at that, that little ghetto where they, what's left of it when the people that working at Hochofen and, and on a Sunday, they made a liqui...like, like eh, as, a Appell to get them all out, outside.

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