Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Guards in Blizyn

Did you ever encounter any Wehrmacht soldiers? Was there a difference between SS and Wehrmacht?

Yeah, there was a eh, in Blizyn was, it took, it was SS, it was gendarmerie. SS were greenish uniform, gendarmerie was a lighter uniform. And Ukrainian was there. And Wehrmacht, Wehrmacht you'd cou...counted when you were out of-- some working for them, they would count a lot. But not in, not in the, in mostly in the concen...we counted SS Ukrainians.

Was it all the same whether it was Wehrmacht or gendarmes or...

Oh yeah. One thing in Blizyn I have to tell you. There was somebody, they called him ???, that was the name we gave him because he had, he was limping on the feet. He was a gendarmerie.

And Gendarmerie were Polish police?

No, no, the Gendarmerie was the German Gendarmerie.

German, okay.

So, he only from Blizyn he was good. Why was he good? Because he told you, he wanted--he didn't he...he was under Höss, doing something for him--working for him. He wouldn't hurt you. So you knew that if he doesn't hurt you, he's got some feeling. And one time I remember Blizyn, he took us...I was talk, I was talking about that gendarmerie which were more underst...some had some fe...humane feeling. And, and they needed two people to dig out in the woods in Blizyn. A grave, so, usually you thought you were going digging for yourself.

You knew that? You'd seen that happen.

Yeah, that's the way, the reason, it helped you out. So I need two men. And I was taken out for group to dig with another guy that grave. And that Gendarmerie what I told you, he was, he was really good feeling. He said to me, "No, this is not for you, this for somebody else. But I'm sorry I have to do that." he said. He didn't hurt us at the time. We digged and they took us, took out the other people to be killed and be buried there. Bad. There was another Gendarmerie, it was terrible. He was, ev...even if you worked he would hit you, you know sometimes you didn't work, you'd say why even work if he's going to hurt you. Eight, eight lashes, give you on the head, that's, that only they hit is on the head. And he was uh, he was hitting right on head for no reason, we worked he came and, "Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude."

So you were beaten on the head as well?


They--you spoke to them in German?

They spoke to you, we didn't, we couldn't speak too much them. They spoke to you, said "Los, los! Arbeit!"

And this other man, this good Gendarmerie...

Yeah, the good one ???

...he also spoke to you in German?

In German yeah.

And these are SS men?

No, those were Gendarmerie, SS were uniform, the green uniform.

Okay, so the Gendarmeries were

Gendarmerie, it was a different type of unit of the military.

Military police.

But they were just lighter color uniforms.

What happened um, after Blizyn?

Blizyn uh, after being there probably a year or so and we knew that the Russian front is getting close, close to Poland you know. So they liquidated Blizyn and sent us to Auschwitz. So they loaded us...

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