Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Transport to Auschwitz-Birkenau

How did they do that? Did they call everybody out?

Yeah. They--we knew that something had happened. How did we knew, they, they at the time when they liqui...they're going to send people out from the, Blizyn, they surround with military--that was military with tanks in the morning. So nobody escaped from there. And we had, there was a feeling already that the Russians going in the, get...getting after the Germans and they're getting closer to, to Poland. So eh, they starting liquidate Blizyn. So in the morning they surround...they took us out from the barrack in they--on the Pla... Platzappell and they counted us and then what we saw right away there was--those were military. Those were not citiz...military soldiers, Germans. 'Cause they needed a lot of more to guard us. So there was most of the guns just pointing at us, like this. What are they going to give, give us--kill us, but no they want to take, watch u...they guard us, that we go over to the train. And the train went to Kielce through the woods. And suddenly we hear guns. Yeah, at the trains we're loading, they loaded us on the trains.

Was this the first time you were on a train? Had you, had you uh, gotten to Blizyn on a train as well?

Yeah, I think that Blizyn, yeah, it was, I was.

Or by truck?

No, was I think trucks. I can't remember. But from Blizyn to go and they took us up from Blizyn it was on trains, from Blizyn to going to Birkenau-Auschwitz quite awhile because...

What kind of trains? Cattle cars?

The train was uh, uh, like wagons, but not passenger, it was like, uh.

Cattle cars.

Cattle train...

What was it like...

And they would.

...in the train?

It was, they put us in a lot of, lot of in the train, uh.

What was it like in the train?

Eh, like train like you, commercial trains like loading any coals or metals, trains like that. And they put us together and on the, on top of the train was SS sitting with a gun--machine gun. And we're going through by the eh, going with the train from, from Blizyn to Birkenau-Auschwitz. There was fighti...in the tr...going through, through the, through the trees, through the woods, we heard fighting like comi...like somebody shooting at the SS. And, and oh, I said now it was partisans hitting the train. And we thought we happ...we were happy. Maybe we were going to liberated right there. But I guess the power--they overpowered them and train went through to Blizyn...

How long...

...to Auschwitz.

...how long did it take to get to get from Blizyn to Auschwitz?

Blizyn to Auschwitz it took uh, let's, if I remember exactly it was quite a few hours.

But not overnight?

Not overnight. It was during day light.

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