Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau

When you arrived at Birkenau and the train opened--the door opened, what do you remember happening then?

We arrived in Birkenau and eh, and the train opened up and we saw standing right, SS with, with those dogs and it was terrible. At that tr...eh, but a lot of other trains come in there, Birkenau was with women, with children, with a lot of family you know. But from Blizyn we were not, we were just work from Blizyn. So we came there and we opened up maybe--there was a lot of SS and they were saying eh, to right to the left. What they say that--you, you did what they told you to do. We didn't know what's, which way's going to be good, which way is going to be bad. But we found it out. That I was put on, on the side to stay on for awhile. The other group, sent right into the gas chamber.

You went through the selection?

Yeah, this was selection. And another thing I remember, I had a, a can, a metal can and I was so thirsty. I arrived in Birkenau, it was terrible. I, I'd be--I was, needed dr...to drink, I didn't talk about hunger, but the drink, I was thirsty. And it must be a rain, rain before we came and there was a ditch, it was like ditch from, you know things where they making bricks.


It was like, it was, the color of the water looked like a brownish color. I drink that from that can. I, I was so thirsty. Never forget. Things stay--sticks out with you.

Do you remember at the front of the line on the ramp, at the selection, was it Mengele who was in front?

It must have been, I--but I didn't know, who's Mengele. But I saw SS man.


After the war I found out that was, yeah, yeah.

So you were sent to one side or the other.

One side or the other side.

And what happened then?

Okay, I eh, next eh, when we, then they took us to our barrack. Big barrack. And for a lot of people had to be, be in barrack and to lay, you know, to lay on those wooden things. And they, they didn't take us to work, so if you, you know. But so they took us in a quaran...call it quaranti...quarantine...




They checked us if anybody. I'll tell you this, this was a, after we were there already selected to work. They--checked us if we have any sickness or what, because they're afraid if any sickness it's going to spread.

How did they do this, some doct...some SS men came into the barracks.

Yeah and they said, yeah, exactly, doctors came in, the, the German doctors. They checked and see if we, we were sick.

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