Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Reunited with Brother


He was in Buna. After, after a year and a half I saw--we met each other again. And Buna was--in Buna was barracks, like, it was, but, Buna was a camp but they took you in with guarded SS. But they took you out to work to the factory. You had to march out from the, from the camp to the factory, march out with the SS guarding you. And I was assigned to Kommand...Kommando Zwölf. Okay the Kapo was a J...in, in, in Buna there was a lot of Germans. German Gentile, Germans. Not only Jewish, Germans, were criminals. Like they had a red triangle on that uniform and green triangle. The green were they murderers. For killing somebody in Germany they were sent to be and the red one was like...


Communist, sent to that camp. I, I was assigned to a Kapo with a green, green badge. And what happened, I was, the Kommando was in the bar...the Kommando, every Kommando had a number, I had--because when the commander marched out they a...and they, they told the SS from the, from the, going out from the barracks going to factory, Kommando Zwölf. Not, the Kapo had to say to SS, "Kommando Zwölf, Abteilung..."how many people, so they counted us, getting out going to the factory. So that Kapo was uh, was our Kapo. And uh, and one time he, he said, "Who needs," he needed, he had probably his socks were so worn out with holes and he said, "Who can knit socks?" So I was--I don't know, in school I was very handy, so I work...we learned how to knit. I said, "Yes I can do it." And I and I took the socks and he let, so he didn't take me out of order. You see he had power, he could do something because he was the Kapo. That green eh uh, Kapo, with the green insignia. So he took me and had and he had a little, I don't know you call it, a little hatke, you know what a hatke is? A little building, a little small room and he stayed there and he sleep there. He didn't sleep with us, they had. He could do everything, like food because he had, was a German and he could organize himself. And he--and they call that Pipel, he need somebody to help and do some work for him. And when he told me about, he asked about the knitting his socks and I said, "Yes I can do." I knitted socks. So he took me out of work and, and told me to stay there and clean the inside and help and cook. So I would--it was a little bit better and I had more food too because he was eating where he left off. And one time he came back from work and that Kapo got sick, like. I couldn't recognize the same guy. He came in and was screaming help. "Raus, raus!" to me, I should get out of his little place where he was staying and he and I wa...and I was and I was ??? I got sick a temperature, a temperature at time, I remember, high temperature and he sent me out in wintertime and then suddenly done. He knew I did some work for him, but tried to, he was so happy I was making his socks, he went out and he got me the hardest work to carry long woods, long, those, those woods uh, from the wood, from tar ??? you know and make the wood?

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn