Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Conditions in Buna

What kind of work did you do after that at uh, was there, was there other work...

Okay, in Buna, yeah,

...you said there was...

...excuse me, in Buna when I, they assigned me just long before I got that Kapo that I told you, I had to sign up to unload from trains. They put in the sewer, big cement, cement around, you know, the cement for to put in the ground for sewers. That, that was a sign up. And it was--I was, you know, a small and, and young and this was big one like this room. And we unloaded, we had to roll it down, you know, not to break, otherwise you break it you'd be killed. So we, I don't know it was a few, when we figured out how to put piece of wood on, little by little get it down. But this was heavy.

And did they feed--did they give you extra rations for that kind of work?

No, same rations.

Same rations for everybody.


When you--at night in the barracks, what did you think about at night?

At night in bar...you were thinking about if we could not wake up would be the best thing.

If you had died.

If you died it would be just natural death. Because you're not gonna, the power we saw in the German power, nobody would believe that anybody gonna come out of it. This is the end of it. So what are you going to live, another few, another few months? We wished that we'd go to lay down on that, that wo...the barrack on the wood, shouldn't get up.

Were there suicides?

Eh, no, I don't know, at--unless, unless.

Not anybody throw themselves on the wires?

Yes, in Au...in Birkenau, going back to Birkenau, I've seen people throwing themself to, as soon you got to the electrical wiring in the fence you ex...eh, electrocuted, instant. Oh if, if they saw you going to they would kill you before you get electrocuted, from the guards.

Did you ever think in, in your, on your boards at night, about your family, about your home?

Oh yeah, all the, never got out of my mind, always think of my family.

Did you think they were alive? Any hope that they were alive? Just your brother?

Yeah and my brother was--as I say, I remember I met him in Buna that.

What kind of a reunion was that?

Oh, you know something about--he had--he was a tailor already. He was older than me, he was a tailor and he and he worked already for the Kapos, for the German Kapos--I mean the German Kapos--when Kapos--with the uniforms too.

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