Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

The Beriha

United Nations.

United, yeah and they helped--they, get to the, get--send us, get us stand up by our feet. But I was in kibbutz there. And kibbutz was eh, I was there a few months in kibbutz, organizing the kibbutz. And they, they, they asked who volunteered to go back to the border, which I was going to Czechoslovakia coming to Germany to kibbutz, to get people, bring them from one place to the other, from Czechoslovakia to Germany. They were came from Poland they came all over. And I, I volunteered in the kibbutz to go back and worked in, on the border, it's called Beriha. And eh, there was, walking through the woods and be...and there was a place was named Selb, there was on German side on the border. And I think it was Aŝ. It was the other side, Czechoslovakia. ??? Aš. And that, we were living in, we were in a, that group organized for that volunteer for that border, we were in, in the Czechoslovakian side. And every--in the middle of the night, we had to go about three o'clock, we organized the people that want to go through. And I--it was a group going, a long group, one was in front and I was in back and going through the woods and we're going to--in--going to the border to Germany--border. And came in the morning German border--the train, waiting for the train to take them where they're going in land. So the train came in and I jumped on the train in front and it was taking German people were waiting to go in on the train. And I said, I said in German, "Keine nicht eintreten bis unsere Leuten alle sind in." Don't go in on the train until our people are in. They knew our people were Jewish people. They were afra...the Germans were afraid at that time, after the war. They listened--until our people were sitting down, then they came in. So they and they were going, I had a good feeling you know, you know, that I tell them that you go--our people has to go in first and you going to go behind them when you have room. Anyway they--our people went back through the, on the lan...land in Germany. I went back to Czechoslovakia with a few boys begging for. One night we got trouble, going to the border to Czechoslovakian saw eh, the, the guards, the Czechoslovakian guards saw us and they, they--shooting in the sky. So shoot-- stopped the whole transport. And they took us from the border back to the military there. Military unit, the Czechoslovakian. They say smelinar. Smelinar mean that people black market, you know trying to move back and forth that borders. You know one recognized me from seeing me around that place and he said, "You are the leader from the--and he hit me right in the face. But that--and then all the people had to take out dollars and everything what they had. There was a lot of. We were, we were organized not to make any black market, we organized people going to, going to border because they going to Israel, because I was volunteering for this job. But there was a lot of people going with the group that had black market, going back and forth. So they had, they had to take everything out, leaving there that uh, that--at that guard point. And they let them go. But they, they didn't do any harm to us. But I was hit because he said you must be one of the leaders--taking. And we coming back, then after a few months staying there work...working deep snow to boots at winter time, I got sick, in kibbutz. And then they, they sent some other two boys from the kibbutz after they--to relieve us, we went back. So I was sick in that place, sick at the kibbutz. And then we started getting close at Aliya Bet. So the--they were coming at night-- even they woke us up, we have to go, leave the kibbutz. And we're going to Ita...Italy, to going load on the ship, going to Palestine. There was no Israel at that time yet.

No, right.

So I--they put, they put me on the, in the one which volunteered. I was doing something for the kibbutz, they put me on first to go on that, first people to go from the group to go to Israel. So I said, "Listen, I've got my brother here," and my brother had already had, he was married already in kibbutz, "and I want to be together. We're the only two."

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