Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Pre-War Life

This is part two of an interview with Joseph Gringlas at his home in Farmington, Michigan. Uh, part two is continued on January 22, 1993. The interviewer is still Sidney Bolkosky.

I'm, let's, let's um, go back a little bit before the war and see if I can um, ask you a few questions about...


...some of what you already told me. The language that you spoke at home.

We spoke eh, mostly Jewish around.

You spoke Yiddish.

Yiddish. And that was the problem for me was a kid to go to start school. Is-- Polish wasn't good because we spoke all the time as a child and at the p...parents, Jewish--Yiddish, so that, that when I went to school it was a problem for us. And, and you know I remember exactly when the, the teacher were--was uh, mad, he was anti-Semitic too. And he said you eat our bread and you don't speak right Polish.

So you learned Polish in school.

Yeah, I learned Polish at school. But the start was very hard because of that.

So you must have had a Yiddish accent in your Polish.

It uh, it was li....not the accent, Polish accent like a...

Like a...

...like Polish eh, speak. So--but then, then later on I, I was better, you know and eh, then starting to getting a hold of more--the, the, the way to speak it. And got to know the, in eh, teachers. They--you know, you could see they were speaking out about. Like he, like I said, you eat our bread and you don't speak...


...the right eh, Polish. But I--it se...seems to me something was kind of like of, to me, teacher. You know there was always, doing something, anything she want--and one time I never forget that, it was the director of the school and he, his, his birthday was in Pesach. And I was picked the one Jew from the class to go with a group to like address him as for, wish him happy birthday for that director of the school. And it stayed on my, my mind that even there was a lot of anti-Semitic going on, the teacher to me was kind of like, liked, liked eh, to, to tell me what to do, and to help out, things what to help out in class and like picking me out for that--going to the director. There was something struck me, something like that. So I kinda feel kinda close to the teacher at that time.

But you never spoke Polish at home. When you came.

Polish no, mostly Jewish.

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