Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Deportation of Family

Was it Hochofen?

Hochofen, yeah. And, and my brother and me worked at uh, this Hochofen. So, the way we--and when the Auflösen come and the liquidation of the Jewish people in my hometown. And at night before, when that happened, we had a feeling already they're surrounding, Ukrainian and Germans surrounding our town, because we hear, they systematically did from one town to the--another town and we knew it was getting close to our town. That was a Saturday night. And I, my, I went to go, I was going to a night shift in that metal factory and my brother was in day shift. But, so I went the Saturday night, at night when I went to, to work--to go to work to that metal factory. So I knew already I'm not going to see my parents anymore, that was the last time. 'Cause I know about, cause I knew it, I'm going to exist for awhile because I'm working, they need me for their war, so they're going to let me live awhile. And so I, I had a terrible feeling I know that's, I'm going to see my family. And that same--next morning, it was Sunday morning that liquidation started. And my brother was on the list that he worked on that, in that, in that metal factory. So at night after the whole day when was the Aus...the Aussiedlung, that liquidation of the Jewish people. So he came around, five, six o'clock they took him down because he was on the list as working. So they picked him up from the, from the people and he and I saw him in the, in the evening in the factory. So I was crying terrible, I knew that what happened that time.

You were fifteen.

I was about fifteen years old.

Do you know what happened to them?


Aussiedlung. Resettlement, right?

If something happened after the, when I was, I was in that factory, they didn't let me, in the morning when there was the liquidation, they didn't let me get back home, they, at the time because they, they kept me there. Usually in the night cause I work, I was working, the morning I would go back to home. I would go there by guards, you know, they take, go there to get you, it was a ghetto. But after that night with the liquidation, they didn't let me go back to home because that was it.

They kept you in factory?

Stayed, stayed in the factory all day long and when I saw my brother coming in, in that day at six o'clock, he came down and they kept us in the factory for a few--for a week, because there's no place where to go. They kept--we, we were sleep, laying down on the ground there for a few nights. Then after those were left from us, from the factory, working for the Germans, they took us to give us a little, few blocks in my hometown. We should live there, live in that, those whatever place we stayed. 'Cause it was unbearable to stay laying on the ground in the, in the, in that factory. So we came--it was after a few days we came back, they give us uh, like a few streets. Those, the people what worked in the factory and, and I talked to the people that were stay...there were some people there. I don't know they working, I don't know where, but they, from my hometown, they told me they saw my father and mother and my sister. However before we came back to the ghe...ghetto to stay there, they told they took them away. That means that my father and mother was hidden and sister at the time the liquidation. But prob...a few days later they got out, took them out and they were sent to Majdanek.


Yeah. So it was just about an hour before when I--they took us from the factory, to that little street to live. So that, that was the feeling that uh, that they were sent to Majdanek.

Did you know what was going on at Majdanek?

No, I--I know yes, I don't know, I wen...I knew what was going on at Majdanek because uh, we had an, we knew already that, going on that they, they send them to gas them at that time.

You knew about the gas chambers.


There were rumors?

That time was rumors that they're killing them and they--and those people were taken to work they just keep them for awhile because how long can you exist if you don't, if you're not getting food and you work hard labor, you don't gonna to exist too long.

When, when was this, do you remember?

1943, I think.


Yeah, I think so. End of '43 like.


Yom Kippur.

So it was in the fall.

Fall, yeah.

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