Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


One other thing that I noticed in your, in your son's essay that you, you didn't tell me too much about, was the arrival at Gleiwitz and the story about you...


...you and your brother went to the latrines.

Yeah, I, I think I told you about it.

But tell me more about it. What was it like there?

At eh, in Gleiwitz eh, the, after that night from, that's from Blizyn I think. It was coming from

From Blizyn to Birkenau...


Birkenau to Buna.

Yeah, yeah, when, when the Birkenau was liquidated and they, they, they want to accumulate all the people from all camps around. Not just was--Birkenau was someplace else. And that, there was barracks in that Gleiwitz. And, and we opened up the barrack to get in and we saw you'll get in, you'll never get out, because one was stamping on top of the other one. So I went and I stayed in latrine.


Lat...uh, in the bathroom.

What was it like in there?

Oh, it was terrible. It was all that urine in it and everything, it was terrible. And you stand in, just like close to the front to get some fresh air. It was, I, I think I must have stayed there all night long like this, because you couldn't get in the barracks--there was--people were stamping one on top of the other.

So you were standing in the urine and excrement and all of that.

That's right. And the, and the next morning, I was, I don't know how long we been in Gleiwitz, a couple days maybe or something and uh, next morning they were out very early in the morning, about six o'clock, they came in with, with the guns, SS. There were soldiers too. Any time they needed to, so many people to take care, they had soldiers with them.


The SS.

Wehrmacht soldiers.



Yeah. And they were running with the guns and I told you my brother got hit from the back with the gun, he was bleeding. And we--they were loading us on those half train, which took, we went to Nordhausen, two, two weeks that I told you about it.

What did it feel like? You came out of the latrine, you were standing in this...


...human refuse.


And you didn't take a shower, you didn't bathe.


What must, what was it like?

It--at that time that they didn't, before, when they were still, when I was in camp, they give you a soap to clean, there was something you could do, clean yourself. But that time in Gleiwitz was, it was a chaos. So it was--no, no cleanliness at all.

Uh, not--so you left the latrine in Gleiwitz and then right to the train.

Yeah, the train. Order us to the train. The train was half-trains, I told you and I told you quite about it.

The story about throwing the food down.

Yeah, Mm-hm.

I--last time we finished um, you had already gone back to Ostrowiec?


Then to Warsaw?

Yeah, after the war.

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