Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Immigration to America

And then you decided you, you word came to come to Portland to the United States.

Yes. But uh, at the time my brother left I think I still, my mind was to go. I wanted to go to Israel. But then when he decided to go to United States I say, if I want to--I'll go to Israel and never see him. 'Cause I, my heart was to go to Israel. But then I felt--I got only one, only one left, my family. That's, that's why I decided after awhile, join him, United States.

So you came to New York, got the telegram?

Yeah, they got, it's called a u...a, for new American organization. We're Jewish. Hadassah. Hadassah.


And they had telegram already, they should stop me, not going to Portland Oregon. And they put me on a train to go to Detroit.

At this point you were, how old? Nineteen, twenty?

Let's see, twenty something, twenty. That was in 1951. But, 1951. Twenty-four, twenty-three.

So 1951, so you would have been in Germany for, close to five years.

Yeah, Mm-hm.

So you came to Detroit and when--and you arrived by train from Detroit. Was it hard to ride on trains?

Was it hard to ride on train?

Aft...I mean after your experience.

On the trains? No, I knew this is another life. This--it wasn't. I, I--the feeling was still I'm alone, you know, funny feeling. But I knew I'm gonna see my brother. And uh, the strange, new with. Before yeah, before eh, I know, before eh, coming to United States in the same school I took uh, radio, radio electronics, I took English too. So it was a little bit easier for me when I came to this country. I could speak the language a little bit, then couldn't get lost.

So at this point you could speak English, German...

German, a little German.



Polish. Polish, yeah.


Hebrew, yes some Hebrew.

Do you still speak all these languages?

Eh, not, not fluently. I would say if I, I would say eh, going to learn a language, I wouldn't be hard, like He...Hebrew, because I got the, the basic, I knew a lot of things in it. But if you put me through, I could learn fast.

When you were in the kibbutz did they teach you Hebrew?

Yeah, it was mostly Hebrew.

Tell me what happened when you got to Detroit. You arrived at the train station.

I'm trying to draw it, I was eh, in the [pause] social service.

Jewish Social Service.

Social Service.


Got me a room to stay. They paid for it.

Did you brother meet you at the train station?

Yeah, the brother and my aunt who came down.

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