Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Talking about Experiences

Was it hard to talk about it? Is it hard to talk about it?

Is it hard to talk? It's hard to talk about it, yes, because it's, it's, it's not something, a story to tell which is very, how do you say, agono...pleasant, to talk about it, so. Especially talk to your own children. It, it's, it's not--it's very hard to tell.

Um, but you told him. You gave him.


And Marcy too.


You talked to her as well?

Yeah, sure.

Did she hear it from Larry?

She heard from Larry, of course.

Um, w...when--is there anything during, during the course of a normal day that might remind you of something that happened during the war, that you see? A train, a chimney.

Yeah. Oh sure. It, it reminds you a lot.

Like, like what for example?

When you, especially when you go to cemetery or other things when...


...and when you--especially seeing a lot of, even when you wa...put on the television news and you see the crime going on. It just brings you back to people suffer--went through. You know, it brings all--it's, it's always with you, it's. I don't think it can ??? your heart.

So, I mean it obviously doesn't dominate your life, but it affects some of what.

It eh, it's good to be busy, you know. It's eh, good to be--keep your mind busy and. Because if you don't, most of the time if you have too much time it comes to you back. Could feel, some...even you're married and you have a family, still there's a loneness and that you lost the--it's, you know, if they say life goes on, but, it goes on but this doesn't go away.

Did your children ever ask about grandparents, about their grandparents?

Yeah, they ask.

When they were young?

Mm-hm. Ask, yeah, but they notice that there's no--when they understood some that what happened to my family they knew what happened to their grandparents, they're gone.

But I mean when they were younger, did they ever ask you why we don't have grandparents, or?

I can't, I don't remember if they ask, I never hear them asking but they--later on they understood that what happened and got the knowledge what's went on, they understood what happened to their grandparents, their uh, grandparents. The, they, they went with friends from United, from school, like going special occasions that other families. They knew that they have grandparents and when, in our family they didn't see, they didn't have the grandparents from my family.

Or aunts or uncles.

There were some uncles still alive and they came, so they saw them I'm sure. On my mother's side. Still cousins there in Detroit. But I don't know. There's a distance. It's uh, well it's--but I think it's uh, all, all bad occasions, that's all I see. There's--how I can explain, there's not a--it's not a cousin you sit down and talk about it, you tell, there's no feeling about.

Because they weren't there.


Because they weren't there?

No, I'm talking about the cou...American cousins, which didn't know, going through that.

But they don't have any feeling for it.

I don't think so.

Because they weren't there, right?

And I think that the parents, some people, even strange people, strange people, which is not family, from other people went through and they and they helped a lot out, cause. You know, talking, it's not, it doesn't have to be a family to be, to be eh, close or get to feelings about it. Other people which are, some of--strange people who sometimes show that, that they're very sorry about it and they feel bad about it, what happened.

Why do you think they don't have any feelings for it?

Why? I don't know, it, it, it's a big long story. When I was a child I remember my brothers, my mother's brother eh, it was strange. I mean there was no closeness at all. So when I came to Detroit didn't--feeling wasn't so good, 'cause I was-- remember. A lot of thi...I remember even going to school. We're going in, in Germany school, about electronics and there was from ORTs came people say, "Do you have anybody in the United States? Maybe should help to get-- something." I don't think there was, no there was no answer back. So, I don't know, this. Certain families have no feelings, you know that. There's, so.

But people in general who don't respond sympathetically to the story, who don't want to hear about it or whatever...


...whether they're family or not family, why do you think they don't want to hear about it? I mean it...

No, mostly, mostly wouldn't show that they don't want to hear about it. Mostly if they ask questions they want to...

If they ask, yeah.

...hear about it.

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