Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Return to Poland

The following is the conclusion of the interview with Joseph Gringlas uh, conducted on the morning of March 18th, also at his home. Um, the interviewer is still Sidney Bolkosky.

Um, I'd like you to talk to me a little bit about your trip back to Poland. When did you go?

Went uh, last year, in June. My wife's family arranged a trip to go Czechoslovakia and uh, at that time eh, my, my wife wanted me--I should go with them to, to Czechoslovakia. And I said then, then we had a meeting with the family, my family and then they opened up a map. I said my hometown was right there on the map. It hit me something and said if we go to Czechoslovakia, we go for a few days to Poland. And when we called my daughter and she was always interested in going to where I came from and also see the camp where I was in Auschwitz. So last June we went to--we landed in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam we went to Poland, and first thing we went in Warsaw. Eh, we came to Warsaw right away we checked in hotel. First thing what did went out, we didn't stay in hotel at all, went, went right away to look. There, where it was there, the ghetto, was the ghetto, which is already--everything is, not much to see. Just a monument only, yeah. They changed--they build up, everything was built up. But you, we could see what went on there. It was terrible. How and there's a short, they were--went to Umschlagplatz, a place. That's a place they surround from the ghetto and sent them to Auschwitz, from Warsaw ghetto. From there we went to my hometown. Went to the ??? hometown in Warsaw. From, from Warsaw we, we went to my hometown, Ostrowiec. And we came in, I, I couldn't recognize the town completely. So many years, fifty years almost. It was...

Did you take a train to Ostrowiec?

No we went, we rented...


Rented a car. We came in I, I was feeling so terrible. First I felt terrible that came back all my memories from Poland. And secondly, I couldn't rec...because, there was a cemetery. The whole cemetery was destroyed completely by the Polish government. The city employ...officials. And they cut the who...they left a, a little bit of space for the grave from the, the, from the graves, they took out that eh, what do you call it, those monuments...


...from the Jewish people were buried there. And they left it on a space. The rest was made a park. So I--you looked in and stranger couldn't, I couldn't find where it was, where it was. And then suddenly we talked to some Polish guy and he said that there some from Jewish, from Jewish people from Israel came down there and they, they were fighting the government, wanted to completely destroy everything. Let us show there was a cemetery. The cemetery by the way is 300 years old. So--but they came from, from Israel to fight the gov...the officials from my Ost...from my town. And they, they allowed to leave a little, a few gra...a few of those monuments and eh, and eh, made a fence around. And there's a sign that this was a cem...eh, Jewish cemetery. It was original from nineteen--from 1600 which is about over 300 years old. And then I was looking by the house I was born and took my daughter went up. So a woman came out.

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