Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


The Kommandant?

Kommandant, he's one of the leaders. And then from, from Auschwitz after a few hours there. And uh, we went up there, on top of that, there where they go when the trains went by like the guards made a special to look up, you know eh, a high bell that can look out and see what's going on. So I was with my children and my son-in-law and my wife. And, and we had, at the end I said something. I said, I said eh, "How wonderful the children had interested to come and go so far away and to and to see the whole thing what I went through." I said, "This should be the last time the Holocaust happened this world. And because there's a lot of things going on now that people didn't learn anything from this gruesome war, what happened, how people suffered. And we lost our six million of our Jewish people." And we went back home.

When you were in Birkenau, when you went to visit Birkenau, did you go to specific places that you remembered in the camp?

Yeah uh, as, but we walk in Birkenau inside the big--that where the fence go by, is a wall and the wall is a plan from the, from, from all the plan, all from Birkenau the, where all the crematoriums and the barracks were. And I told my son-in-law, I said see this, I was in D. And it was right there where the section D was the barracks where I wa...I was staying.

It must have been hard to go back.

It was very hard. It was, it was very hard uh, I. Before I left going to that trip I went to my doctor and he said, "Are you crazy to go back there?" So I said, I said "My children are interested to go and want to see what went on there." And then he gave me some, gave me some pills. In eh, in, in case I feel very. And I was, in my hometown I felt worse, I don't know why, I felt wor...I was very, like, it, it's just I couldn't, I couldn't get myself together. It was just unbelievable. And, and, and, and my--and then my daughter said, you're going to take those pills you won't be able to tell me anything. So I didn't take it. And in Auschwitz I uh, I explained everything. I say I was there. It was terrible. It was unbelievable, that people going through that.

You told them specific stories about...

Specific stories what went on. And it was recorded on video camera, my son in law had. And he asked me, I told him about Mengele and how he picked me out to go to Buna where I met, again--that my brother there. So it's, it was, it was unbelievable story to be able to, to go through that. But it's, the good feeling was that I was alive and was with my children together there. See what went on.

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