Koppel Gringras’s factory staff

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This large photograph has survived - perhaps it is at Ania's apartment - with the ‘Orion’ factory owner on it, my father, and his entire staff. At that time, on that photograph, the staff numbered some 30, 40 people, of which about ten were family - my sisters and cousins. There are quite a lot of faces there. My father is sitting in the center, and second from right in the second row is my brother Maurycy. The photo could have been taken in 1938.

The firm [Mr. Gringras's father's photographic business] was the main source of income and the genesis of the Orion photographic manufactory and our move from Kolejowa Street to Czysta Street, later known as Marshal Fosz [Foche] Street. I suspect Father took out a loan on that house. My brother-in-law, Chaskiel Majtek, who I talked to just very recently on the telephone, mentioned that Father was verging on bankruptcy, that he was terribly in debt just before the war. That may have been sometime around 1930, 1932, 1931 when the factory was built. It was a small plot. On that plot, a three-story house was built.

We were on the third floor - a three-room apartment: in that apartment there was a bathroom, very modest, but a bathroom it was; and there was a small balcony. I wasn't at home by then, I only came home for the vacations, with the exception of a month's internship somewhere in a factory. I had internships in Andrychow, and in Lodz, in a number of factories, and in a factory near Kielce.

The one apartment on the second floor was made into the shop floor, where the photographic paper was made - the glass plates were made in a more primitive way involving lots of manual work. Most of the machinery in the factory was designed by me and my father. My brother Leopold also worked in the factory, as a chemist. But I don't think Artur worked in the photographic manufactory, because he moved to Czestochowa. Maurycy may have worked in the photographic firm as a retoucher, and apart from that, by then he already had significant artistic interests. He did quite a lot of painting.

Interview details

Interviewee: Julian Gringras
Anka Grupinska
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Warsaw, Poland


Koppel Gringras
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before WW II:
Factory owner

Other Person

Maurycy Gringras
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after WW II
before WW II:
Retoucher and painter
after WW II:
Retoucher and painter

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