Scrapbookpages Blog

January 8, 2017

Holocaust victims had to wear “ersatz trousers”

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:24 am
Holocaust survivor holds her late husband's trousers that he wore at Auschwitz

Holocaust survivor holds the trousers that her late husband wore at Auschwitz where he was a prisoner

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at

Begin quote

In a carrier bag stowed at the top of her wardrobe, Sybil Van der Velde keeps a pair of trousers. They are made of a thick ersatz cloth, striped blue and a white that has slowly yellowed over the decades.

The bottoms are frayed and legs flecked with stains. Still, unmistakably, they are the uniform of the dreaded Auschwitz concentration camp. Clothes synonymous with the worst of humanity, and for Sybil’s husband Joe, the only possessions he had left in the world for four interminable years living in the shadow of the gas chambers.  [ ]

End quote

Ersatz was a word that was frequently used during World War II, when many things, such as coffee, were rationed. Civilians in America had to drink “ersatz coffee” because real coffee was rationed.

But coffee beans were not rationed; my family bought coffee beans and ground them in a coffee grinder, which I still have in my house, just as this woman has her husband’s “ersatz trousers”.

I vaguely recall reading about this woman’s story before, and as I recall, I blogged about it at that time.

How does this woman know that her husband wore this exact pair of pants?

The background in the photo shows that she is currently living in luxury, but she is still complaining. I think that she somehow found a pair of pants that look like what the prisoners wore at Auschwitz, but are not authentic.


  1. The Telegraph article above says the following;-

    “This year marks the 40th series of Antiques Roadshow and the Holocaust programme is believed to be the first time in its history where objects have not had a value placed on them. “It would have been entirely inappropriate and wrong,” Fiona Bruce [the presenter] says. “What value can you put on a child’s shirt with a yellow star on? What value can you put on Joe’s trousers?”

    Well, I’m quite certain that old Joe’s trousers would be worth quite a lot of money at an auction, because there are countless holohoax museums scattered around the world who would eagerly bid against one another in order to put them on display alongside all the other fraudulent tat in their ridiculous institutions. But even if you couldn’t get an ideal price from this source, then you could advertise the trousers on e-bay, and invite the internet community to put in their bids.

    The article goes on;-

    “During filming presenter Fiona Bruce interviewed dozens of people who had gathered at the Foreign Office as part of an ongoing Government scheme to collect testimonials from survivors of the Holocaust.”

    What on earth is the British Foreign Office doing collecting all these testimonials. Haven’t the civil servants who work there got better things to do with their time – like working on Britain’s international relations with the rest of the world. Why would they need to collect all these fabricated and embellished stories – because even if the “survivors” are genuine and honest, then their testimonials are bound to be full of false memories, hearsay, and jumbled-up reminiscences.

    The article continues;-

    “The objects range from the poignant to the utterly chilling. One item inspected by the programme’s experts is a Nazi board game from 1938 called “Jews Out”. In the game players are urged to travel around the board ‘collecting’ Jewish people. When they have six they are sent to Palestine.”

    You think that you’ve heard every crazy holocaust tale that anyone could possibly dream up, and then you have to listen to something even more crazy. Can you imagine that any German family would sit down in their parlour room on a Sunday afternoon and play a board game together called “Jews Out”? Its unlikely that even a platoon of off-duty stormtroopers in their barracks would idle away the hours in such a weird pursuit.

    And, of course, its only when the player picks up 6 Jews ( ie;- a prophetic reference to the future magical 6 million number ) that they can all be sent to Palestine.

    Comment by Talbot — January 9, 2017 @ 10:05 am

  2. Van de Velde is a name found more in Belgium than in Holland. Most common in Hollland is: Van Der Velden. The jewish is Van der Velde – without the end-N. There are some real Dutch names like De Vries that can also be jewish and indeed there are also some non-jewish Van de Velde.
    Now about the trousers. Why should they be ERSATZ? They look good to me. As FG mentioned coffee (Muckerfucht) could be ersatz or tea and of course gin.
    Do I understand well that these trousers lasted at least 4 years? And they have stains on them. Were they never washed? But the stains were acquired under the shadows of the gas chambers. Oh Horror. What a story!

    Comment by Dr Kim — January 9, 2017 @ 2:24 am

    • The clothing worn by the prisoners in the camps was washed.
      I wrote about the laundry at Auschwitz on my website:

      The folLowing quote is from my website:

      “When I visited Block 11 at Auschwitz in October 2005, there was a souvenir stand in the wooden building shown in the photo below. This building was the “New Laundry,” according to the camp guidebook. It is across the street from the entrance to Block 11. Behind the laundry is the former theater building, which was used for storage of the property taken from the prisoners when they arrived.”

      Comment by furtherglory — January 9, 2017 @ 7:39 am

  3. Even the photo caption is a lie, because they are saying that Sybil herself is a “holocaust survivor” – which she’s not. She was living in North London during the war and thus does not qualify for that very dubious status – even according to official holocaust rules.

    The Daily Telegraph piece says the following about our beloved Sybil;-

    “A few years ago she donated the trousers to a museum in Hendon, but ended up being so wracked by guilt that a few weeks later her grandson had to go and ask for them back. She has vowed instead to keep them until she dies before passing them back to the museum collection.“It’s not that I’ve grown attached to them,” she says. “But they were so much a part of his life that I can’t just get rid of them before my time is up.”

    Talk about highly-wrought, over sentimentalised Jewish play-acting to make us all shed tears of sympathy for her late-husband and his wretched trousers – which were undoubtedly made long after the war by a Jewish tailor in nearby Golders Green.

    Comment by Talbot — January 8, 2017 @ 11:23 am

  4. Sorry, Lady Van der Velde. Our stock of silk pants was empty at that time. Hope hubby’s Chosen ass finally recovered from this shameful cotton atrocity…

    Comment by hermie — January 8, 2017 @ 9:42 am

    • You wrote: “Lady Van der Velde”

      This name indicates that she was from Belgium or Holland. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about this name.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 8, 2017 @ 9:58 am

      • That’s true, FG. (Ditto for Van der Velde.) I live in Belgium and I’ve met several people named Van de Velde, one of them a good friend of mine when I was a student. I have myself a Dutch name (because some of my father’s ancestors migrated from Holland to Belgiumin the 19th century), but nobody ever pointed that out because Belgium (even French-speaking Wallonia) is full of Flemish names (indistinguishable from Dutch names).

        Comment by hermie — January 8, 2017 @ 10:20 am

  5. My sidekick Diane made a pair of concentration camp clothing that replicates what they wore in the camps as best she could I will get a picture of us in them at some point here. The reason why she made them was we planned on going down to Boston where the Holocaust Museum is and doing a video there we just haven’t got down to it.
    The warmer weather would be a better time to do it.
    By the way we have Fred Leuchter and his wife coming over for dinner Tuesday just to let you folks know. Have some catching up to do. We were going to have them over today but the snow storm stopped us.


    Comment by Jim Rizoli — January 8, 2017 @ 9:40 am

    • You wrote: “My sidekick Diane made a pair of concentration camp clothing that replicates what they wore in the camps”

      Where did you get the cloth to make these clothes? The uniforms were made with very thick cloth, that would be hard to find now.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 8, 2017 @ 9:44 am

      • FG…. hi, Diane speaking here. You go for the design not the type of material. So anything can be used. There was available dark blue and white which is also something that was used in the camps as well. But I found the black and white striped. Actually my daughter did. It’s very thin material. But anyway again it’s not the kind of material that’s how it looks. We actually made them so they would fit over other clothes.


        Comment by Jim Rizoli — January 8, 2017 @ 9:48 am

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