The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/antiques-roadshow-discovering-lost-objects-holocaust/
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. [ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/11370972/Holocaust-Memorial-Day-Telegraph-revealed-Nazi-gas-chambers-three-years-before-liberation-of-Auschwitz.html ]
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.