Shaving brush received in a concentration camp

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Shaving brush given to Elias Cala for safekeeping by a fellow inmate in 1944 at Auschwitz III-Monowitz concentration camp. The other inmate was a barber who gave the brush to Elias when he became ill. He was sent to the infirmary, but never returned. Elias had been deported to Monowitz from the Jewish ghetto in Mlawa, Poland, in November, 1942, with his wife and one-year-old daughter. His wife and daughter were selected for death upon arrival at Auschwitz. Elias was assigned to work as slave labor in the I.G Farben company’s Buna plant associated with the Monowitz camp. In January 1945, Elias and others from Monowitz were taken on a series of transports and death marches. He escaped from a death march in April, 1945, near the town of Arnstorf, Germany. Local residents hid him until the area was liberated by the United States Army on May 1. He lived in the town as a displaced person for four years, before emigrating to the United States in 1949.

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  • Title: Shaving brush received in a concentration camp
  • Provenance: The shaving brush was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Elias Cala.
  • Subject Keywords: Concentration camp inmates--Germany. Concentration camp inmates--Poland. Death marches--Germany. Jewish refugees--Germany.
  • Type: Personal Equipment and Supplies
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Hand-held brush with cream-colored boar bristles and a wood handle covered with plastic. Handle tapers in the middle. Top is flat and cream-colored, with a black line, then a red-brown color marbled to look like wood. At the rim where bristles emerge is a silver-colored metal ring.