Handmade Toothbrush


Key Stages:


Topics: , , ,

What do you see?

We can see a piece of wood. We can also see some string wrapped around the wood.

What can you see?


What do we know?

This toothbrush was handmade in a concentration camp by a prisoner called Lily Fischl.

Look closely at how the object is made. Lily used basic materials and a simple design to make something so she could try and stay clean and tidy. The toothbrush is made of wood and string. The bristles are also made of wood as this would have been one of the only materials available to prisoners in the camps

The toothbrush is actually really small, only about the length of your hand. This was so she could keep it hidden from the guards.

Lily’s toothbrush tells us a lot about how badly people were treated in the camps and what they did to try and stay feeling like themselves.

What do we wonder?

We might wonder how Lily managed to hide the toothbrush from the guards? We might also wonder why she kept the toothbrush after liberation?

What do you wonder?


Object file

Name: Handmade toothbrush

Date: 1944

Catalogue number: 1990.207

Material: Wood, String

Size: 13 cm x 1.5 cm

The toothbrush was made in Oederan camp by Lily Fischl, a camp prisoner. Born in Vienna, she lived in Prague after her marriage. Her two children escaped Czechoslovakia on a Kindertransport, but she and her husband were deported to Theresienstadt camp in 1942, where he died. She was deported to Auschwitz and then on to Oederan work camp, returning to Theresienstadt 2 days before the Russians liberated the camp. She survived and came to Britain in 1946.

Ask us anything

We’re all friends here. Get answers to those nagging questions you’ve always had - you can get a private answer if you prefer.
Ask Us Your Question