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Accession Number: NEKHC:2015.75

Object: Brush

Physical Description:  Brush; incomplete and fragile item. This item is on a loan restriction.

Measurements: 20x6cm

Information: This brush belonged to Simon Winston who was born in 1948 in Radzivilov, then Poland, now Ukraine. The brush was used by Simon's father to hide an 8 oz nugget of gold so it could be used, if required, to facilitate his family's survival during the Holocaust. Other smaller  gold bars, gold rings and small precious items were similarly secreted in linings of clothes, false bottoms of shoes and another brush. Some of these items were used to engineer the family's escape from the Ghetto and to support the family in hiding, which continued until their liberation by Russian troops in late 1944.

Further Information  

Simon was born in 1938, in Radzivillov which at that time was in Poland, and is now in Ukraine. He lived happily with his family until the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. In 1941 Nazi soldiers arrived in Radivillov, and a ghetto was established. Simon and his family were held there until September 1942, when Simon’s father engineered their escape using some of the gold he had previously hidden. The family then went into hiding, and remained in hiding until just prior to the end of the Second World War when Russian troops liberated the area.

The brush was shabby and commonplace where Simon lived, so it did not draw special attention. Simon’s father had sawn a layer off the top of the brush and created a hollow chamber inside the wood. He then hid the gold inside the brush and used small screws to replace the top and ensure it hid the gold.

This brush and the 8 oz gold bar inside it, together with smaller gold bars, and other precious items similarly hidden, became instrumental in saving the lives of Simon, his brother and his parents.

Many years later, when Simon's father lived in Israel, he presented Simon with the brush and gold bar and explained it's significance. He told him about the other items hidden and he even mentioned that one gold bar was used to bribe a  guard to allow them to escape from the Ghetto. 

On the same occasion in Israel,  Simon's father handed Simon a gold pocket watch and a necklace with a small gold part. He said they belonged to Simon's mother and he wanted Simon to keep those also. His father didn't mention it, but Simon thinks they were also items hidden during their long battle to survive during the Holocaust.

The gold bar which is on display is the part left after Simon's father used half of the original 8 oz bar to make two signet rings, one for Simon, one for his brother. Unfortunately both have since been lost.


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