Toothpaste find linked to Lake District Holocaust survivors

Finds from Windermere dig

Items found in the dig will be added to an exhibition

Archaeologists have found Polish toothpaste as they look for evidence from a group of children who survived the Holocaust death camps.

About 300 orphaned Jewish refugees began new lives when they were brought to the Lake District in 1945.

Although there are documents of their stay on the Calgarth Estate near Windermere, few personal items remain.

A Staffordshire University team has been digging at Troutbeck Bridge and a tube of toothpaste is among its finds.

Kevin Colls

Kevin Colls previously worked on a dig at Treblinka concentration camp in Poland

Kevin Colls, a genocide archaeologist, who is leading the dig, said: “We’re finding a lot of evidence from the site is being lost, so we’ve got documents and archives but we haven’t got the evidence and artefacts from the site.”

A squashed tube of toothpaste has been one of the most significant finds.

Mr Colls said: “It’s interesting as it was made in the former Czech Republic so there’s a link to the ghetto where the children who came here were from.”

His work with the university also took him to the Treblinka concentration camp in Poland where some of the youngsters who stayed in Cumbria lost family members.

Goziem Ikediuwa

Student Goziem Ikediuwa with the toothpaste find

The children described the stay in Cumbria as “paradise”. They lived in wartime accommodation which had been built for workers and their families employed by the Sunderland Flying Boat Factory.

They were gradually moved to other homes throughout the UK, and had all left Calgarth Estate, which was later demolished, by early 1946.

Items and artefacts found in the dig will be added to the exhibition by the Lake District Holocaust Project at Windermere Library.

A black and white picture of a group of children in Prague before they were brought to the Lake District

About 300 children were brought from concentration camps to the Lake District in 1945

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