From a news article, which you can read in full here, I have learned that photographs of the hair, cut from the heads of the Jews at Auschwitz, are no longer allowed. Is this because the hair might be harmed by the flash of cameras? No, I think it is to prevent tourists from being trampled to death.
This quote is from the news article:
Knowing what was behind the glass [display cases] made it all so surreal.
Kevin Wagner of Carlisle was told heading into the [museum] room that no photography was allowed; that the contents [of the display cases] were considered holy by Jews.
There piled high from floor to ceiling [in a display case] was a mound of human hair shaved from the heads of men, women and children doomed to suffer an untimely death in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
It was a co-mingled mass of strands colored black, brown and red with some even done up in braids. It was way too much to process…way too much to take in at once. Overwhelmed, Wagner broke down and cried while two others in the group left the room unsettled by the sight of so much lost humanity.
“How could another human being do this to somebody?” recalled Wagner, social studies program chair for the Carlisle Area School District.
“It was methodically efficient,” he added. “You can’t wrap your head around how someone can come up with that.”
Wait a minute! Was the hair cut from the heads of the Jews before or after they went into the gas chamber? It would have been difficult to cut the hair from the dead bodies AFTER the Jews were gassed, so the hair must have been cut BEFORE the gassing. So why does the hair show the effects of gassing?
Personally, I think that the reason that photographs of the hair at Auschwitz are no longer allowed, is because there were, in the past, so many tourists crowding around the hair exhibit, trying to take photos, that there was a serious danger of someone being trampled to death.
When I first visited the exhibits in the main Auschwitz camp in 1998, there were so many people trying to take photos of the hair that I could not get close enough to take a photo. I had to be satisfied with taking a photo of a small amount of human hair.
I took the photo above in the Auschwitz Museum in 1998. I have borrowed the photo below, which was taken by a Polish photographer in 2004.
The photo above shows that the hair of the women at Auschwitz was cut before they were sent to the gas chamber. In fact, these women look as if they have been selected to work at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Why was their hair shaved? The hair must have been shaved to prevent typhus, which is spread by lice that hides in the hair. Their public hair was also shaved — by a man.
This quote is also from the news article, cited above:
As World War II in Europe drew to a close, the Red Army of the Soviet Union was advancing rapidly from the east. Eager to hide evidence of the Holocaust, the Nazis burned to the ground the death camp at Belzec.
Wagner [who visited Belzec] described that memorial as a lunar landscape on a slope with a center path where visitors walk down a ramp to a wall carved with hundreds of Jewish surnames. The further Wagner descended, the more confining the space until he felt as though he was about to suffocate.
On my trips to Poland, many years ago, I did not visit Belzec because my tour guide told me that there was absolutely nothing there to see, except an empty field; the memorial had not yet been built. The Holocaust allegedly started with the gassing of Jews at Belzec, so why did Belzec get no respect for many years?
You can read all about Belzec on my website at