The Auschwitz prisoners, like prisoners of any other German concentration camp, had their entire body hair cut and shaved during the admission procedure. This procedure was performed for hygienic reasons and to make it more difficult to escape. The Main SS Office of Economy and Administration ordered the prisoners’ hair to be stored and sold to German companies. They used the hair as an industrial raw material.
According to the hairdresser, the hair found was collected from hairdressing salons for the use of the army. Then it was used to make felt seals, used, among others, in in the production of submarines.
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The Horrifying Reality Behind the Auschwitz Room of Hairs
The room was originally used as a storage space for the camp’s belongings, but after the war, it was discovered that the Nazis had been collecting the hair of prisoners as part of their grotesque experimentation and dehumanization efforts.
The prisoners, who were mostly Jewish, were told that their hair was being shaved for “hygiene purposes,” but in reality, it was being used to create textiles, such as blankets and carpets, for the Nazi army.
Maximizing the utilization
The hair of Jewish women murdered in the gas chambers has also been reprocessed. In the Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka extermination centers, women were being stripped of their hair.
After that they were brought into the gas chamber. Whereas in Auschwitz, the prisoners of the Sonderkommando cut the hair of the corpses.
The hair obtained in this way was then disinfected, dried, packed in bags and sold to German companies. After that, it was the raw material for the production of fabrics and the felt.
At the Auschwitz Memorial, you can see a bale of hair and nearly two tons of hair from almost 40,000 people.
The special room where you can find the hair of the victims is in the block numer 4. Just remember, you cannot use photoflash lamps there.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the purpose of the room of hair in Auschwitz?
The room of hair in Auschwitz serves as a chilling reminder of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. When prisoners arrived at the camp, their hair was forcibly shaved off as part of the induction process. The hair was then stored and later used by the Nazis, who considered it a valuable resource.
The display of hair in the exhibition aims to provide visitors with a stark visual representation of the sheer number of victims subjected to this dehumanising process.
How much hair was found in Auschwitz after liberation?
Upon the liberation of Auschwitz, liberating forces discovered nearly two tons of hair. This vast collection represents only a fraction of the total number of people who had their hair cut during their horrific experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp complex.
What happened to the victims’ hair in Auschwitz?
The hair removed from the victims at Auschwitz was repurposed by the Nazis. It was often used in the production of textiles, such as clothing and blankets, which were then distributed within the Third Reich.
This utilitarian approach meant that even the most basic aspects of prisoners’ identities were exploited for the sake of the Nazi regime.
Was women’s hair shaved at Auschwitz for a specific reason?
The shaving of women’s hair at Auschwitz served several purposes. On a practical level, it was believed to help maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of lice within the camp.
Furthermore, the removal of hair contributed to the significant dehumanisation and humiliation of the prisoners, stripping them of their individuality and making them more manageable for their captors.
What other items were displayed in the exhibitions at Auschwitz?
In addition to the room of hair, the exhibitions at Auschwitz display various personal belongings of the prisoners. These items include suitcases, eyeglasses, shoes, and prosthetic limbs, illustrating the diverse backgrounds and ages of the victims.
The preserved spaces and belongings serve to humanise the victims’ stories and demonstrate the scale of destruction inflicted upon them.
How are the belongings of victims preserved at Auschwitz?
Efforts have been made to preserve the belongings of victims found at Auschwitz in order to offer a tangible connection to the past.
Conservation specialists work tirelessly to maintain the delicate artefacts on display, while ensuring that the historical integrity of these items is maintained.
This continuous preservation process is essential in maintaining the long-lasting impact of the Auschwitz memorial site as a testament to the lives lost and the lessons learned from the Holocaust.