Spots of Light - Women in the Holocaust



I remember that we stood naked in the sauna, in line to have our hair removed, and I wondered—what are all these men doing here? We couldn’t recognize one another anymore. I approached one of the Jewish guards and asked him if he would have a word with someone so that they wouldn’t cut off my pigtails, and he replied that so long as I had a head, hair would grow, while if I didn’t have a head, I wouldn’t need hair anyway.

Dita (Kurschner) Segal
From the testimony of Dita (Kurschner) Segal, 2006
In the second chamber, an army of teenage girls sheared the newcomers’ body hair with scissors and razors. Some left their 'clients' cut and bruised, others tugged while cutting our hair. The girl who attended to me was by no means an expert hairdresser, but it appears she wanted me to look dignified. She did not seem to remember how mercilessly her hair had been shorn. I smiled and whispered, “Bog zaplac–May God reward you.” It came naturally, expressing all my appreciation for a human being who had appeared at the bottom of the pit and shone a bright light in the darkness.

Pearl Benisch
From: Pearl Benisch, To Vanquish the Dragon, Jerusalem–New York: Feldheim, 1991