When all the women in the transport
Had their heads shaved
Four women with brooms made of birch
And gathered up the hair
Behind the clean glass
The stiff hair lies
Of those suffocated in the gas chambers
There are pins and side combs
In this hair
The hair is not shot through with light
Is not parted by a breeze
Is not touched by any hand
Or rain or lips
In huge chests
Clouds of dry hair
Of those suffocated
And a faded plait
A pigtail with a ribbon
Pulled at school
By naughty boys.
The museum, Auschwitz, 1948
At Auschwitz, in the building designated as the museum, there is a big room, and one wall is covered with glass, and on the other side of the glass is another room, full of human hair.
Our guide told us that you can tell when the hair was shaved off:
If the hair looks normal, it was shaved when the prisoners first arrived at Auschwitz.
If the hair is grey and powdery, it was shaved after the victim had been gassed to death.
On the other side of the room, there is a smaller glass case, and inside are some braids, each tied with a faded ribbon.