b. Warsaw, Poland, 1927
POLAND, EARLY 1930s He was a barber, and we were neighbors.
His little shop was next door and I often sat on the three steps which led to his door.
He cut my father's hair and my brother's hair, and maybe mine too. I don't remember.
My husband and I are watching the second part of the documentary Shoah, a painful experience.
I see what I saw then … I hear what I heard during those horror-filled years …my eyes glued to the screen …my heart pounding.
Then I see him! He is cutting a client's hair and answering the interviewer's questions: haltingly, reluctantly.
Yes, he was a barber in Treblinka. Could he talk about it a little? He shakes his head, “No, I can't.” “No, no, ” his head shakes repeatedly. The interviewer presses on …gently. “It is important—please.”
He talks with pain …stopping …sobbing.
Yes, he cut the women's hair, before they entered the showers. Yes, they were naked.
“Anyone you knew?” asks the interviewer. He nods … cannot speak, the pain is excruciating …visible. “My wife … others …” “Did you tell them where they were going?” Sobs …He tries to stifle them … “No, ” he whispers.
I sob with him … the barber, our neighbor … he cut her hair there in Treblinka …my mother's.