Oral History

Abraham Bomba describes cutting women's hair before they were gassed in Treblinka

Abraham was raised in Czestochowa, Poland, and became a barber. He and his family were deported to the Treblinka killing center from the Czestochowa ghetto in 1942. At Treblinka, Abraham was selected for forced labor. He was forced to cut women's hair before they were gassed, and he sorted clothing from arriving transports. Abraham escaped from the camp in 1943 and made his way back to Czestochowa. He worked in a labor camp from June 1943 until liberation by Soviet troops in 1945.


We had scissors. From them we took bunches of hair. Cut off. Threw on the floor to the side, and about two minute has to be finished. Not even two minute be...because there was a line waiting to come up the next to it. And that's how we worked. Inside it was very painful. Most painful was because some of the barbers, they recognized their dear ones, like wives, mothers, even grandmothers. Can you imagine that you have to cut their hair and not to tell them a word because you were not allowed? If you say a word that they going to...uh...be gassed in five or seven minutes later, there would be a panic over there and they would be killed too.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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