An extraordinary event took place at Moriah College recently.
More than 100 students volunteered to have their hair cut at school, donating their locks to have wigs made for kids with cancer.
Many of the kids had put off having a haircut since September last year, to donate as much hair as possible – the longest plait was around 35 centimetres.
A team of top Sydney hairdressers from four different salons volunteered their time to chop plaits and pony-tails off, then give the kids a ‘tidy-up’ haircut.
Jaimi Knep in Year 12 spearheaded the initiative with classmate Liav Brill. They were overwhelmed by the response. Initially about 60 students signed up and, on the day, more than 100 participated!
There is a major connection between the Jewish people and human hair. When concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau were liberated, masses of human hair was found packed into bags.
According to an article in The New Yorker on November 15, 1993, a memoir written by Dr Miklos Nyiszli, an inmate who worked as an assistant to the notorious Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele, stated that human hair “was often used in delayed action bombs, where its particular qualities made it highly useful for detonating purposes.”
Women’s hair was preferred to men’s or children’s, because it tended to be thicker and longer. The hair was shorn from the heads of corpses immediately after their removal from the gas chambers (the hair of prisoners selected for labour was shaved off when they entered the camp) and was then “cured” in lofts over the crematorium’s ovens and gathered into twenty-kilogram bales. The bales were marketed to German companies at twenty pfennig per kilogram… “some of the products manufactured in those plants may still be in use in German homes today…”
The action of Moriah’s students turned the representation of bags of human hair into a positive icon – helping thousands of children.
The hair will now be sent to Israel through an organisation called Zichron Menachem (https://www.zichron.org/en/hair-donation/).