Benjamin Scheinkopf: Former Auschwitz inmate who cut prisoners' hair dies aged 98

Former Auschwitz inmate who cut prisoner's hair dies at the age of 98

Benjamin Scheinkopf was an Auschwitz inmate

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A man who was an inmate in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp has died at the age of 98.

Benjamin Scheinkopf was born in Poland in 1948 and his father tried to encourage him to become a shoemaker, but he chose instead to be a barber alongside his brother, a decision which ended up saving his life.

He was put into the camp with his brother and managed to survive the Holocaust by providing haircuts for prisoners.

The pair were given the job of cutting hair for the inmates because the guards were worried about catching lice. This meant the conditions they were living in were slightly better than that of the other inmates.

Around 1 million Jews were murdered at Auschwitz - 90% of the total number sent there.

During an interview with the USC Shoah Foundation, Scheinkopf explained that many inmates would ask him if he had any information about their families, due to his relatively privileged position.

He said he told them "‘Family, you’re not going to see it anymore'."

The camp was liberated by the Soviets in 1940, five years after its creation. Following liberation Scheinkopf was sent to Germany where he married a woman named Emily. The couple then moved to Chicago in 1954.

After he was released he continued to work as a barber for 60 years, according to The Times of Israel.

Scheinkopf leaves behind three sons and three grandchildren.