Barber's job saved his life at Auschwitz

March 26, 2013 3:48:53 PM PDT
One man says he lived through the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp because he was a barber.

Out of the 6,000 people from Ben Scheinkoph's small Polish town who were sent to camps, only 30 survived. Scheinkoph survived because of his job.

"Because I was a barber. They didn't beat me and nobody hurt me and I survived until they shipped us away to Muckhausen," Scheinkopf said.

In 1942, Scheinkopf was taken to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where he lived for almost three years. During that time, he shaved prisoners' heads from 10 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, year round.

"One week we worked the day shift and one week we worked the night shift," Scheinkopf said.

The prisoners who had their heads shaved, according to Scheinkopf, had at the most a week or two to live. As soon as they couldn't perform the jobs forced upon them, they were executed. But Scheinkopf just kept performing his awful duty.

"I never believed that I'm going to come out alive and that I'm going to tell the world what they did to our people," Scheinkopf said.

After the war, Scheinkopf lived in Germany. He came to Chicago 1954. Three days later, he started working as a barber again.

"Because I know a barber always makes a living. A barber always gets a job. No matter where you go, you need a haircut," Scheinkopf said.

For almost 60 years, Scheinkopf has had a barber shop in West Rogers Park. Ben's Barber Shop is located at 7204 N. California.