One of the exhibits at the Memorial and Museum at Auschwitz Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, is a room of human hair. The room has an odd purplish tint to it, cast by the climate- and light-control systems that slow the hair's decay. A display case holds two tons of human hair from an estimated forty thousand people. “Please do not photograph the room of hair,” Pawel Sawicki, a press officer of the museum and my group’s guide, told us. “We don’t know exactly when it will all turn to dust."
Photographing the hair might hasten its disintegration. But also, the museum balks at letting patrons take pictures of human [...]