Nazi concentration camps

Nazi concentration camps

Overview

Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 maintained concentration camps (in German Konzentrationslager, or KZ) throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 concentration camps set up in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire
Reichstag fire
The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. The event is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany....

 of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime. The term was borrowed from the British
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 concentration camps of the Second Anglo-Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

.

The number of camps quadrupled between 1939 and 1942 to 300+, as slave-laborers from across Europe, Jews, political prisoners, criminals, homosexuals, gypsies, the mentally ill and others were incarcerated, generally without judicial process.
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Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 maintained concentration camps (in German Konzentrationslager, or KZ) throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 concentration camps set up in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire
Reichstag fire
The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. The event is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany....

 of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime. The term was borrowed from the British
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 concentration camps of the Second Anglo-Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

.

The number of camps quadrupled between 1939 and 1942 to 300+, as slave-laborers from across Europe, Jews, political prisoners, criminals, homosexuals, gypsies, the mentally ill and others were incarcerated, generally without judicial process. Holocaust scholars draw a distinction between concentration camps (described in this article) and extermination camps, which were established by the Nazis for the industrial-scale mass murder of the predominantly Jewish ghetto and concentration camp populations.

Camps before the war



Use of the word "concentration" came from the idea of using documents confining to one place a group of people who are in some way undesirable. The term itself originated in the "reconcentration camps" set up in Cuba by General Valeriano Weyler
Valeriano Weyler
Don Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, 1st Duke of Rubí and 1st Marquis of Tenerife Don Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, 1st Duke of Rubí and 1st Marquis of Tenerife Don Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, 1st Duke of Rubí and 1st Marquis of Tenerife (Seed in Ambos Camarines.-Philippines:In 1888, he was sent out as...

 in 1897. Concentration camps had in the past been used by the U.S. against Native Americans (or American Indians), by the British in the Boer wars, and wherever the "undesirables" had to be kept in check by those who incarcerated them.

When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they quickly moved to ruthlessly suppress all real or potential opposition. The general public was intimidated through arbitrary psychological terror. Between 1933 and 1945, the special courts (Sondergerichte
Sondergerichte
A Sondergericht was a Nazi "special court." After taking power in 1933, the Nazis quickly moved to remove internal opposition to the Nazi regime in Germany. The legal system became one of many tools for this aim and the Nazis gradually supplanted the normal justice system with political courts...

) set up by the Nazi regime executed 12,000 German nationals. Especially during the first years of their existence these courts "had a strong deterrent effect" against any form of political protest.

The first camp in Germany, Dachau, was founded in March 1933. The press announcement said that "the first concentration camp is to be opened in Dachau with an accommodation for 5,000 persons. All Communists and – where necessary – Reichsbanner and Social Democratic functionaries who endanger state security are to be concentrated there, as in the long run it is not possible to keep individual functionaries in the state prisons without overburdening these prisons." Dachau was the first regular concentration camp established by the German coalition government of National Socialist Workers' Party (Nazi Party) and the Nationalist People's Party (dissolved on 6 July 1933). Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

, then Chief of Police
Chief of police
A Chief of Police is the title typically given to the top official in the chain of command of a police department, particularly in North America. Alternate titles for this position include Commissioner, Superintendent, and Chief constable...

 of Munich, officially described the camp as "the first concentration camp for political prisoners."

Dachau served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi concentration camps. Almost every community in Germany had members taken there. The newspapers continuously reported of "the removal of the enemies of the Reich to concentration camps" making the general population more aware of their presence. There were jingles warning as early as 1935: "Dear God, make me dumb
Muteness
Muteness or mutism is an inability to speak caused by a speech disorder. The term originates from the Latin word mutus, meaning "silent".-Causes:...

, that I may not to Dachau come."

Between 1933 and the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, more than 3.5 million Germans were forced to spend time in concentration camps and prisons for political reasons, and approximately 77,000 Germans were executed for one or another form of resistance by Special Courts
Sondergerichte
A Sondergericht was a Nazi "special court." After taking power in 1933, the Nazis quickly moved to remove internal opposition to the Nazi regime in Germany. The legal system became one of many tools for this aim and the Nazis gradually supplanted the normal justice system with political courts...

, courts-martial, and the civil justice system. Many of these Germans had served in government, the military, or in civil positions, which enabled them to engage in subversion
Subversion
Apache Subversion is a software versioning and a revision control system distributed under a free license. Developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation...

 and conspiracy against the Nazis.

As a result of the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, the term "concentration camp" carries many of the connotations of "extermination camp" and is sometimes used synonymously. Because of these ominous connotations, the term "concentration camp", originally itself a euphemism
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

, has been replaced by newer terms such as internment camp, resettlement camp, detention facility, etc., regardless of the actual circumstances of the camp, which can vary a great deal.

Concentration camps during World War II



After September 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, concentration camps became places where millions of ordinary people were enslaved as part of the war effort, often starved, tortured and killed. During the War, new Nazi concentration camps for "undesirables" spread throughout the continent. According to statistics by the German Ministry of Justice, about 1,200 camps and subcamps were run in countries occupied by Nazi Germany
German–occupied Europe
German–occupied Europe or Nazi Empire refers to the countries of Europe which were occupied by the military forces of Nazi Germany at various times between 1938 and 1945....

, while the Jewish Virtual Library
Jewish Virtual Library
Jewish Virtual Library is an online encyclopedia published by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise . Established in 1993, it is a comprehensive website covering Israel, the Jewish people, and Jewish culture.-History:...

 estimates that the number of Nazis camps was closer to 15,000 in all of occupied Europe and that many of these camps were created for a limited time before being demolished. Camps were being created near the centers of dense populations, often focusing on areas with large communities of Jews, Polish intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

, Communists
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 or Roma. Since millions of Jews lived in pre-war Poland
History of the Jews in Poland
The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the centre of Jewish culture thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the...

, most camps were located in the area of General Government
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

 in occupied Poland, for logistical reasons. The location also allowed the Nazis to quickly remove the German Jews from within the German proper. In 1942, the SS built a network of Extermination camps to systematically kill millions of prisoners by gassing. The extermination camps (Vernichtungslager) and death camps (Todeslager) were camps whose primary function was genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

. The Nazis themselves distinguished between concentration camps and the extermination camps.

Internees


The two largest groups containing prisoners in the camps, both numbering in the millions, were the Polish Jews and the Soviet prisoners of war (POWs)
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 held without trial or judicial process. Large numbers of Roma (or Gypsies), ethnic Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

s, homosexuals
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

, people with disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, Catholic clergy
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

, Eastern European intellectuals and others (including common criminals, as declared by the Nazis). In addition, a small number of Western Allied
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 aviators were sent to concentration camps as spies. Western Allied POWs who were Jews, or whom the Nazis believed to be Jewish, were usually sent to ordinary POW camps; however, a small number were sent to concentration camps under antisemitic policies.

Sometimes the concentration camps were used to hold important prisoners, such as the generals involved in the attempted assassination of Hitler; U-boat
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 Captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

-turned-Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 pastor Martin Niemöller
Martin Niemöller
Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor. He is best known as the author of the poem "First they came…"....

; and Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 Wilhelm Canaris
Wilhelm Canaris
Wilhelm Franz Canaris was a German admiral, head of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944 and member of the German Resistance.- Early life and World War I :...

, who was interned at Flossenbürg on February 7, 1945, until he was hanged on April 9, shortly before the war’s end.

In most camps, prisoners were forced to wear identifying overalls with colored badges
Nazi concentration camp badges
Nazi concentration camp badges, primarily triangles, were part of the system of identification in Nazi camps. They were used in the concentration camps in the Nazi-occupied countries to identify the reason the prisoners had been placed there. The triangles were made of fabric and were sewn on...

 according to their categorization: red triangles for Communists and other political prisoners, green triangles for common criminals, pink for homosexual men, purple for Jehovah's Witnesses, black for Gypsies and asocials, and yellow for Jews.

Treatment




Many of the prisoners died in the concentration camps through deliberate maltreatment, disease, starvation, and overwork, or were executed as unfit for labor. Prisoners were transported in inhumane conditions by rail freight cars
Holocaust trains
The Holocaust trains were railway transports run by German Nazis and their collaborators to forcibly deport interned Jews and other victims of the Holocaust to the German Nazi concentration and extermination camps....

, in which many died before reaching their destination. The prisoners were confined to the boxcar
Boxcar
A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

s for days or even weeks, with little or no food or water. Many died of dehydration
Dehydration
In physiology and medicine, dehydration is defined as the excessive loss of body fluid. It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism...

 in the intense heat of summer or froze to death in winter. Concentration camps also existed in Germany itself, and while they were not specifically designed for systematic extermination, many of their inmates perished because of harsh conditions or were executed.

In the early spring of 1941, the SS – along with doctors and officials of the T-4 Euthanasia Program
Action T4
Action T4 was the name used after World War II for Nazi Germany's eugenics-based "euthanasia" program during which physicians killed thousands of people who were "judged incurably sick, by critical medical examination"...

 – introduced the Action 14f13
Action 14f13
Action 14f13, also called "Sonderbehandlung 14f13", was a campaign of the Third Reich to murder Nazi concentration camp prisoners. Also called "invalid" or "prisoner euthanasia", the campaign culled the sick, elderly and those deemed no longer fit for work from the rest of the prisoners in a...

 programme meant for extermination of selected concentration camp prisoners. The Inspectorate of the Concentration Camps categorized all files dealing with the death of prisoners as 14f, and those of prisoners sent to the T-4 gas chambers as 14f13. Under the language regulations of the SS, selected prisoners were designated for "special treatment
Sonderbehandlung
Sonderbehandlung is a German noun meaning special treatment in English, also existing as a verb: sonderbehandeln . While it can refer to any sort of preferential treatment, it is known primarily as a euphemism used by Nazi functionaries and the SS for murder...

  14f13". Prisoners were officially selected based on their medical condition; namely, those permanently unfit for labor due to illness. Unofficially, racial and eugenic criteria were used: Jews, the handicapped, and those with criminal or antisocial
Public order crime
In criminology, public-order crime is defined by Siegel as "...crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently", i.e. it is behaviour that has been labelled criminal because it is contrary to shared norms, social values, and...

 records were selected. For Jewish prisoners there was not even the pretense of a medical examination: the arrest record was listed as a physician’s “diagnosis”. In early 1943, as the need for labor increased and the gas chambers at Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

 became operational, Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 ordered the end of Action 14f13.

After 1942, many small subcamps were set up near factories to provide forced labour. IG Farben
IG Farben
I.G. Farbenindustrie AG was a German chemical industry conglomerate. Its name is taken from Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG . The company was formed in 1925 from a number of major companies that had been working together closely since World War I...

 established a synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber is is any type of artificial elastomer, invariably a polymer. An elastomer is a material with the mechanical property that it can undergo much more elastic deformation under stress than most materials and still return to its previous size without permanent deformation...

 plant in 1942 at Monowitz concentration camp (Auschwitz III); other camps were set up next to airplane factories, coal mines
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

 and rocket propellant
Rocket propellant
Rocket propellant is mass that is stored in some form of propellant tank, prior to being used as the propulsive mass that is ejected from a rocket engine in the form of a fluid jet to produce thrust. A fuel propellant is often burned with an oxidizer propellant to produce large volumes of very hot...

 plants. Conditions were brutal and prisoners were often sent to the gas chambers or killed if they did not work quickly enough.

After much consideration, the extermination of the Jewish prisoners (the “Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

”) was announced to high ranking officials at the Wannsee Conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

 in 1942.

Towards the end of the war, the camps became sites for medical experiments
Nazi human experimentation
Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners by the Nazi German regime in its concentration camps mainly in the early 1940s, during World War II and the Holocaust. Prisoners were coerced into participating: they did not willingly volunteer and there...

. Eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

 experiments, freezing prisoners to determine how downed pilots were affected by exposure, and experimental and lethal medicines were all tried at various camps. Female prisoners were routinely raped and degraded in the camps.

The camps were liberated by the Allies between 1943 and 1945, often too late to save all the remaining prisoners. For example, when British forces entered Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle...

 in 1945, 60,000 prisoners were found alive, but 10,000 died within a week of liberation due to typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 and malnutrition.

Glossary of Terms used at Auschwitz

  • Arbeitdienst - internee who assigned work for Kommandos
  • Aussenkommandos - inmates who worked outside the camp
  • Bekleidungskammer - the inmates' clothing warehouse
  • Blocova - the barrack or block chief (women's camp)
  • Buna - Synthetic rubber, developed at IG Farben
    IG Farben
    I.G. Farbenindustrie AG was a German chemical industry conglomerate. Its name is taken from Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG . The company was formed in 1925 from a number of major companies that had been working together closely since World War I...

     Auschwitz plant. See IG Farben Trial
    IG Farben Trial
    The United States of America vs. Carl Krauch, et al., also known as the IG Farben Trial, was the sixth of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany after the end of World War II....

    , Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
    Subsequent Nuremberg Trials
    The Subsequent Nuremberg Trials were a series of twelve U.S...

    , Leverkusen
    Leverkusen
    Leverkusen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on the eastern bank of the Rhine. To the South, Leverkusen borders the city of Cologne and to the North is the state capital Düsseldorf....

    , Otto Ambrose, Heinrich Bütefisch.
  • Califactorka - the blocova's personal maid
  • Canada - warehouse where deportee property was stored for shipment to Germany (then bought by the public)
  • Fuehrerstube - S. S. offices
  • Esskommando - the food carriers
  • Haeftling - internee (camp inmate)
  • Kapo - kommando chief
  • Koje - crude tier of wood used as a bed for many inmates
  • Kommando - work group
  • Lager - camp
  • Lageraelteste - "queen" of the women's camp
  • Lagerkapo - Lageraelteste's assistant
  • Lagerstrasse - main road inside the camp
  • Lagerruhe - curfew
  • Mussulmen - internees reduced to walking skeletons (with almost no willpower remaining)
  • Oberarzt - chief S. S. camp physician
  • "Organization" - stealing from the Germans, but also included any form of resistance
  • Politische Büro - political bureau where documents and records were kept
  • Rapportschreiberin - chief camp secretary
  • Scheisskommando - latrine-cleaning group
  • Schreiberin - scribe (female)
  • Schreibstube - offices where roll call reports were sent
  • Schutzhaeftling - "protected" prisoners
  • Stubendienst - barrack gendarmerie, also food dividers
  • "Sport" - punishment for blocovas, officials, and kitchen girls
  • Sonderkommandos - special work group (crematory or "krema" workers: allowed to live four months)
  • Sonderbehandlung (S. B.) - special handling ("condemned to death")
  • Vertreterin - blocova's (female) lieutenant

The British intelligence service had information about the concentration camps, and in 1942 Jan Karski
Jan Karski
Jan Karski was a Polish World War II resistance movement fighter and later scholar at Georgetown University. In 1942 and 1943 Karski reported to the Polish government in exile and the Western Allies on the situation in German-occupied Poland, especially the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and...

 delivered a thorough eyewitness account to the government.

Types of camps


According to Moshe Lifshitz, the Nazi camps divided as follows:
  • Hostage camps (or death camps): camps where hostages were held and killed as reprisals.
  • Labor camps: concentration camps where interned inmates had to do hard physical labor under inhumane conditions and cruel treatment. Some of these camps were sub-camps of bigger camps, or "operational camps", established for a temporary need.
  • POW camps: concentration camps where prisoners of war were held after capture. These POW's endured torture and liquidation on a large scale.
  • Camps for rehabilitation and re-education of Poles: camps where the intelligentsia of the ethnic Poles were held, and "re-educated" according to Nazi values as slaves.
  • Transit and collection camps: camps where inmates were collected and routed to main camps, or temporarily held (Durchgangslager or Dulag).
  • Extermination camps: These camps differed from the rest, since not all of them were also concentration camps. Although none of the categories is independent, and each camp could be classified as a mixture of several of the above, and all camps had some of the elements of an extermination camp, systematic extermination of new-arrivals occurred in very specific camps. Of these, four were extermination camps, where all new-arrivals were simply killed – the "Aktion Reinhard
    Operation Reinhard
    Operation Reinhard was the code name given to the Nazi plan to murder Polish Jews in the General Government, and marked the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, the use of extermination camps...

    " camps (Treblinka
    Treblinka extermination camp
    Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland during World War II near the village of Treblinka in the modern-day Masovian Voivodeship of Poland. The camp, which was constructed as part of Operation Reinhard, operated between and ,. During this time, approximately 850,000 men, women...

    , Sobibor
    Sobibór extermination camp
    Sobibor was a Nazi German extermination camp located on the outskirts of the town of Sobibór, Lublin Voivodeship of occupied Poland as part of Operation Reinhard; the official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor...

     and Belzec
    Belzec extermination camp
    Belzec, Polish spelling Bełżec , was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps created for implementing Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust...

    ), together with Chelmno
    Chelmno extermination camp
    Chełmno extermination camp, also known as the Kulmhof concentration camp, was a Nazi German extermination camp that was situated 50 kilometres from Łódź, near a small village called Chełmno nad Nerem . After annexation by Germany Kulmhof was included into Reichsgau Wartheland in 1939...

    . Two others (Auschwitz
    Auschwitz concentration camp
    Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

     and Majdanek
    Majdanek
    Majdanek was a German Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Lublin, Poland, established during the German Nazi occupation of Poland. The camp operated from October 1, 1941 until July 22, 1944, when it was captured nearly intact by the advancing Soviet Red Army...

    ) were combined concentration and extermination camps. Others like Maly Trostenets
    Maly Trostenets extermination camp
    Maly Trastsianiets extermination camp , located near a small village on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, was the site of a Nazi extermination camp.- History :...

     were at times classified as "minor extermination camps".

Post-war use


Though most Nazi concentration and extermination camps were destroyed after the war, some were made into permanent memorial
Memorial
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something, usually a person or an event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or art objects such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and even entire parks....

s.
In Communist Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

, some camps such as Majdanek
Majdanek
Majdanek was a German Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Lublin, Poland, established during the German Nazi occupation of Poland. The camp operated from October 1, 1941 until July 22, 1944, when it was captured nearly intact by the advancing Soviet Red Army...

, Jaworzno
Central Labour Camp Jaworzno
Central Labour Camp Jaworzno was a concentration camp in Jaworzno, Poland. It operated from 1943 until 1956, first run by Nazi Germany and then by the Soviet Union with the People's Republic of Poland...

, Potulice
Central Labour Camp Potulice
Central Labour Camp Potulice was a detention centre for Germans and anti-communist Poles established by Polish Communist authorities after the end of World War II in Potulice, in place of the former German Nazi Potulice concentration camp. The camp was in operation since 1945 until 1950.A total of...

 and Zgoda were used to hold German Prisoners of War, suspected Nazis and collaborators, anti-Communists and other political prisoners, as well as civilian
Civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

 members of the German, Silesian
Silesians
Silesians , are the inhabitants of Silesia in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. A small diaspora community also exists in Karnes County, Texas in the USA....

 and Ukrainian
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 ethnic minorities. Currently, there are memorials to both camps in Potulice; they have helped to enable a German-Polish discussion on historical perception of World War II. In East Germany (Buchenwald
Buchenwald concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.Camp prisoners from all over Europe and Russia—Jews, non-Jewish Poles and Slovenes,...

 and Sachsenhausen
Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD...

), concentration and extermination camps were used for similar purposes.
Dachau concentration camp was used as a prison for arrested Nazis.

See also


  • Extermination camp
  • German camps in occupied Poland during World War II
    German camps in occupied Poland during World War II
    The German camps in occupied Poland during World War II were built by Nazi Germany in the course of its Occupation of Poland both in areas annexed by Germany and in General Gouvernment...

  • Gulag
    Gulag
    The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

  • Identification in Nazi camps
    Identification in Nazi camps
    Identification of inmates in Nazi concentration camps was performed in two ways: by special badges and by identification numbers.-Badges:...

  • Internment
    Internment
    Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

  • Ka-tzetnik
  • KZ Manager
    KZ manager
    KZ Manager is a name shared by many similar resource management computer games putting the player in the role of a Nazi concentration camp "manager", where the "resources" to be managed include, depending on the version of the game, prisoners , poison gas supplies, "normal" money and various...

  • Labor camp
    Labor camp
    A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

  • List of Nazi-German concentration camps
  • Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles
    Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles
    In addition to about 2.9 million Polish Jews , about 2.8 million non-Jewish Polish citizens perished during the course of the war...

  • Nazi guards
    SS-Totenkopfverbände
    SS-Totenkopfverbände , meaning "Death's-Head Units", was the SS organization responsible for administering the Nazi concentration camps for the Third Reich....

  • NKVD special camps
    NKVD special camps
    NKVD special camps were NKVD-run late and post-World War II internment camps in the Soviet-occupied parts of Germany and areas east of the Oder-Neisse line. The short-lived camps east of the line were subsequently transferred to the Soviet occupation zone, where they were set up by the Soviet...

  • Nuremberg Trials
    Nuremberg Trials
    The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

  • Persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
  • Nazi concentration camp badges
    Nazi concentration camp badges
    Nazi concentration camp badges, primarily triangles, were part of the system of identification in Nazi camps. They were used in the concentration camps in the Nazi-occupied countries to identify the reason the prisoners had been placed there. The triangles were made of fabric and were sewn on...

  • Porajmos
    Porajmos
    The Porajmos was the attempt made by Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia, Horthy's Hungary and their allies to exterminate the Romani people of Europe during World War II...

    , the attempted extermination of the Roma people
  • The Holocaust
    The Holocaust
    The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

  • War crimes
  • Research Materials: Max Planck Society Archive
    Research Materials: Max Planck Society Archive
    At the end of World War II, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society was renamed the Max Planck Society, and the institutes associated with the Kaiser Wilhelm Society were renamed "Max Planck" institutes. The records that were archived under the former Kaiser Wilhelm Society and its institutes were placed in the...


External links