① Nazi Death March

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Nazi Death March

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Surviving the Holocaust: Segment 8 — The Death March

Here gassing took place using the pesticide Zyklon B hydrogen cyanide, or prussic acid. During the height of deportations to the camp in , an average of 6, Jews were gassed there each day. Millions of people were imprisoned, mistreated, and murdered in the various types of Nazi camps. Under SS management, the Germans and their collaborators murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centers alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived. Gutman, Yisrael and Michael Berenbaum, eds. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Wachsmann, Nikolaus. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Geoffrey Megargee.

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About This Site. Glossary : Full Glossary. Nazi Camps Between and , Nazi Germany and its allies established more than 44, camps and other incarceration sites including ghettos. Key Facts. More information about this image. Cite Share Print Tags killing centers Nazi camps Third Reich forced-labor camps concentration camps transit camps camps. Early Camps —38 From its rise to power in , the Nazi regime built a series of incarceration sites to imprison and eliminate real and perceived "enemies of the state. Types of Camps Many people refer to all of the Nazi incarceration sites during the Holocaust as concentration camps. Prisoners lacked proper equipment, clothing, nourishment, or rest.

Transit camps: Transit camps functioned as temporary holding facilities for Jews awaiting deportation. These camps were usually the last stop before deportations to a killing center. Prisoner-of-war camps: For Allied prisoners of war, including Poles and Soviet soldiers. Killing centers: Established primarily or exclusively for the assembly-line style murder of large numbers of people immediately upon arrival to the site.

There were 5 killing centers for the murder primarily of Jews. Camp System: Maps Other types of incarceration sites numbered in the tens of thousands. Concentration Camps Concentration camps are often inaccurately compared to a prison in modern society. To eliminate individuals and small, targeted groups of individuals by murder, away from the public and judicial review. To exploit forced labor of the prisoner population. This purpose grew out of a labor shortage. The First Concentration Camp The major purpose of the earliest concentration camps during the s was to incarcerate and intimidate the leaders of political, social, and cultural movements that the Nazis perceived to be a threat to the survival of the regime.

Camp Structure All concentration camps were structured in the same way. Each had an internal camp staff that consisted of five sections: Commandant's Headquarters consisting of the commandant and his staff A protective detention office run by a Security Police officer who maintained prisoner records in terms of arrival, discharge, discipline and death and who received his instructions from the Reich Central Office for Security Commander of the Protective Detention Camp Administration and Supply SS Physician Forced-Labor and Prisoner-of-War Camps Following the German invasion of Poland in September , the Nazis opened forced-labor camps where thousands of prisoners died from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure.

Transit Camps Jews in Nazi-occupied lands often were first deported to transit camps such as Westerbork in the Netherlands, or Drancy in France, en route to the killing centers in German-occupied Poland. On 30 January , Adolf Hitler became chancellor after striking a backroom deal with the previous chancellor, Franz von Papen. The Reichstag fire in February was the pretext for mass arrests; the Reichstag Fire Decree eliminated the right to personal freedom enshrined in the Weimar Constitution.

The legal basis for the arrests was the previous practice of " protective custody ", which meant either to restrict a person's liberty for their own protection, or "taking seditious elements into custody during emergencies", including some Communist Party of Germany KPD members in the Weimar Republic. The number of prisoners in — is difficult to determine; Jane Caplan estimated it at 50,, with arrests perhaps exceeding ,, [13] while Wachsmann estimated that between , and , people were subjected to detention without trial in Many sites were reused as Nazi detention facilities later on. On 26 June , Himmler appointed Theodor Eicke the second commandant of Dachau, which became the model followed by other camps. Eicke drafted the Disciplinary and Penal Code , a manual which specified draconian punishments for disobedient prisoners, including corporal punishment.

Wachsmann writes that the "Nazi concentration camp system was forged between and ". By mid, there were only five camps, holding 4, prisoners, and 13 employees at the central IKL office. At the same time, , people were imprisoned in German jails, a quarter of those for political offenses. Believing Nazi Germany to be imperiled by internal enemies, he called for a war against the "organized elements of sub-humanity", including Communists, Socialists, Jews, Freemasons , and criminals. Himmler won Hitler's backing and was appointed chief of police on 17 June Although the Nazi dictator never set foot on a concentration camp, he played a key role in events in , pardoning several guards convicted of the murder of prisoners and backing Himmler's opposition to prisoner releases.

Of the six SS camps operational as of mid, only two Dachau and Lichtenburg still existed by In the place of the camps that closed down, Eicke opened new camps at Sachsenhausen September and Buchenwald July Unlike earlier camps, the newly opened camps were purpose-built, in Wachsmann's words "planned as small cities of terror". They were designed with barracks, guard towers, and barbed wire.

Prisoners, who previously wore civilian clothes, were forced to wear uniforms with Nazi concentration camp badges. The guards for the camps were camp SS or "death's head" SS, young men specifically recruited for the task. The number of prisoners began to rise again, from 4, on 1 November to 7, by the end of By the end of June , the prisoner population had expanded threefold in the previous six months, to 24, prisoners. The increase was fueled by arrests of those considered " habitual criminals " or " asocials ".

In fact, most of the criminal prisoners were working-class men who had resorted to petty theft to support their families. Recovery from the Great Depression lowered the unemployment rate, so " work-shy " elements would be arrested to keep others working harder. At the same time, Himmler was also focusing on exploiting prisoners' labor within the camp system. Hitler's architect, Albert Speer , had grand plans for creating monumental Nazi architecture. Czech and Austrian anti-Nazis were also targeted after the annexation of their countries in and Jews were also increasingly targeted, with 2, Viennese Jews arrested after the Nazi annexation. After Kristallnacht pogrom, 26, Jewish men were deported to concentration camps following mass arrests , becoming a majority of prisoners.

These prisoners were subject to unprecedented abuse, including systematic theft of valuables, "deprivation, torture, suicide and murder" leading to hundreds of deaths—more people died at Dachau in the four months after Kristallnacht than in the previous five years. However, the goal at the time was not mass murder of Jews, but to goad them into emigration. Most of the Jewish prisoners were soon released. Five new camps were opened between the start of the war and the end of Neuengamme early , outside of Hamburg ; Auschwitz June , which initially operated as a concentration camp for Polish resistance activists; Gross-Rosen May in Silesia ; and Natzweiler May in territory annexed from France. Satellite camps were also established. This expansion was driven by the demand for forced labor and later the invasion of the Soviet Union; new camps were sent up near quarries Natzweiler and Gross-Rosen or brickworks Neuengamme.

In early , the high command of the SS ordered the deliberate mass murder of ill and exhausted prisoners who could no longer work especially those deemed racially inferior , in an operation codenamed Action 14f Victims were selected by camp personnel and traveling "euthanasia doctors" and were removed from the camps to be murdered in euthanasia centers. By spring , when the operation finished, at least 6, people had been killed.

By mid, when the operation finished, 38, Soviet prisoners had been murdered. From July to May the concentration camps were gradually taken over and the remaining prisoners freed, mostly by Soviet or US forces see The Holocaust Liberation. This led to a predominance of Eastern Europeans, especially Poles, who made up the majority of the population of some camps. By the end of the war, only 5 to 10 percent of the camp population was "Reich Germans" from Germany or Austria. Intended as a labor reserve, they were deliberately subject to mass starvation. Most Jews who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust were never prisoners in concentration camps, instead being detained at Nazi ghettos or forced-labor camps.

However, those who entered the system faced specific harassment often fatal. Jews, Slavic prisoners, and Spanish Republicans were targeted for especially harsh treatment which led to a high mortality rate during the first half of the war. In contrast, Reich Germans enjoyed favorable treatment compared to other nationalities. As a result, sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky emphasizes that "They took over the role of the SS in order to prevent SS encroachment" and other prisoners remembered them for their brutality. After , many small subcamps were set up near factories to provide forced labor. IG Farben established a synthetic rubber plant in at Monowitz concentration camp Auschwitz III ; other camps were set up next to airplane factories, coal mines and rocket propellant plants.

Conditions were brutal and prisoners were often sent to the gas chambers or killed on site if they did not work quickly enough. There is something of a myth that German people were terrorized into compliance by Nazi totalitarianism. There were 27 main camps and, according to Nikolaus Wachsmann's estimate, more than 1, satellite camps. Around 1. According to his estimate, at least , of the murdered prisoners were not Jewish. Extermination camps such as Kulmhof , Belzec , Sobibor , and Treblinka were not part of the concentration camp system, and were operationally separate.

These camps maintained only a minimal prisoner population. Major evacuations of the camps occurred in mid from the Baltics and eastern Poland, January from western Poland and Silesia , and in March from concentration camps in Germany. The camps were liberated by the Allied forces between and The first major camp, Majdanek , was discovered by the advancing Soviets on 23 July In most of the camps discovered by the Soviets, almost all the prisoners had already been removed, leaving only a few thousand alive—7, inmates were found in Auschwitz, including children who had been experimented on by doctors.

Many prisoners died after liberation due to their poor physical condition. Since their liberation, the Nazi concentration camp system has come to symbolize violence and terror in the modern world. A few perpetrators were put on trial after the war. Many survivors testified about their experiences or wrote memoirs after the war. Some of these accounts have become internationally famous, such as Primo Levi 's book, If This is a Man. Scholarship has focused on the fate of groups of prisoners, the organization of the camp system, and aspects such as forced labor.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other Nazi internment facilities, see Types of Nazi camps and Extermination camp. Concentration camps operated by Nazi Germany. Prisoners hauling earth for the construction of the "Russian camp" at Mauthausen.

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