Transcript Concentration Camps
• Concentration Camps are large internment
camps where people who are enemies of the
state are held without legal protection.
• In Nazi Germany the government began
using them in 1933 to imprison communists
• The use of them increased throughout the
• By 1935 the Germans were putting Jehovas
Witnesses and homosexuals in the camps.
• They made special camps for women, and
sent prostitutes and women who were
found guilty of racial defilement there.
• They were also imprisoning troublesome
priests and other people who fought the
• In the preparations for
the 1936 Olympics in
Berlin they amped up
their efforts and
gypsies and other
people they did not
want anyone to see.
• Heinrich Himmler was
one of the most
powerful men in the
• He was and the chief
of the German Police
and head of the
• The SS or Schutzstaffel ran the camps. They ran different kinds of
camps; labor camps, concentration camps, death camps and POW
camps. They also ran the einsatzgruppen squads. It is estimated that
there were at least 7,000 camps, possibly more.
• The Einsatzgruppen were
mobile death squads.
• They were run by
Himmler’s second in
• They went to areas with
concentrations and killed
them en masse.
• It is estimated that they
killed over 1.3 million Jews
Jews on their way out of the city
of Kiev to the Babi Yar ravine
pass corpses in the street.
View of the ravine at Babi Yar circa 1944. On September 29Photo credit: Hessisches
Hauptstaatsarchiv, courtesy of 30, 1941, more than 33,000 Jewish residents of Kiev were
marched to this site and systematically gunned down over
USHMM Photo Archives
the edge of the ravine by members of the Sonderkommando
4a of Einstazgruppen C. Thousands of Gypsies and Soviet
POWs were also executed at this site between 1941 and 1943.
Photo credit: Central Archives October Revolution, courtesy
of USHMM Photo Archives
• Up until 1942 the camps had not necessarily
been extermination camps- they were labor
camps primarily, but they worked people to
• After a meeting in 1942 called the Wansee
Conference, where the ‘final solution’ was
devised, more and more efficient ways of
killing off all of the Jews were devised.
• Camps like Chelmno, Auschwitz, Belzek, Sobibor,
Treblinka, Madjanek and Stutthof were the largest
• There were thousands more.
• The Nazis were meticulous record keepers and
there are written, photographic and film sources
of the experiences at the Camps.
• They were also hoarders, and took everything
away from the Jews and stored or used it all.
Chelmno Auschwitz Belzek
Monoxide Monoxide Monoxide Monoxide gas
1.2 million 600,000
Auschwitz was the worst of the
It was in Poland and had two
nearby camps, Birkenau and
Monowitz, that were known as
Auschwitz II and III respectively
Monowitz was built as a labor camp
where various chemical companies
Auschwitz is famous for the
medical experiments done there by
doctors, primarily Josef Mengele,
also known as The Angel of Death.
Bunk beds in the Auschwitz II. There
were as many as four inmates per bunk.
There could be as many as a thousand
inmates per barrack like the one
• In October 1944, a group of Jewish inmates who
had been forced to clean the crematoria revolted.
• Using smuggled gunpowder they blew up
• The SS retaliated harshly, but the end was near
anyway, because in December, they realized the
Soviet Army was near, and began forcing the
inmates to tear down the gas chambers and
crematoria to hide the evidence.
• They then began to move the prisoners to other
• The death marches started
in January, 1945.
• 60,000 prisoners were
moved from the camp.
• When the Soviets
liberated the camp there
were only 7,000 inmates
• In 1947, Rudolph Hoess,
the commander of the
camp was executed as a
war criminal in front of
the Crematorium I.