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A Short Introduction to Concentration Camps

Dachau was the first camp, started in southern Germany, 1933. After that, more camps followed, springing up in countries all over Europe. Some of the most infamous camps are Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor, and Chelmno. These are just a minuscule percentage of the hundreds of camps throughout Europe. The types of camps are concentration camps, forced labor camps, extermination camps, transit camps, and prisoner-of-war camps. Concentration camps were used for holding a large amount of prisoners, and though many prisoners died because of harsh conditions and cruel treatment, these camps were not used for mass killing. Extermination camps, however, were created with the sole purpose of mass murder, with the use of the gas chambers. Transit camps were merely camps used to temporarly hold prisoners until they were transported to another camp. Forced labor camps were used to take advantage of the large number of prisoners and set them to work in harsh conditions, not unlike slave labor. Prisoner-of-war camps were used to hold captured soldiers, though sometimes prisoners of war were sent to extermination camps. Despite each camps purpose, the majority were responsible for the mass death of millions of men, women and children. Jews were not the only ones at the camps. Non-Jewish victims consisted of gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses, and political opponents to the Nazi party. The camps were liberated or shut down by the end of the war, but the damage had been done. The mass killing of innocent people had been commited.