Think what life would be like if you had to live in a world of terror. Every single day when you would walk outside, you would see the world as if it were coming to an end. You would see people dying before your eyes. If you were lucky, you might have a slight chance to survive.
What are Concentration Camps?
Concentration camps were camps that the Jewish, Gypsie, or other people were forced to go to, to be tortured or forced to do work. Adolf Htiler and the German Nazi Soldiers did not like those kind of people so they decided to put them in camps, called Concentration camps. They put them in these camps mostly because of their looks and their religion. The camps were built to fit many people in them. They also had many bunk beds to save room.
What Were They Meant For?
Concentration camps were first meant for the Jewish, Gypsie, or other slave workers. In 1941 some of the camps started being for killing the Jewish people. Some of the ways the Germans killed them were by poisonous gas and testing medical experiments on the people. Some of the experiments that the Germans tested on their prisoners were diseases and the cures for them.
What are Some of the Concentration Camps?
By 1942, the Germans had built 6 death camps. Some of theses death camps were Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and T.II. Some other Concentration camps were Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Treblinka, and Theresienstadt. These camps were forced work camps and not killing camps. The worst death camp out of them all was Auschwitz.
Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp. Auschwitz was located in Poland. It was made up of 3 concentration camps in one. It was a camp that had forced work and killed people. The people were sent from a forced labor camp to a death camp when they became old or when they were weak to be killed. Some were also tested for experiments that tested medical things, such as diseases and cures. About 1 ¼ million people were killed at Auschwitz during World War II.
Bergen-Belsen was near the villages of Bergen and Belsen in Germany. It was built in 1943 as a prison camp and a Jewish slave work camp. It was meant for 10,000 people but ended up holding 41,000. It did not have any gas chambers, but 37,000 prisoners died there. They died from diseases or just being over worked. Anne Frank, one of the most famous concentration camp victims today, died there.
Buchenwald was one of the first and the biggest concentration camps. It was built in 1937 in Weimar, Germany. It held 20,000 prisoners and most of them worked as slaves in near by factories. There were no gas chambers in Buchenwald, but many died from disease, little food or the wrong kind of food (malnutrition), exhaustion, beatings, and executions. Prisoners were used to test the viruses and their vaccines.
Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp built. The camp was built in 1933. It was located in Dachau, Germany. The camp was meant to perfrom medical experiments on prisoners. These experiments left the people dead or disabled. The experiments and the harsh living conditions made it one of the most harsh camps. It was not designed as a killing camp though.
This camp was located near the village of Sachsenhausen, in north Germany. It was built in 1936 as a part of 3 camps including Buchenwald and Dachau. The early prisoners of the camp were 10,000 Jewish people from Berlin and Hamburg. 200,000 people were in the camp and 100,000 of them ended up dying from disease, exhaustion, and over working in the local factories. A lot of the rest were brought to many other death camps.
This camp was in north Bohemia (in modern Czech Republic). The camp later became a walled-in ghetto (a part of a city where Jewish people were forced to live) in 1941. After the people that were not Jews were evacuated, they started sending more Jews to the camp from Germany, Austria, Denmark, and other countries. Out of 14 1,000 Jewish people sent to Theresienstadt, 33,500 people died from the crowding in the ghettto, 88,000 Jews were sent to killing camps, from Theresienstadt, especially Auschwitz.
Treblinka and T.II
This camp was near the village of Treblinka, Poland. In 1941 it opened meaning to be a slavery camp. Close by, another camp called T.II opened in 1942. This camp was meant to be a killing camp. In the Treblinka camp there were bath houses which were used to kill people by a poisonous gas called carbon monoxide. What is weird is Jewish prison workers had to kill the Jewish people. Can you believe that? About 1,500 Jews had to do that! The Ukrainian guards did this also. The total number of people killed there is about 700,000 to 900,000. In 1943 a group of Jewish prisoners tried to escape but some were killed or recaptured. The T.II camp was closed in October of 1943. Treblinka was closed in July of 1944.
In 1945 the war ended. By then all the concentration camps were closed. Very few people survived. Many died due to the harsh conditions of the camps, the experiments, the torturing, and the killing. You were lucky if you survived!
Kornblum,Aaron. "Nazi Concentration Camps." World Book Encyclopedia, 2001.
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