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What were the concentration and death camps?

Concentration camps were initially meant for political prisoners and anyone who opposed the Nazi Party but soon grew to include Jews and other minority groups.


Concentration camps were first created in Germany and later existed all across Nazi-occupied Europe. The purpose of the concentration camp was to segregate prisoners from German society and use them for forced labor. 


Death camps, all located in Nazi-occupied Poland, were specifically created for killing. There were six designated killing camps: Treblinka, Majdanek, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Gas chambers with lethal gas were used to kill thousands of Jews at once. By 1943, Auschwitz-Birkenau consistently killed 12,500 people per day. 

Jewish men stand for role call at concentration camp

Photo: Jewish men from Subcarpathian Rus have been selected for forced labor at Auschwitz-Birkenau and stand in their newly-issued prison uniforms at a roll call. May 1944, Auschwitz, Nazi-occupied Poland. 

Photo credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Yad Vashem. (Public Domain)

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