The Holocaust was one of the world’s worst genocides; concentration camps were the worst place to be if you were a captive. Adolf Hitler, a Nazi, convinced many that certain groups of people needed to be exterminated. He started concentration camps to terrorize his enemies. The first concentration camps started in 1933, six years before World War Two began. There were several concentration camps. These concentration camps consisted of European Jews, P. O. W. ’s (Prisoners of War), political prisoners, criminals, homosexuals, and gypsies, the mentally ill and other groups.
The first concentration camp was called Dachau, located in Munich, Germany. It was opened March 22, 1933. Within five years of Dachau opening, the number of concentration camps quadrupled. The Nazis created different types of camps, for example, labor camps, transit and collection camps, P. O. W. camps, hostage (or death camps), and extermination camps. Labor concentration camps were where inmates had to do hard labor under inhumane conditions and cruel treatment. Transit and collection camps were where inmates were collected and transferred to main camps.
Prisoner of war camps were where prisoners were held after being captured. These P. O. W. camps caused torture and liquidation of prisoners on a large scale. Death camps were where hostages were held and killed as reprisals. Extermination camps were a mixture of the other camps and were not useful people were sent to be killed. These concentration camps were all horrible but Auschwitz was the worst. Auschwitz was located in Poland and was opened in June 1940. Auschwitz was a total of 40 kilometers. Auschwitz was a labor and extermination camp. Auschwitz had three other sub camps Auschwitz 2 Birkenau and Auschwitz 3.
Auschwitz had the highest death count compared to any other camp. It’s estimated that 4 million people were sent to Auschwitz and 1. 1 million died at Auschwitz. The prisoners died of starvation, exhaustion, diseases, or killed inhumanely by being shot, burned, or gassed. For the most part, children and elders in the concentration camps were treated the worst. If a child was born in a concentration camp, they would be killed on the spot. Most children and elders were killed as soon as they got to the concentration camps if they looked too weak to be useful to work.
Some were used for drug and surgery experiments. To save the amount of poison gas and ammunition used to kill people, some children would be thrown into ovens or put into open fire pits. These prisoners were also beaten, put in pressure chambers, or frozen to death. The Nazis were brutal and didn’t care who they killed. There were many escape attempts, though only 802 attempts on record. Only 144 made it out but most of them were caught and killed, or taken back to camp and starved to death. If someone successfully made it out of the camp, random people in their prisoner block would be starved.
One of the most successful escapes was when a few prisoners dressed as guards, stole a car and drove out the front gate, they were never caught. The most successful escape was when Oscar Schindler got 300 women out of Auschwitz. Oscar pretended to be one of the people in charge of the camp. Before the freight car full of people got to the camp, he told them to send them back. When they got back, he took them to a safe house and looked after them. The concentration camps were all shut down on May 7, 1945 when World War Two ended.
It was estimated that 7,991,460 people lost their lives in the concentration camps. When the Germans were defeated by the allies they were forced to close down all of the concentration camps. Most of the camps were destroyed. Some of the camps were used as prisons for the Nazis. Some of these concentration camps have been converted into museums and memorials for those who lost their lives. Bibliography 1. Nazi concentration camps Jan 14-17 2011 http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camps 2. Auschwitz, Nazi death camp Jan 14-17 2011 http://www. auschwitz. dk/auschwitz. htm