Concentration Camps | tutor2u History
Study notes

Concentration Camps

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Concentration Camps were makeshift prisons set up to hold opponents and prisoners of the Nazi Regime. Many of those who were imprisoned were classed as being in protective custody rather than being tried and convicted of crimes. This meant that none of those placed in concentration camps had had any form of court proceedings or had had a chance to fight their cases.

When the Nazis came to power there were huge numbers of people who were arrested or placed into protective custody and as such the Nazis needed new makeshift prisons called Concentration Camps. The camps were staffed by members of the SS rather than the conventional police forces.

The first camp to be opened was in Dachau in 1933. Many different inmates were placed in camps including Jews, political prisoners such as communists, minorities such as Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and social undesirables including homosexuals and prostitutes.

The Nazis built a huge network of camps, often located away from urban areas to keep secret the goings on in the camps. As the number of prisoners increased there were several changes to the concentration camp programme. The Wannsee Conference created the Final solution whereby Jews were to be exterminated. This led to the creation of Death Camps which sole purpose was to eliminate enemies of the Nazi State.

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