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Nazi Camps During The World War Ii

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Most of us know or have heard about the Nazi camps during the World War II. They were a fundamental attribute of the regime in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. However, many simply know that these camps were simply sites of genocide. Hence, I will dig deeper and tell everyone more regarding these Nazi camps. Types of CampsBut first, what are Nazi camps? The Nazi camps were divided into several categories. Early camps were the first camps that sprang up all over Germany after the Nazis rose to power in 1933. They usually lacked infrastructure and had little supervision from superiors. State camps were those guarded by the SA (commonly known as storm troopers) and were prototypes for future concentration camps. (Dachau as seen on the top photograph, Esterwegen)Hostage camps were also known as police prison camps. There, hostages were held and later killed in reprisal actions. (Haaren, Michielsgestel)Labour camps were concentration camps where captives had to perform hard labor under inhumane conditions and cruel treatment. (Stammlager, Aussenlager)Prisoner Of War camps were concentration camps where enlisted prisoners of war were held after capture.

Most prisoners of wars were then quickly assigned to labor camps. (Arbeitskommandos)Work Instruction camps were camps where the “rehabilitation and re-education of ethnic Poles” according to the Nazi values were held. Collection and Transit camps were camps where inmates were collected or temporarily held before being sent to main camps. (Sammellager, Durchgangslager)Extermination camps were the camps whose main function was genocide. This was usually done using gassing. (Treblinka, Belzec) Many of these were found in Poland as that was the country with the largest Jewish population. Some were a combination of both concentration and extermination camps: Auschwitz and Majdanek, as seen in the photograph on the bottom. Pre-War CampsThe very first of such camps, called early camps, were built in Germany in January 1933, shortly after Hitler was appointed as Chancellor and the Nazi Party gained control of the police. Just weeks after the Nazis came to power, the SA, the SS (which is called the Protection Squadrons), the police and local civilian authorities efficiently established such camps all over Germany with the intention of detaining the huge masses of real or perceived political opponents. Throughout the reign of the Nazis, more than 3.5 million Germans were sent to camps for political reasons.

An example of a pre-war camp was the Esterwegen Camp in Germany. This camp was used to hold various political opponents, such as German author Karl Von Ossietzky. As a pacifist and Nazi opponent, Karl von Ossietzky was jailed at Esterwegen just months after he received the Nobel Prize of Peace in 1936. With the Nobel Prize, Karl von Ossietzky represented a problem for the Nazis: they could not kill him because he was at this time known worldwide. So he was transferred to a city hospital where he died in 1938, under the close watching of the Gestapo. World War but that was just the beginning. After September 1939, following the start of the second world war, concentration camps became places where millions of ordinary people were enslaved as part of the war effort, often starved, tortured and killed. During the war, new Nazi concentration camps for “undesirables” spread throughout the continent. These ‘undesirables’ included political opponents, Jews, homosexuals, Polish intelligentsia, communists or Romani. In most camps, prisoners were forced to wear identifying overalls with colored badges according to their categorisation: red triangles for Communists and other political prisoners, green triangles for common criminals, pink triangles for homosexual men, purple triangles for Jehovah’s Witnesses, black triangles for asocials and the “work-shy”, yellow triangle for Jews, and later the brown triangle for Romani. Treatment Many of the prisoners died in the concentration camps due to deliberate maltreatment, disease, starvation, and overwork, or they were executed as unfit for labor. Prisoners were transported in inhumane conditions by trains, in which many died before reaching their final destination. Such trains comfortably sit 50 people, but often, more than 200 prisoners were cramped in the trains for days or even weeks, with little or no food or water.

Many died of dehydration in the intense heat of summer or froze to death in winter. After 1942, many small subcamps were set up near factories to provide forced labor. IG Farben established a synthetic rubber plant in 1942 at Monowitz concentration camp (Auschwitz III); other camps were set up next to airplane factories, coal mines, and rocket propellant plants. Conditions were brutal and prisoners were often sent to the gas chambers or killed on site if they did not work quickly enough. Towards the end of the war, the camps became sites for medical experiments. Eugenics experiments, freezing prisoners to determine how downed pilots were affected by exposure, and experimental and lethal medicines were all tried at various camps. A cold water immersion experiments at Dachau concentration camp were performed by Sigmund Rascher. Liberation The camps were liberated by the Allied forces between 1944 and 1945. The first major camp, Majdanek, was discovered by the advancing Soviets on July 23, 1944. Auschwitz was liberated, also by the Soviets, on January 27, 1945; Buchenwald by the Americans on April 11; Bergen-Belsen by the British on April 15; Dachau by the Americans and Ravensbrück by the Soviets on April 29; Mauthausen by the Americans on May 5; and Theresienstadt by the Soviets on May 8. In most of the camps discovered, almost all the prisoners were removed, leaving only a few thousand alive.

Many of those survivors died a few weeks later due to other illnesses like malnutrition or typhus. Treblinka, Sobibór, and Belzec were never liberated but were destroyed by the Nazis in 1943. Post-War Use Though most Nazi concentration and extermination camps were destroyed after the war, Others were used after the war to hold German Prisoners of War or arrested Nazis. The remaining camps that were still standing were turned into permanent memorials or museums. Auschwitz Concentration Camp is one of the camps that remain standing. It is the Camp with the infamous sign that read ‘work makes you free’ in German.

Today, visitors follow a tour guide around the camps as they give information regarding the Camp and the stories of survivors from there. After a long 12 years, these terrifying camps were gone for good. But the aftermath of these places will never be forgotten: the physical, mental torture on those victims, resulting in the countless innocent lives lost, numerous families being broken and the psychological trauma the survivors have to live with after the war. Now, 27th of January, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, is the International Holocaust Memorial Day. It is a day to commemorate and honor the millions of victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Hence, I would like to take this opportunity to urge every single one of you who are sitting in the audience to just have a minute of silence on this day every year to pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. It is also a day where we should seek to learn from the past and to ensure that we, the next generation, do not make history repeat itself.

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