Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany

by Rylie Riddle

The Camps

A piercing, tortured shriek echoes throughout the thick concrete walls, bouncing off of them as easily as a rubber ball would. The air reeks of death and unforgivable inequality. Bodies of Jewish folk and prisoners of World War ll litter the cold, cracked, moss-covered concrete ground. No one bothers burying the corpses, of course. The tortured bodies of the Jews are a devastating plague to the citizens of Nazis. What is this place of unspeakable horror? In the time of Nazi Germany, the concept of equality was so immensely scarce that it's safe to say it was endangered. If you were of Jewish faith, you were set for failure. Because of the Germans' mindset, concentration camps were set up and dubbed perhaps the world's most dangerous punishment centers ever.

Dachau

Pronounced "da-kow", Dachau was the first ever permanent concentration camp set up in Germany. It was built in 1933 to hold Jews and political prisoners. Located on the edge of the town Dachau, near Munich in southeastern Germany, Dachau was the model for all other punishment camps built in the following years. It was the home of many cruel punishments such as brutal medical experiments that killed the majority of the 3,500 prisoners they tested on. There were random beatings and large, barbed-wire stockades where the prisoners were forced to do dangerous military-like drills. 28,500 prisoners were murdered or died of starvation and disease in the camps. After 1942, many prisoners were used as slave labor on farms or in nearby weapon factories. When the United States Armed Forces freed the camp on April 29th, 1945, they found 10,000 above-ground corpses and 32,000 starved prisoners.

Bergen-Belsen

Pronounced "burg-in-bell-sin", the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen was located in north central Germany, near Hanover. It was built in 1940 originally to hold prisoners of war from France and Belgium. In 1941, it was renamed Stalag 311 and held Russian prisoners. Finally, in 1943, its name was changed once again to Bergen-Belsen to hold the Jewish prisoners. Although Bergen-Belsen had no torturous gas chambers, 35,000 people died of starvation, disease, overwork, brutality, and harsh medical experiments. 60,000 were starved, and there were 10,000 unburied corpses when British troops came and freed the camp on April 15th, 1945. In 1944-45, Nazis left other concentration camps outside Germany and moved many prisoners to Bergen-Belsen. Populations soared. The camps became dangerously overcrowded, causing the amount of deaths to increase even higher. In the time that the camp operated (1940-1945) more than 70,000 prisoners had died.

Buchenwald

Pronounced "boo-kuhn-vhalt", Buchenwald was a concentration camp located just outside the city of Weimar. From 1937 to 1945 the camp was operated by the German Nazis party and was made to hold political prisoners, prisoners of war, people of Jewish faith, and Poles. From 1945 to 1950, the camp was run by the Soviet Union army. In the time from when it was opened to the last year the Soviet Union owned it, 57,000 people were either murdered or died from starvation, disease, and overwork in local weapon factories. The Soviet Union imprisoned thousands of Germans during WWII and used each of the torture methods that the Germans had been using on the Jews. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners died before the camp was closed in 1950.

Auschwitz

Pronounced "owsh-vhits", Auschwitz was not only one but a center of three different concentration camps including the original Auschwitz, Auschwitz II (also known as Birkenau), and Auschwitz III. They were all different locations: Auschwitz and Birkenau were located in southern Poland in the city after which the camp was named; Auschwitz III was located near the towns of Dwory and Monowitz in Germany. It was meant to hold Jews and political prisoners. From September of 1941 to January of 1945, over 1.25 million people died at Auschwitz. They used horrid torture methods such as the infamous poisonous gas chambers they used to murder mass amounts of people at one time. Like all other camps, hundreds of thousands of prisoners also died of disease, starvation, and overwork. Auschwitz is currently a museum preserved by the Polish government.

The Camps

The unfairness and inequality that cling to the walls of these horrid camps is unbelievably horrid. People of Jewish faith were continuously tortured, abused, and murdered, solely because of what they believed in. These torturous concentration camps were perhaps the world's most dangerous punishment camps ever because of the German's terrible mindsets.