Concentration Camps Essay

1161 words - 5 pages

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and World War 2 began. This is when Adolf Hitler rose to power. During his reign, he sought to exterminate all the Jewish people. The Nazis saw the Jews as enemies to the German people so they had them prosecuted relentlessly. They strongly believed that the Jews wanted to rule the world and that they deserved no living space of their own because of this (Nazi Ideology and Victims of the Holocaust and Nazi Persecution). One way he went about doing this was the use of the many concentration camps scattered across German occupied Europe. He had millions kept prisoner in these camps during the course of the war. When we think about the holocaust, we generally also think of these concentration camps where so many Jews were forced to live. However, there were other kinds of people kept in the camps other than Jews. This is because Germany had been using the camps before the war to hold others whom they saw as undesirable. All the people in the camps had to face the horrible treatment, nonetheless. The first camp began to operate in March of 1933, but by the end of World War II, the Germans had more than 4,000 all across Europe (Daily Life in the Concentration Camps). From 1933 to 1945, Germany had about 20,000 camps in operation in all. Jewish people in places where the Nazis were in control were the first to be taken away to the camps. They were used for a wide variety of purposes like forced labor camps, transit camps(where prisoners were only kept temporarily), and extermination camps which were built only for killing. Prisoners would be taken from their homes and usually passed through several camps before getting to the extermination camp, which would be most prisoners’ final destination (Nazi Camps). It was a struggle to live every day, and millions lost their lives during their stay at the camps. Countless atrocities occurred daily inside the walls of these prisons, unspeakable acts forced on the Jews, and others, by the Nazis.
Most of the prisoners in the camps were Jewish because they were seen as opponents to the Nazis. The Nazis would lock up anyone who they thought were political, ideological, or racial enemies to them (Concentration Camp System: In Depth). Approximately six million Jews lost their lives during these times when concentration camps thrived across Europe. Inside some of the camps, there were certain types of hierarchal systems that were used to identify prisoners. Prisoners were sometimes sorted by what country they are from or by the reasons for their arrest. Prisoners could be rewarded for achieving higher social statuses, like different, easier work assignments such as becoming an administrator indoors. Some of the highest people in the system, the kapos or camp elders, could even choose between life and death for other prisoners (Daily Life in the Concentration Camps).
Everyday life in these camps was hard. The only clothes that they had were the ones that they had been...

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