Nazi Concentration Camps

Nazi concentration camps varied greatly in type and character. They were used for a range of purposes — forced labour camps, transit camps, and death camps, or built exclusively for mass murder. Although all the camps operated with similar conditions (slave labour, starvation, appalling sanitation, harsh punishments and high death rates), their functions changed during the various phases of the Third Reich. From 1933 to 1936 the concentration camps were used to consolidate the political and ideological foundations of the Nazi regime by imprisoning, punishing and eliminating so-called enemies of the Reich. Most of the prison population of the first concentration camps were German Communists, Social Democrats, Roma/Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially deviant behaviour. The camps also served as effective deterrents against political opposition to the Nazis and instruments of terror to remind the population of the power of the new regime.

After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938, the Nazis arrested German and Austrian Jews and imprisoned them in concentration camps in Germany at Dachau and Buchenwald. After Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) on November 9-10, 1938, the Nazis carried out mass arrests of adult male Jews and incarcerated them in these camps and other places for brief periods. In the period 1936 to 1941 economic interests dominated in the preparation for war. Newer and larger concentration camps were erected, providing a vast army of forced labour to serve the war industry. Examples were Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen.

Auschwitz Poland 1,135,000
Belzec Poland 500,000
Bernburg Germany 14,000 (mostly non-Jews)
Bergen-Belsen Hannover, Germany 70,000
Bogdanovka Moldova 40,000
Buchenwald Weimar, Germany 60,000 to 65,000
Chelmno (Kulmhof) Poland 152,000
Crveni krst Serbia 12,300
Dachau Munich, Germany 35,000
Dora-Nordhausen Harz Mountains, Germany 8,125
Drancy (Transit camp) France  70,000 (most died in death camps in Poland)
Mittelbau/Mittelwerk Germany 20,000
Flossenburg Upper Palatine, Bavaria 27,000
Gross-Rosen Lower Silesia, Germany 105,000
Janowska Lvov, Poland (now Ukraine) 40,000
Jasenovac Zagreb, Croatia 20,000
Kaiserwald Riga, Latvia 10,000
Kaufering/Landsberg Germany 14,500
Klooga Tallin, Estonia 2,400
Majdanek (KZ Lublin) Poland 78,000
Maly Trostenets Minsk, Belarus 60,000
Mauthausen Linz, Austria 120,000
Natzweiler-Struthof Strasbourg, France 17,000
Neuengamme Hamburg, Germany 55,000
Niederhagen Germany 1,285
Ninth Fort Kovno, Lithuania 10,000
Ohrdruf Germany 11,700
Pawiak Prison Warsaw, Poland 37,000
Plaszow Krakow, Poland 9,000
Poniatowa Lublin, Poland 15,000
Ravensbruck Berlin, Germany 92,000
Sachsenhausen/Oranienburg Berlin, Germany 105,000
Sajmiste/Semlin Serbia 50,000
Salaspils Latvia 2,000
Sered (transit camp) Slovakia 13,500 (deported to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz)
Soldau Poland 13,000
Sobibor Poland 200,000
Stutthof Poland 65,000 to 85,000
Theresienstadt Terezin, Czechoslovakia 33,430
Trawniki Lublin, Poland 10,000
Treblinka Poland 870,000