Sometimes the terms concentration camp and extermination (or death) camp are, misleadingly, used interchangeably. The sole purpose of extermination camps (death camps) was to kill (usually by gassing).
Most larger concentration camps had several satellite or sub-camps. There were also several small, temporary concentration camps. If one includes all these as well as transit camps and the small number of specialized camps (for example for unruly children), the Nazis ran a total of nearly 1,500 concentration camps in Germany and German-occupied countries. (It is not possible to list them all here, but under the answer there is a link to a full list). For these purposes a concentration camp is a one run by the SS (or in 1933-34) the SA.
Concentration camps were:
In addition, there were transit camps, where prisoners were held till they could be sent elsewhere.Extermination (death) campsThe extermination (death) camps were:
These extermination camps were all in Poland.
In addition, Maly Trostenets (near Minsk, Belarus) and Bronnaya Gora (also in Belarus) were extermination camps, but they are not well known as there are no known survivors.
The Auschwitz group of camps and Majdanek were 'dual purpose' camps: they had sections that functioned as extremely brutal hard labour camps, and also a section that was an extermination (death camp). In fact, Auschwitz-Birkenau (also called Auschwitz II) was the largest death camp of all.
The death toll in 'ordinary' concentration camps was high, but over 80% of the inmates of Dachau (a concentration camp) emerged alive; however, Belzec (an extermination camp where 434,500 Jews and an unknown number of Roma and others were gassed) had only two(!) known survivors. There was a real difference.
The number of 'ordinary' camps main camps was about 24. If one includes all the satellite camps and temporary camps, the total was a staggering 1,500 camps. (There is a link below, giving the full list compiled by the Federal German Ministry of Justice. Many of them are not well known in Western Europe and the U.S. However, the last column gives the main camp (or Stammlager) to which the various smaller camps were attached).
In addition, there were transit and collection camps, where people were held temporarily until the SS had a train load of victims to send on to other camps. There were also a few camps for 'unruly' and 'difficult' children aged 12+ (later 8+).
Note the German Wikipedia list (click link below), which is very thorough and includes the early camps, many of which were shut down later, such as Columbia-Haus, Berlin. In addition, in 1967 the Federal German Ministry of Justice compiled a list of all concentration camps - and the total comes to about 1,500. (See link below).
Towards the end of the war conditions in most concentration camps deteriorated sharply.
Have a look at Martin Gilbert's Atlas of the Holocaust.
Please see the related questions.
The name of concentration camps were Auschwitz.
Any number of things took place in concentration camps. See the answer for the following question, "What were the names and locations of Nazi concentration camps and extermination or death camps?" here on answer.com. it does a good job of answering this question, and explaining, "concentration camp" doesn't always refer to the death camps you are probably thinking of.
Yes. Hitler actively supported, facilitated, and developed the Final Solution which was responsible for the systematic murder of Jews. A critical part of the Final Solution was the creation of massive centers for these murders. They have several different names, such as Death Camps, Concentration Camps, Extermination Camps, etc. but they were all engineered to the same end.
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