Concentration camps were not part of the Holocaust
This is something most people are not aware of but the concentration camps cannot be equated with the Holocaust and were basically "just" a means of carrying out the Holocaust. This is because sometimes Jews were sent to concentration camps for work only. There are strong interactions and overlaps between the Holocaust and concentration camps because they coexcisted. Concentration camps are in most peoples’ minds equal to the Holocaust, which is fully understandable but not historically correct.
After the success for the NSDAP of the elections in July 1932, Hitler was not immediately appointed chancellor, despite being leader of the largest party in the Reichstag. But the economic and political instability in Germany and with the help of the conservative elite, Hindenburg was persuaded to appoint Hitler as the new chancellor of Germany. So on January 30 1933, when Hitler was sworn in, the Nazis were in power.
The first concentration camp Dachau, opened on 22 March 1933 and was initially intended to hold political opponents of Hitler which consisted of: communists, social democrats, and other dissidents.The concentration camp system arose in the following months due to the desire to suppress tens of thousands of Nazi opponents in Germany. Over 1.000 concentration camps (including subcamps) were established during the history of Nazi Germany. Initially, most prisoners of the first concentration camps were members of the Communist Party of Germany. But as time went by different groups were also arrested and prosecuted including 'criminals', 'anti-socials' and Jews. Basically anyone who was labelled: 'Enemy of the Third Reich'.
Many of the former camps have been turned into museums commemorating the victims of the Nazi regime.
The Dachau concentration camp was the first large-scale SS concentration camp in Nazi Germany. It was east of the southern German city of Dachau, about 20 km northwest of Munich. It was in use from March 22, 1933 until its liberation by American troops on April 29, 1945.
Dachau was founded by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer SS and chief of police of Munich, on the site of a former munitions factory. It was the only camp thatn was used during the Nazis 12 year rule. It developed as a prototype for new concentration camps and occupied several special positions.
The SS became independed from the SA in July 1934. Following the Night of Long Knives also called the Röhm purge or Operation Hummingbird (the 'elemination' of the high ranking officers of the SA by members of the SS), the concentration camps were put under command of the SS and run exclusively via the Concentration Camps Inspectorate and later the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office. Hitler then authorized SS leader Heinrich Himmler to centralize the administration of the concentration camps and formalize them into a system. Himmler chose SS Lieutenant General Theodor Eicke for this task. Eicke had been the commandant of the SS concentration camp at Dachau since June 1933. Himmler appointed him Inspector of Concentration Camps, a new section of the SS subordinate to the SS Main Office.
From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany operated more than a 1.000 concentration camps on its own territory and in parts of German-occupied Europe all were run exclusively by the SS.
On April 29, 1942 there was again a new regulation in the Dutch newspapers, article 45 of regulation no. 138/1941. Wearing of the Star of David became mandatory. The badge consisted of a black drawn six-pointed star made of yellow fabric with the text (in the national language) in black letters 'Jew'. The star served to identify Jews, as well as the stamp with the letter J in their ID. The Star of David was to be worn visibly and firmly on the left side at chest level of the garment.
The SS became responsible for the operational leadership of concentration camps after July 1934.
Zyklon B (The B stands for the German word Blausäure which means hydrogen cyanide) was a pesticide initially used in the concentration camps for delousing clothes and to fight typhus outbreaks. Zyklon B was supplied by the German companies Degesch (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung GmbH) and Tesch & Stabenow, under license from patent holder IG Farben. It was used to kill millions of people by gassing.
This is an ongoing project, more transit-, concentration- and deathcamps will be added in the near future.
This website is made out of respect for the victims, the civilians and the veterans of WWII. It generates no financial gain what so ever and it is merely a platform to educate the visitor about WWII.
A big THANK YOU to the United States Army Center of Military History for their help in providing the input for these pages. All pages on this website are constantly being refitted with acurate data and texts and it is an ongoing process.