The Nazis built the first concentration camp in 1933 as a place to detain (place-byforce) communists and other opponents to the Nazi Party. At the beginning of
World War II, the Nazis began building more concentration camps where they
could imprison “enemies of the state,” including Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals, as
well as prisoners or war. Many concentration camps functioned as labor camps,
where inmates worked until they either starved to death or died of disease.
• Death camps, also called extermination camps, were designed for the purpose of
killing large numbers of people in the most efficient manner possible.
• Because these camps were located away from major cities, victims had to be transported to them via train. Some rides lasted for several days. Thousands of prisoners
died en route to the camps.
• Many people were affected by these camps. Of course, there were the victims; millions of children, women, and men suffered as inmates in this camps. But there
were also bureaucrats—the train conductors, prison guards, cooks, secretaries,
etc.—that made sure that millions of victims were transported to camps throughout
Europe and who ran the camps once the victims arrived.