Concentration Camps - A Brief History Of Germanys Darkest Times

by Joshua Spaulding - Date: 2007-03-31 - Word Count: 482 Share This!

The history of concentration camps all began on February 27, 1933 as someone set fire to Reichstag. Several people were arrested for the crime, but it was only a Netherlands man by the name of Marianus van der Lubbe that was executed for the crime. As a teenager, Lubbe was a communist and soon there was suspicion that the Reichstag fire was part of a KPD plot to overthrow the government.

Adolf Hitler wanted all of the German Communist Party leaders to be hanged that night, but his decision was vetoed by Paul von Hindenburg. Hindenburg did, however, say that Hitler should take great dictatorial power over the situation. It was soon announced by Hermann Goering that the Nazi Party planned to exterminate the German communists.

Germany's first concentration camp was set up at Dachau where thousands of members of the Social Democrat Party and Communist Party were arrested and sent to. Theodor Eicke was put in charge of this camp that was based just a few miles from Munich, but would eventually be put in charge of the entire system.

After the 1933 general election, Hitler passed an Enabling Bill that gave him complete dictatorial powers. From there, his first move was to take over the trade unions. He sent all of his leaders to concentration camps, where all control was put under the Nazi Party.

Soon after this, the Communist Party and the Social Democrat Party were banned. Party activists were arrested and by the end of 1933 the concentration camps were on full speed. The concentration camps held over 150,000 political prisoners by this time and many more were to come.

Although it started with just politicians that were sent to the camps, soon after there were beggars, prostitutes, homosexuals, alcoholics and anyone who was incapable of working that were sent to the camps. In the beginning, some were tortured but only those who attempted to escape the prison were killed.

All inmates wore numbers and patches to identify why they were in the camps. There were different colors that identified whether you were an alcoholic, a homosexual, a beggar and so on. What had started as one camp at Dachau was now a common theme as there were concentration camps built in five other locations.

By 1944 there were 13 main concentration camps and over 500 satellite camps. It was in January of 1942 at the Wannsee Conference that it was decided to make the extermination of Jews a systematically organized operation. From here on, there were extermination camps set up in the east that would sometimes kill up to 25,000 prisoners a day.

It has been estimated that this horrifying discrimination sent over 1,600,000 to concentration work camps just from 1933-1945, killing over a million due to a variety of causes. Around 18 million were sent to extermination camps and it is believed that an estimated five to eleven million were killed.

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Joshua Spaulding and his beautiful German wife Claudia provide realistic Germany Travel information through their website at They would like to invite you to join them and learn more about this beautiful Country and it's unique culture.

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