Thursday, June 4, 2009

Death Camps

Majdanek crematorium
Majdanek crematorium

Death camps, or extermination camps, were built by Nazi Germany during World War II for the systematic killing of millions of people in what has become known as The Holocaust. During World War II, under the orders of Heinrich Himmler, extermination camps were built during a later phase of the program of annihilation. Victims’ corpses were usually cremated or buried in mass graves. The groups the Nazis sought to exterminate in these camps were primarily the Jews of Europe, Eastern Europeans, as well as Roma (Gypsies). The majority of prisoners brought to extermination camps were not expected to survive more than a few hours beyond arrival.

Nazi-German extermination camps are different than concentration camps such as Dachau and Belsen, which were mostly intended as places of incarceration and forced labor for a variety of “enemies of the state”—the Nazi label for people they deemed undesirable. In the early years of the Holocaust, the Jews were primarily sent to concentration camps, but from 1942 onward they were mostly deported to the extermination camps.

Most accounts of the Holocaust recognize six German Nazi extermination camps, all located in occupied Poland:

Auschwitz II (Auschwitz-Birkenau) (1,100,000 killed)
Treblinka (700,000 killed)
Bełżec (434,500 killes)
Sobibór (167,000 killed)
Chełmno (152,000 killed)
Majdanek (78,000)

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

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