Crime Fact List Society

9 Nazi Concentration Camps – Part 2

Today’s article is on many of the Nazi camps operating during WWII. There are graphic descriptions but the pictures are all of the memorials erected to honor those who lost their lives. I know it’s a depressing subject, but please read through the whole thing, because as Elie Wiesel, an Auschwitz and Buchenwald survivor, once said: “To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.” For part 1, click here.

01. Maly Trostenets Extermination Camp (1941 – June 1944)Maly Trostenets Extermination Camp (1941 - June 1944)

The Maly Trostenets extermination camp began operation in the summer of 1941 and was located in central Belarus. Originally built to house Soviet POW’s, it was turned into an extermination camp in 1942, when the first Jews arrived. Between 65,000 and 200,000 people died in the camp, with nearly all of them being Jewish. Only two people are known to have escaped the camp. On June 28, 1944, it was liberated by Soviet troops. (Quote: “…the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.” – Adolf Hitler)

02. Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp (1938 – May 1945)

Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp (1938 - May 1945)

The Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camps were located in northern Austria and began operation in 1938. Originally one camp, it later grew to include over 50 satellite camps. A total of 195,000 people were imprisoned there sometime and at least 95,000 of them died. Mauthausen-Gusen was also one of the most brutal camps, with many people dying because of the exceptionally hard labor and the constant beatings. Medical experiments, including those done by Aribert Heim, nicknamed ‘Doctor Death’, were also performed there. Perhaps the most infamous part of the camp was the “Stairs of Death”. Prisoners were forced to carry blocks of stone, weighing up to 110 lbs., up 186 steps. They often fell down before they made it to the top, killing or injuring everyone below them in a terrible domino effect. It was finally liberated on May 6, 1945 by U.S. soldiers. (Quote: “What no one knew in the home country, we knew – the SS-men who were beating us, told us that we build a camp for our rotten brothers from Poland, who today can still spend Easter uneventfully, without an inkling what awaits them.” – Stefan Józefowicz, prisoner)

03. Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp (May 1941 – November 1944)

Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp (May 1941 - November 1944)

The Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp was opened on May 21, 1941 and was located in northeastern France, the only permanent one of its kind on French soil during WWII. Around 52,000 prisoners were kept there at one time or another, with 25,000 of them dying. It had a large number of subcamps and was the first concentration camp liberated in western Europe, which took place on November 23, 1944 by Allied forces. (Quote: “Who knows… maybe one or two people would survive. Even that small hope is worth an entire life’s work.” – Boris Pahor, prisoner, on his work as a medic)

04. Neuengamme Concentration Camp (December 1938 – May 1945)

Neuengamme Concentration Camp (December 1938 - May 1945)

The Neuengamme concentration camp was located in northern Germany and opened on December 13, 1938. Estimates of the prisoner population are 101,000 total, with 55,000 dying as a result of being interred at Neuengamme. It also had more than 80 subcamps and it was deserted by the SS, along with the remaining prisoners, on May 2, 1945. (Quote: “A Jew is for me an object of disgust. I feel like vomiting when I see one.” – Joseph Goebbels)


05. Ohrdruf Concentration Camp (November 1944 – April 1945)

Ohrdruf Concentration Camp (November 1944 - April 1945)

The Ohrdruf concentration camp opened in November 1944 and was located in central Germany. 11,700 people were imprisoned there, most of whom were evacuated to Buchenwald when the Allies began advancing. Most of those too weak to march were executed by the SS. It was liberated on April 4, 1945 by U.S. soldiers. (Quote: “…one of the most appalling sights that I have ever seen.” – Gen. George S. Patton)

06. Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (May 1939 – April 1945)

Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (May 1939 - April 1945)

The Ravensbrück concentration camp was located in northern Germany and began operating in May 1939. It also had over 70 subcamps in the surrounding area. The unusual fact about this camp was that it was mostly for women and children. In total, over 150,000 people were imprisoned there, of which over 90,000 died. (The largest group of people were Polish women.) When the Soviet troops began to advance, nearly all of the remaining prisoners were forced on a death march. The camp was liberated on April 30, 1945, with the survivors of the evacuation being freed later that same day. (Quote: “…Remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering: our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble. When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.” – Unknown prisoner)

07. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (1936 – April 1945)

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (1936 - April 1945)

The Sachsenhausen concentration camp opened in 1936 and was located in northeastern Germany. Its primary use was as a prison camp for political opponents to the Nazis. Around 200,000 people passed through the gates, which were emblazoned with an infamous phrase common throughout the camps: “Work makes you free.” Out of those, 30,000 died within the confines of the camp, most of them being Soviet POW’s. Like many of the other camps, most of the remaining prisoners were evacuated before the Allied troops could arrive. It was liberated by Soviet and Polish troops on April 22, 1945 and 3,000 people were saved. (Quote: “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist; And then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist; And then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew; And then . . . they came for me . . . and by that time there was no one left to speak up.” – Martin Niemöller, prisoner)

08. Sobibór Extermination Camp (May 1942 – October 1943)

Sobibór Extermination Camp (May 1942 - October 1943)

The Sobibór extermination camp was located in eastern Poland and began operation on May 16, 1942. Anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 people, almost exclusively Jews, were killed in the gas chambers at Sobibór. After a revolt in October 1943, in which half of the prisoners escaped, the Germans bulldozed the camp, hoping to disguise it and keep the Allies from discovering it. (Quote: “Each of us had at some point carried out every camp duty in Sobibór (station squad, undressing, and gassing).” – SS officer Erich Bauer).

09. Treblinka Extermination Camp (July 1942 – October 1943)

Treblinka Extermination Camp (July 1942 - October 1943)

The Treblinka extermination camp opened on July 23, 1942 and was located in northeastern Poland. It was split into two camps, with Treblinka I being a forced labor camp and Treblinka II being an extermination camp. Between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people perished in Treblinka, most of which were Jewish. After a revolt in October 1943, similar to the one in Sobibór, the camp was demolished by the Germans and a farmhouse was built over the ruins. (Quote: “…all over the place there were hundreds of human bodies. Piles of packages, clothes, suitcases, everything in a mess. German and Ukrainian SS men stood at the corners of the barracks and were shooting blindly into the crowd…” – Oskar Berger, Jewish prisoner)

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