Nazi Camp System

Essay by omirixJunior High, 8th gradeA+, February 2005

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        The Nazi camp system, called a concentration camp, was a system to exterminate many political opponents of the Nazi state. In the early years of the Third Reich, the Nazis targeted mostly Communists and Socialists. In about 1935, the regime also looked down heavily on the Jews. They were hated by the Nazis, and the Jews became a primary target. During World War II, the organization and scale of the Nazi camp system expanded rapidly and the purpose of the camps evolved beyond imprisonment toward forced labor and outright murder. The Germans deported Jews from all over occupied Europe to extermination camps in Poland, where they were systematically killed, and also to concentration camps, where they were drafted for forced labor -- "extermination through work." Several hundred thousand Roma (Gypsies) and Soviet prisoners of war were also systematically murdered.

        The main camps in the concentration camp system were Dachau, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz.

Auschwitz is the name used for a group of German concentration camps, derived from the Germanized form of the nearby Polish town of Oświęcim, situated about 60 km southwest of Krakow. Beginning in 1940, Nazi Germany built several concentration camps and an extermination camp in the area, which at the time had been annexed by Germany. The camps were a major constituent of the Holocaust. There were three main camps, and thirty-nine subcamps.

        Buchenwald was a Nazi concentration camp established on Ettersberg Hill near Weimar, Thuringia, Germany, in July 1937. The name "Buchenwald" means "beech forest" in German, such a forest surrounding the area where the camp stood. Weimar is a famous German town known for centuries for its cultural life. Goethe, Schiller, Franz Liszt, and Bach lived in Weimar. Goethe used to climb the Ettersberg and sit and work under a beech tree. It was this...