Nazi concentration camps  

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"We do not know whether the study of the humanities, of the noblest that has been said and thought, can do very much to humanize. We do not know; and surely there is something rather terrible in our doubt whether the study and delight a man finds in Shakespeare make him any less capable of organizing a concentration camp." --"To Civilize Our Gentlemen" (1965) by George Steiner

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps were erected in Germany in March 1933 immediately after Hitler became Chancellor and his Nazi Party was given control over the police through Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick and Prussian Acting Interior Minister Hermann Göring. Used to hold and torture political opponents and union organizers, the camps initially held around 45,000 prisoners.

Heinrich Himmler's SS took full control of the police and concentration camps throughout Germany in 1934–35. Himmler expanded the role of the camps to holding so-called "racially undesirable elements" of German society, such as Jews, criminals, homosexuals, and Romani. The number of people in camps, which had fallen to 7,500, grew again to 21,000 by the start of World War II and peaked at 715,000 in January 1945.

The concentration camps were administered since 1934 by Concentration Camps Inspectorate which in 1940 was merged into SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt and were guarded by SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV).

Holocaust scholars draw a distinction between concentration camps (described in this article) and extermination camps, which were established by Nazi Germany for the industrial-scale mass murder of Jews in the ghettos and concentration camp populations.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nazi concentration camps" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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