Intimidating german last names
, KZ or KL) throughout the territories it controlled before and during the Second World War.
After September 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, concentration camps became places where millions of ordinary people were enslaved as part of the war effort, often starved, tortured and killed.When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they quickly moved to suppress all real and potential opposition.The general public was intimidated by the arbitrary psychological terror that was used by the special courts (Sondergerichte).Dachau served as both a prototype and a model for the other Nazi concentration camps.Almost every community in Germany had members who were taken there.During the war, new Nazi concentration camps for "undesirables" spread throughout the continent.
According to statistics by the German Ministry of Justice, about 1,200 camps and subcamps were run in countries occupied by Nazi Germany, Camps were being created near the centers of dense populations, often focusing on areas with large communities of Jews, Polish intelligentsia, Communists or Romani.
The extermination camps (Vernichtungslager) and death camps (Todeslager) were camps whose primary function was genocide.
The Nazis themselves distinguished the concentration camps from the extermination camps.
Western Allied POWs who were Jews, or who were suspected of being Jews by the Nazis, were usually sent to ordinary POW camps; however, a small number of them were sent to concentration camps because of antisemitic policies.
Sometimes the concentration camps were used to hold important prisoners, such as the generals involved in the attempted assassination of Hitler; U-boat Captain-turned-Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller; and Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, who was interned at Flossenbürg on February 7, 1945, until he was hanged on April 9, shortly before the war’s end.
The picture above depicts a speech by camp commander Theodor Eicke to prisoners who were about to be released.