What were the camps?

5.5d YV 3613 Luba Gurdus Majdanek.jpg
A prisoner's interpretation of life in the barracks at Majdanek, Poland
© 2011 Yad Vashem The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.

Hitler was appointed Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Immediately, the SA stepped up their campaign of violence and terror against the communists. They did this in order to increase their power and to reduce opposition.

Across Germany the local police and SA and SS rounded up many thousands of communists, socialists, church leaders and anyone else who might criticise the Nazis. 

As prisoners were physically concentrated in one place the Nazis called these first camps concentration camps.

Over the next 12 years, as they invaded and occupied lands all over Europe, the Nazis would build over 20,000 camps of various kinds. These included concentration camps, transit camps, forced labour or work camps and death camps.

This section will consider the different types of camps, the people that ran them and, more importantly, how these camps affected the millions of people who were prisoners within them.