Nazi concentration camps

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Nazi concentration camps were system of detention/labor and extermination camps of Nazi Germany, and were a major part of The Holocaust, they killed millions of Jews, but also Soviet prisoners of war and others seen as undersirable by the Nazis; they complemented killing activities in the field, such as Einsatzgruppen and the Euthanasia Program (Nazi). Over time, there were 15-20 large camps, but, when their subcamps and work detachments were counted, approximately 15,000 facilities were in the system.

The system had different goals at different types. Dachau Concentration Camp was the first built, in 1933, for detention and sometimes correction. The transfer camps, Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt Concentration Camps, were used to hold possible prisoners to be ransomed.

As the war progressed, while there certainly were killings, the goal increasingly became economic exploitation of the prisoner under the WVHA economic administration, under Oswald Pohl, of the SS.

After the Wannsee Conference and the decision to physically exterminate the Jews, an internal SS factional strugge began, principally between the Reich Main Security Administration (RSHA), then under Reinhard Heydrich, which wanted to kill as quickly as possible, and the WVHA, which accepted death as the outcome but wanted to extract as much value as possible. Industries in need of slave labor supported the latter view. Especially dramatic were underground work facilities, such as Dora-Mittelbau Concentration Camp, which allowed work to continue under Allied bombing, but in extremely poor working conditions.

Four camps, Belzec, Chelmno, Sobibor and Treblinka were pure killing centers, retaining only enough slave labor to operate the camp. The largest killing center of all was the Birkenau or Auschwitz II subcamp of Auschwitz, the largest camp in the entire system. Madjanek, also called Lublin was a mixed extermination and transfer camp.