Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled before and during the Second World War. Killed in gas chambers, starved to death, killed during experiments or shot by the SS: the victims of the concentration camps were murdered in the most disparate ways, and the horror that swept across Europe began in 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.
The first concentration camps, of which the first ever was that of Dachau, were built in March of the same year to hold and torture political opponents and union organizers, initially helding around 45,000 prisoners.
Perhaps not everybody know that in the beginning it was not the SS who managed the life (and death) of prisoners in the camps, however, already on 11 April 1933 the paramilitary organization under Heinrich Himmler’s orders began to manage the organization of the concentration camps, starting right from Dachau. In the German camp, perhaps the most popular after Auschwitz, 41,500 people were killed.
Himmler, who took full control of the police and concentration camps throughout Germany in 1934–35, expanded the role of the camps to holding so-called “racially undesirable elements” of German society, such as Jews, criminals, homosexuals, and Romani.
It was in 1936 that the Nazi madness came and the so-called “state parasites” began to be arrested, which included vagrants and beggars, the unemployed and non-working, people with alcohol problems, the unruly and asocial and, even, people who they were guilty of “serious traffic offenses”.
The prisoners at the camp were massacred with the misleading slogan: “Arbeit macht frei! -The work makes you free ”, and tortured in the most disparate ways. The punishments, for “crimes” such as the missed greeting of an SS or having a cigarette butt on him, forced the inmates to unimaginable torture, among which we remember the slow dislocation of the arms, lashes and bunkers.
The number of people in camps peaked at 715,000 in January 1945. The Dachau camp was freed on April 29, 1945, not before the Nazis had sentenced to death and deported, with a final load of the very last hours of life of the camp, 8,000 prisoners. We will never know anything about them again.
Source and photos: Vintage.es