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Concentration Camps A concentration camp is where prisoners of war enemy aliens and political prisoners are detained and confined typically under harsh conditions or place or situation characterized by extremely harsh conditions The first concentration camps were established in 1933 for confinement of opponents of the Nazi Party The supposed opposition soon included all Jews Gypsies and certain other groups By 1939 there were six camps Dachau Sachsenhausen Buchenwald Mauthausen Flossenburg and Ravensbruck Auschwitz Auschwitz or Auschwitz-Birkenau is the best-known of all Nazi death camps though Auschwitz was just one of six extermination camps It was also a labor concentration camp extracting prisoners value from them in the form of hard labor for weeks or months Auschwitz was the end of the line for millions of Jews gypsies Jehovahs Witnesses and other innocents Some spend almost two years in this most infamous of concentration camps The average prisoner only survived eight weeks in Auschwitz Some learned the ins and outs of survival in Auschwitz Auschwitz was the largest concentration and extermination camp constructed in the Third Reich Located 37 miles west of Krakow Poland Auschwitz was home to both the greatest number of forced laborers and deaths The history of the camp began on April 27 1940 when Heinrich Himmler the head of the SS and Gestapo ordered the construction of the camp in north-east Silesia a region captured by the Nazis in September 1939 The camp was built by three-hundred Jewish prisoners from the local town of Oswiecim and its surrounding area In June of 1940 the camp opened for Polish political prisoners By 1941 there were about 11000 prisoners most of whom were Polish From May 1940 to the end of 1943 Rudolf Hess was head commander of Auschwitz Under his leadership Auschwitz quickly became known as the harshest prison camp in the Nazi regime Polish prisoners were forced to stand at attention for roll call for hours
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