A concentration camp is when, often during war, a large amount of people are imprisoned in a small area without adequate facilities. People in concentration camps were often required to do forced labor or kept there to wait for execution. The word “concentration camp” is usually associated with the Nazi camps in Germany, among which the most infamous were Auschwitz, Belsen and Dachau. Nazi Germany was however not the first to make use of the concentration camp system and the term, “concentration camp” was actually derived from the word the British used for the camps they used during the Second Anglo-Boer War.

Other Concentration Camps Prior To Nazi Germany

* The U.S. often used to keep Native Americans in concentration camps


* The British kept prisoners of war, as well as the wives and children of South African Boers in their concentration camps, where many people died from illness due to the lack of proper facilities.

* The Imperial Schutztruppe used concentration camps in Namibia (then German South-West Africa) in their genocide program of the Namaqua and Herero peoples. Luderitz had the biggest, harshest camp, the Shark Island Concentration Camp.

Types of Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany

Although Germany had a lot of concentration camps, many of them served different purposes, which is why the Nazis gave them different names. They had regular concentration camps, prisoner-of-war camps, extermination camps, transit camps and labor camps. In all of these camps, conditions were harsh and illnesses broke out all the time.

This post is part of our collection of resources on Nazi Germany. Click here for our comprehensive information resource on the society, ideology, and key events in Nazi Germany.

This post is also part of our larger historical resource on the Holocaust. Click here for our comprehensive article on the Holocaust.

Cite This Article
"What is a Concentration Camp?" History on the Net
© 2000-2023, Salem Media.
May 30, 2023 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/what-is-a-concentration-camp>
More Citation Information.