Most people have heard of the famous concentration camps like Auschwitz and Mauthausen. But there were over 1,000 concentration camps used during the Holocaust, and each one had a particular focus on forced labor, imprisonment, processing, transit, or annihilation.
Nazi Forced Labor Camps
There were hundreds of forced labor camps, and one of the primary camps was Dachau, located in Germany and opened as one of the first concentration camps in March 1933. American forces liberated it in April of 1945. Over the 12 years that Dachau was in use as a concentration camp, the Nazi administration recorded 206,206 prisoners and nearly 32,000 deaths. However, it is acknowledged that tens of thousands of deaths went unrecorded, and being a long-term Dachau survivor was considered rare.
Understanding The Labor Camp Death Tolls
In the Nuremberg trials, Nazi officials acknowledged that millions of prisoners of war brought to concentration camps were never registered. They did this to lower the appearance of the number of people affected. As a result, large numbers of prisoners were detained and quickly executed without record.
At forced labor camps, thousands were killed soon after arrival, especially if there was overcrowding. In addition to forced labor, disease, torture, starvation, medical experiments were performed on inmates, each causing mass death.
In addition, Nazis employed the use of forced marches move group to and from camps. This occurred throughout the war and increasingly as the allies closed in on the Nazis. This included “death marches” where prisoners were forced to walk hundreds of miles to and from locations like Dachau, which killed tens of thousands as prisoners en-route. To learn more about the events that took place directly from a Dachau survivor visit Zachor Foundation. The non-profit Holocaust Remembrance Organization can be accessed at www.zachorfoundation.org.