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Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany: The New Histories by Nikolaus Wachsmann, Jane Caplan

By Nikolaus Wachsmann, Jane Caplan

The infamous focus camp procedure used to be a significant pillar of the 3rd Reich, assisting the Nazi warfare opposed to political, racial and social outsiders when additionally intimidating the inhabitants at huge. proven throughout the first months of the Nazi dictatorship in 1933, numerous million males, girls and youngsters of many nationalities were incarcerated within the camps by way of the tip of the second one global conflict. not less than million misplaced their lives. This entire quantity bargains the 1st evaluation of the new scholarship that has replaced the best way the camps are studied during the last twenty years. Written via a global group of specialists, the publication covers such issues because the earliest camps; social existence, paintings and team of workers within the camps; the general public face of the camps; problems with gender and commemoration; and the connection among focus camps and the ultimate answer. The ebook presents a complete advent to the present historiography of the camps, highlighting the major conclusions which were made, commenting on carrying on with parts of dialogue, and suggesting attainable instructions for destiny study.

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Example text

As for life inside, the contrasts were equally stark. The relentless military order of the camp in the late 1930s had been replaced by dirt, disease and death by 1945. Most importantly, the vast majority of inmates before the war had survived; during the war, death – from abuse, neglect, forced labour and systematic mass extermination – swept through the camps. And yet, there were also important continuities – in terms of structure, administration and personnel – across different periods in the camps’ history.

The preparation for war also left its mark on the Camp SS. Himmler had military ambitions and as war loomed closer, Hitler agreed that the SS Death’s Head units could also see action outside the barbed wire. In June 1938, Hitler promoted them to the status of standing armed troops; in the event of war, he later made clear, they would be given military duties at the front. This was accompanied by the rapid extension of SS Death’s Head units, in terms of weaponry and personnel. The troops had already grown during the mid-1930s, but the real push came now, from 4,833 (end of 1937) to 22,033 men (summer 1939).

44 While the violence across Germany was quickly called off by Nazi leaders, inside the camps the pogrom effectively continued for several more weeks. The abuse of Jewish prisoners was unprecedented: deprivation, torture, suicide and murder reached new heights, as did corruption (SS men systematically stole money and valuables). 45 The terror against Jewish prisoners was a glimpse into the future of the camps, foreshadowing the dire conditions during the war. 46 But the pogrom was no turning point in the camps’ history.

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