was the first concentration camp established in Nazi Germany - the
camp was opened on March 22, 1933. The first inmates were
primarily political prisoners, Social Democrats, Communists, trade
unionists, habitual criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses.
KZ Dachau served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi
concentration camps that followed. Its basic organization, camp
layout as well as the plan for the buildings were developed by
Theodor Eicke and were applied to all later camps. In total, over
200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were housed in KZ
Dachau, more than 25,000 prisoners are believed to have died in
the camp and almost another 10,000 in its subcamps. (Material licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License from Wikipedia).
In the late 1930's the Nazis
killed thousands of handicapped Germans by lethal injection and
poisonous gas. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in
June 1941, mobile killing units following in the wake of the
German Army began shooting massive numbers of Jews and Gypsies in
open fields and ravines on the outskirts of conquered cities and
Eventually the Nazis created a more secluded and organized method
of killing. Extermination centers were established in occupied
Poland with special apparatus especially designed for mass murder.
Giant death machines.
Six such death camps existed: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec,
Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka.
Large-scale murder by gas and body disposal through cremation were
conducted systematically by the Nazis and Adolf Hitler's SS
Victims were deported to these centers from Western Europe and
from the ghettos in Eastern Europe which the Nazis had
established. In addition, millions died in the ghettos and
concentration camps as a result of forced labor, starvation,
exposure, brutality, disease, and execution.
In 1933 approximately nine
million Jews lived in the countries of Europe that would be
occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three
European Jews had been killed by the SS Men. The
Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews.
The number of children killed during the Holocaust is not
fathomable and full statistics for the tragic fate of children who
died will never be known. Estimates range as high as 1.5 million
murdered children. This figure includes more than 1.2 million
Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands
of institutionalized children.