The Concentration Camps and Ghettos of Europe

A Web Page by Sorelle Friedler

The Rail Entrance to Birkenau

Discrimination against Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, and other minority groups began in 1933 when the Nazis under Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany and it was in 1933 that the first concentration camps in Germany were opened. However, the deportations and roundups did not really begin until after Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass), a night if riots in 1938 when many Jews were murdered, their businesses destroyed, and synagogues burned. After that time mostly Jews, but also Gypsies and other groups who did not conform with the norm as well as political prisoners and people who spoke out against the government, were rounded up and moved into ghettos or taken directly to concentration camps. There were many mass executions and as the Nazis took over more and more of Europe their ideology spread with them. Soon there were concentration camps and ghettos in Poland, Austria, Checkoslovakia, and many other places. In 1942 the mass killings at the death camps and concentration camps began. Prisoners were gassed, shot, starved, and worked to death. Those still living were forced to bury the dead in mass graves, or help to work the huge ovens which turned the dead bodies into ash. Many also died of diseases and malnutrition. Prisoners were also forced on death marches towards the end of the war as the Allies approached. By 1945 when World War II ended 6 million Jews (two out of every three living in what would become Nazi territory during the war) had been systematically murdered.

Please visit The Holocaust An Historical Summary, a wonderful site where I found much of this information.


The World War II Poetry Main Page

A Paper Comparing World War II Poetry

World War II Poetry

Annotated Bibliography

Other Sites That May Be Of Use

The Japanese Internment

Concentration Camps and Ghettos