The Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-1939


The Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-1939

A Documentary History

Edited and with an introduction by Christian Goeschel and Nikolaus Wachsmann
Original German documents translated by Ewald Osers

448 pages
1 map, 1 chronology, 2 appendixes


July 2012


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About the Book

Weeks after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazi regime established the first concentration camps in Germany. Initially used for real and suspected political enemies, the camps increasingly came under SS control and became sites for the repression of social outsiders and German Jews. Terror was central to the Nazi regime from the beginning, and the camps gradually moved toward the center of repression, torture, and mass murder during World War II and the Holocaust.

This collection brings together revealing primary documents on the crucial origins of the Nazi concentration camp system in the prewar years between 1933 and 1939, which have been overlooked thus far. Many of the documents are unpublished and have been translated into English for the first time. These documents provide insight into the camps from multiple perspectives, including those of prisoners, Nazi officials, and foreign observers, and shed light on the complex relationship between terror, state, and society in the Third Reich.

Author Bio

Christian Goeschel teaches modern European history at the Australian National University in Canberra. He is the author of Suicide in Nazi Germany. Nikolaus Wachsmann teaches modern German history at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Hitler’s Prisons: Legal Terror in Nazi Germany and coeditor of Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany: The New Histories.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Prewar Nazi Concentration Camps
Translator's Note
List of Abbreviations
1. The Early Camps, 1933-1934
   1.1. The Nazi Regime and the Camps
   1.2. Life and Death Inside
   1.3. The Prisoners
   1.4. The Camps and the Public
2. The SS Concentration Camp System
   2.1. Heinrich Himmler and the Creation of the SS Camp System
   2.2. Ways into the Concentration Camps
   2.3. The Camps in the Nazi Web of Terror
   2.4. The SS Economy and the Camps
3. Running the Camps
   3.1. Theodor Eicke and the Concentration Camps
   3.2. The Leaders of the Camp SS
   3.3. Rank-and-File Guards
4. Life and Death in the Camps
   4.1. Daily Rituals and General Conditions
   4.2. Self-Assertion
   4.3. Violence and Punishment
5. Prisoner Groups
   5.1. Prisoner Categories
   5.2. Political Prisoners
   5.3. Social Outsiders
   5.4. Jews
   5.5. Women
6. The Camps and the Public
   6.1. The Camps in Nazi Propaganda
   6.2. Foreign Views on the Camps
   6.3. The Camps and German Society
Appendix A: Daily Inmate Numbers in SS Concentration Camps, 1935<EN>1939
Appendix B: SS Ranks and Equivalents in the Wehrmacht and the U.S. Army

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