Amber Hughes History 301 Dr. Lassiter November 16, 1999 Equal Responsibility for All: An In-depth Look at Four Prison Camps during WWII Over six million people were either worked to death or murdered in cold blood inside German concentration camps during World War II. This number includes both Jews and non-Jews who died inside the camps, but does not count the many people who were executed in the towns and ghettos. Almost the entire Jewish population of Eastern Europe was murdered during this war. Murdered alongside the Jews were political prisoners, homosexuals, gypsies and other minority groups. The Jews, however, were the only group singled out for absolute extermination (Chatel and Feree 6). Although many of the concentration camps and sub-camps were started for purposes other than the annihilation of minority groups, without exception, every camp contributed to the millions of dead left after the war. The first concentration camp was started on March 22, 1933, at Dachau. “The initial decision to open concentration camps was made by Herman Goering, the minister of Prussia” (Chatel and Feree 1). In fact, Dachau’s first prisoners were not Jews. They were “political prisoners (e.g. Communists or Social Democrats), habitual criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses, and “anti-socials” (5). After the Second World War officially started, concentration camps began to spring up all over Eastern Europe. Camps such as Buchenwald, started in 1937, and Bergen-Belsen, established in 1943, were “horrible places where many people died” (Treblinka 1), but were not established for the sole purpose of mass murders. Bergen-Belsen, the worst known work camp, was a camp for prisoner exchange and was later used as a sick camp for prisoners who could no longer work in the other concentration camps (1). There were also six extermination camps: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzer, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka (Chatel and Fer…

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