This article presents a partial list of the most prominent Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps set up across Europe before and during the course of World War II and the Holocaust. 1939, before the onset of war, most prisoners consisted of German Communists, Le camp de Gurs, 1939-1945 PDF, Social Democrats, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially ‘deviant’ behavior by the Germans.
They were not utilized to sustain the German war effort. Although the term ‘concentration camp’ is often used as a general term for all German camps during World War II, there were in fact several types of concentration camps in the German camp system. Holocaust scholars make a clear distinction between death camps and concentration camps which served a number of war related purposes including prison facilities, labor camps, prisoner of war camps, and transit camps among others. Concentration camps served primarily as detention and slave labor exploitation centers. Extermination camps were designed and built exclusively to kill prisoners on a massive scale, often immediately upon arrival.
The concentration camps held large groups of prisoners without trial or judicial process. In modern historiography, the term refers to a place of systemic mistreatment, starvation, forced labour and murder. Statistical and numerical data presented in the table below originates from a wide variety of publications and therefore does not constitute a representative sample of the total. The Ghettos in German-occupied Europe are generally not included in this list. Relevant information can be found at the separate List of Nazi-era ghettos.