Concentration vs Extermination Camps During Nazi Germany.

Or how some people still confuse the two and come to some wrong conclusions about Germans.


Source: The liberation of Dachau, one of the very first concentration camps, near Munich.

The confusion between concentration camps and extermination camps continues to this day. Especially in the minds of the Western Allies (US and UK) and their now living descendants. This confusion causes some people to come to wrong conclusions and therefore, to make mistakes. I’ll try to explain why.

This article is built in chronological order so as to make one understand how the Holocaust happened and how the situation in 1934 was different from the one in 1936, and the one in 1938, the one in 1940, the one in 1943, and especially the one in 1945. In other words, the history of both the concentration camps and the Holocaust is not a static situation and, although at many places the two are intertwined and even overlapping, they are very distinct phenomena.

Here we go.

As soon as the Nazis (short for “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” or National-Socialist German Workers Party) came to power, the SA, Hitler’s brown-shirted party police — in fact a bunch of unemployed and in-need-of-an-activity thugs — started to round up their traditional opponents and bring them to special re-education camps. Without due process. Those camps were not leisure places but they were not known for systematic murder. In fact, one could be sentenced to a stay of a determined duration there, after which that person could be freed.

Source :

Within the year, there was a row between the SA and other older, more law-abiding, and/or better organized institutions in Germany (The Army, the judicial, the administration etc) and Hitler was forced to choose. He chose order and so, the SA were decapitated as an organisation and the SS took over running the camps.

To those camps were sent (initially), as I mentioned, the perceived enemies of the National-Socialists. These included mostly Communists (the traditional enemies who had fought the Nazis in the streets every weekend for years during the Great Depression)…



Marcus113, aka Marc Dauphin, MSM, CD, MD.

Retired ER Doc, Afghanistan veteran, granddad, novelist, artist, and wannabe philosopher.