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Germany – The Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-45

4. Prisoners

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about the experience and suffering of the prisoners inside the Nazi concentration camps. We begin by looking at the different groups of prisoners detained at the camps and the classification system according to which they were identified. We then look at the informal and formal hierarchies between prisoners, focussing in particular on the role of the ‘kapos’, prisoners charged with supervisory duties in exchange for certain privileges. We conclude the module with a discussion of the different forms of resistance in which the prisoners engaged, frequently at the cost of their life.

To find out more about the history of the Nazi concentration camp system, visit this free online resource hosted by Birkbeck, University of London.

Course

In this course, Professor Nik Wachsmann (Birkbeck, University of London) explores the history of the Nazi concentration camps. We begin with a general introduction to the Nazi concentration camp system in module one. The second module considers the origins of the camp system in more detail, focussing in particular on the emergence of the early camps after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. In the third module, we think about the role of the SS in running the camps and explore possible reasons that motivated the perpetrators’ actions, before moving on in the fourth module to the experience of the prisoners inside the camp. The fifth module considers the role such camps as Auschwitz played in the Holocaust. Module six concludes the course with a discussion of the relationship between the Nazi concentration camps and the contemporary public.

To find out more about the history of the Nazi concentration camp system, visit this free online resource hosted by Birkbeck, University of London.

Lecturer

Professor Wachsmann joined the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck in 2005. He previously worked as a research fellow at Downing College (University of Cambridge) and as a lecturer at the University of Sheffield.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wachsmann, N. (2019, February 26). Germany – The Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-45 - Prisoners [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-nazi-concentration-camps/prisoners

MLA style

Wachsmann, Nik. "Germany – The Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-45 – Prisoners." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Feb 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-nazi-concentration-camps/prisoners

Image Credits

"Prisoner classification badges" by Bundesarchiv, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
"Kapo armband" © Oakleaf Militaria. Armband offered for historical purposes only. Oakleaf Militaria does not support or condone racism.
"Kapo and other prisoners at Plaszow" by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Leopold Page Photographic Collection