Difference between death camps and concentration camps
Death camp vs concentration camp:
When the terms death camps and concentration camps are heard, one’s mind instantly races back to Nazi Germany where millions of Jews and other individuals were imprisoned in such places, only to be put to death or be used as slaves till they succumbed to death. For those of who are not aware of what death camps and concentration camps are, these camps were places of misery, humiliation and torture that were used for detaining prisoners during trying times. However, the difference between death camps and concentration camps is not to be confused with one another. While both these places serve as big, dark blotches of shame in the history of mankind, they both share certain differences that may be useful in telling apart a death camp from a concentration camp.
What is a death camp?
A death camp, also known as an extermination camp is a place where individuals are brought to with the aim of putting them to death. The most famous death camps in the human history were those of the Nazis during the second world war where millions of Jews and other minority groups were put to death through various means such as starvation, gassing, hard labor, torture and etc. it was the Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler who ordered the first death camps to be built in 1942 with the aim of annihilating every Jew in the Lublin District SS. Initially it was said that the bodies of those who were killed were buried in mass graves but later on they were created. This systematic killing of the Jews and other minority groups is better known as the holocaust which remains as a horrendous memory in the minds of many.
What is a concentration camp?
A concentration camp is a place where people are sent in order to be detained without letting them maintain any sort of contact with the outside world. The people who are thus detained were people who were considered as “undesirable” or those of who were considered to be potential threats to the existing power or the group that exercises authority at the given time. The term concentration camps emerged from the word “reconcentration camps” which was the name given to the camps set up in Cuba by General Valeriano Weyler in 1897. The first ever concentration camps in history can be named as the concentration camps used by the U.S for detaining Native Americans and the camps set up by the British in the Boer wars. However, the term concentration camp was given a whole new definition by the Nazi Germany when concentration camps were set up for Jews and other groups who were considered as a threat and restrained under extreme conditions in order to suppress all real or potential opposition to Nazi authority.
What is the difference between concentration camps and death camps?
Death camps and concentration camps had existed throughout history and yet, these two terms gained a whole new recognition during the later times when the greed for power grew among nations. War ravaged the earth and turned nations against one another, plenty blood was shed and thus, in order to maintain power and order, concentration camps and death camps were set up where political prisoners and all those who were considered as threats to the party in power were held captive. The prisoners who were detained here were put under hard labor and were subjected to extremely hard living conditions. However, people in death camps were put under dire conditions with the aim of systematically killing them at the failure of which, they were put in to gas chambers and gassed. People at concentration camps however, were not killed in such a manner. Yet they were captives who were leading hard lives of execution, starvation, disease, exhaustion and physical brutality because of which there was a high death rate.
In these camps, no rules or regulations that saw to the various needs of the prisoners were followed. As a result, the terms death camp and concentration camp became synonymous with one another. Because of the same reason, the term “concentration camp” is known as an euphemism for the term “death camp” which bode definite death to its prisoners. Because of the ominous nature of the term “concentration camp”, the terms internment camp, resettlement camp, detention facility and etc were used to refer to concentration camps later on. However, there did exist concentration camps known as POW camps (Prisoner Of War camps) that followed due rules during the battles in Soviet Russia where the non-Soviet soldiers were detained. After the ceasefire, these prisoners of war are usually exchanged instead of being put to death as in death camps.