Death Camps in WWII
There were many different types of camps set up during the Holocaust, including death camps. There were also labor camps, transit camps, prisoner of war camps, and concentration camps. These were the first to come along. When Jews started being taken here in 1938, the need for more torture and cleansing continued to grow alongside the hatred and sheer murdering mindset of the SS Men and those who worked under Hitler. Eventually, death camps were built to create efficiency and order. People could be taken to other camps for other needs, or they could go straight to a death camp, or extermination camp, to be killed.
At these camps, Jews and other inferiors were herded in like cattle, told to take off their clothes and go to the shower. Instead, they were led into a gas chamber, where they were locked in and exposed to toxic gas until they died. In some cases, they were brought in, lined up along a trench, and shot execution-style in mass numbers. They fell into the trenches, where they died and the dirt was carelessly thrown back over them. In some cases, people were shot and then taken to the crematoriums, where their bodies were burned.
Survivors of death camps, of which there were a few, often relate their stories with a memory of the smell of the crematoriums. They discuss how they would awaken in the morning to the smell of burning flesh and have to live with that smell throughout the day, all the while knowing they could be next. Auschwitz, which was a concentration and extermination camp, was the largest camp they had. The Nazis attempted to eliminate and cover up this camp in 1944 as they saw the allies getting closer to victory, but it was to no avail.
From survivor stories and other historical information, it is estimated that more than 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz alone. Going to a death camp during World War II didn't always mean certain death. Some people were put to work, put in small bunks, starved, and tortured before they were killed. It depended on the demeanor and style of the SS Men in charge. Some 'shipments' of prisoners came right in and went right to the gas chambers while others were put in bunks or spared for awhile before being killed. The Holocaust is the biggest example of genocide in the 20th century and death camps were the efficient solution that perpetuated the murder of more than 11 million people in total.