A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF THE KONZENTRATIONSLAGER SYSTEM:
Initial plans made for the detention camp Oranienburg in Prussia.
Himmler orders construction of the first concentration camp at Dachau, near München. The camp is to be guarded by the SS.
RAD (National Labor Service) camps in the Emsland are converted to punishment camps. A concentration camp is established in a workhouse at Moringen.
Theodor Eicke becomes Kommandant at Dachau.
Theodor Eicke expands the punishment directives at Dachau. These directives become effective for all concentration camps until the end of the war.
Himmler commissions Eicke to reorganise the concentration camps. KL-Dachau becomes the model.
SS assigned the responsibility for the Konzentrationslagers.
Eicke becomes "Inspector of Concentration Camps and of SS Guard Associations."
Almost all concentration camps are placed under the "Inspekteur der KL" (Inspector for Concentration Camps, or IKL), now reporting to SS-HQ.
Gestapo prison Columbia-Haus, Berlin, becomes a concentration camp.
Concentration camp Oranienburg is closed.
KL-Esterwegen is closed.
Construction of KL-Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg is completed.
The early camp Columbia-Haus is dissolved.
Construction of KL-Buchenwald begins.
Arrests take place of "elements detrimental to the people," so-called asocials, homosexuals, and Jehovah's Witnesses.
Lichtenburg is made into a concentration camp for women.
Establishment of the SS-owned "Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke GmbH" (German Soil and Stoneworks Ltd). The initial undertaking is a major brick factory at Sachsenhausen - with another near Buchenwald.
Construction starts at Flossenbürg.
Construction starts at Mauthausen near Linz, Austria.
Construction starts at KL-Neuengamme. Initially a satellite camp of KL-Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg, it becomes an independent concentration camp later.
Due to the arrest of about 35,000 Jews during Kristallnacht, the number of prisoners in concentration camps increases from around 25,000 to about 60,000.
Construction begins at Ravensbrück.
Women's concentration camp at Lichtenburg closed - prisoners are transferred to the larger women's concentration camp f.KL-Ravensbrück.
Opening of the Stutthof camp near Danzig. It is initially a camp for civilian prisoners and an SS-Sonderlager. In January 1942, it becomes a concentration camp.
At the outbreak of WWII, approximately 25,000 people are incarcerated in concentration camps.
KL-Dachau is temporarily closed until February 1940, due to its use as a training camp for the SS Death's Head units. Inmates of Dachau are sent to KL-Mauthausen.
Opening of SS-Sonderlager Hinzert.
First deportations of Jews from Austria and Czechoslovakia to occupied Poland.
Theodor Eicke becomes commander of all of the SS Death's Head units. Richard Glucks becomes the new inspector of concentration camps.
Beginning of the deportation of almost 200,000 Poles and 100,000 Jews from the German territory Wartheland to the Generalgouvernement.
A commission of specialists from the German Army and the SS visit the Auschwitz site.
Litzmannstadt ghetto, now containing 160,400 people, is changed into an enclosed ghetto - with the death penalty declared for any unauthorized departure from it.
Rudolf Höss becomes Kommandant of the new concentration camp Auschwitz.
The first Polish prisoners arrive at Auschwitz to work on the construction of the camp.
Dutch prisoners arrive at Konzentrationslager Buchenwald, Weimar.
Gross-Rosen in Lower Silesia becomes a sub-camp of KL-Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg. The following year it becomes an independent concentration camp.
Ghettos are established in Lublin and Radom.
Auschwitz - hundreds of Soviet POWs are murdered during tests with Zyklon-B in the bunker of Block-XI.
Initial plans for the camp at Auschwitz-II, Birkenau.
Soviet POWs are murdered in KL-Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg during tests using gas in converted vehicles.
Theresienstadt ghetto is established. It becomes a transit station on the way to the extermination camps for Jews from the Protectorat Böhmen und Mähren, and initially, older Jews and children from Germany.
Mass murder by gas starts at Kulmhof (Chelmno) - the first major camp built exclusively for the mass extermination of human beings. Except for a one year interruption from spring 1943 to 1944, the camp existed until January 1945.
Deportations from Germany to Theresienstadt begin.
Construction of Sobibor begins. Meanwhile, Belzec is operational.
Concentration camps are subordinated to the WVHA (Chief Office of Economic Administration).
Start of "Aktion Reinhard". The deportation of Jews from Lublin to the extermination camp at Belzec.
Auschwitz-II, Birkenau. Bunker-I, and later that spring in Bunker-II, are used as temporary killing installations. Following the decision that these are insufficient, construction begins soon after on much larger and more capable installations - which go into operation early in 1943.
The completed gas chambers at Sobibor are tested.
Selections start at Auschwitz-II, Birkenau. Those capable of work are temporarily spared.
Construction of the extermination camp at Treblinka begins.
Arbeitslager Monowitz, later known as Auschwitz III, Monowitz, is established and stocked with prisoners used for the construction of the massive Buna-Works (I. G. Farben).
Major deportations of Jews from France and Austria to Auschwitz begin.
Belzec's expansion results in a pause in the mass killings.
Dutch Jews and those from German territory are transported to Auschwitz.
Due to the expansion of the camp, gassings at Sobibor are suspended until autumn.
Himmler orders that the extermination of the Jewish population in the Generalgouvernement, named "Aktion Reinhard", is to be completed by the end of 1942. However, the objective was not quite reached by the turn of the year - the three death camps (Belzec, Treblinka and Sobibor), established to accomplish this target are closed between late 1942 and the end of 1943.
Mass gassings at Treblinka begin.
Transports of Jews from Belgium to Auschwitz begin. From Vienna and Theresienstadt, Jews are also transported to the extermination camp Maly Trostinec.
Mass murder by gas begins at KL-Lublin.
An order is issued that all Jews in concentration camps located within Germany are to be deported to Auschwitz and Lublin. Later that month, the order is extended to Jews working within the arms industry.
Concentration camp Kommandants are ordered to reduce the number of deaths among prisoners, who are required for the armaments industry. Meanwhile, camp doctors begin to murder sick inmates or those unfit for work.
Transports of Jews from Greece to Auschwitz begin.
The large recently installed extermination facilities at Auschwitz-II, Birkenau begin to operate, initially with Crematoriums IV and II, later with Crematorium V in April and Crematorium III in late June.
Following the termination of transports to Kulmhof (Chelmno), traces of the extermination facilities are removed.
Lublin-Majdanek is finally designated as a concentration camp. Previously, the term forced labour camp had been used.
Establishment of KL-Bergen-Belsen - parts of which had earlier served as a POW camp.
Himmler orders the Warsaw ghetto to be razed. All ghettos in former Polish or Soviet territories are also to be dissolved with the Jews facing deportation to concentration camps.
Since early spring, twenty transports of Jews from the Netherlands are sent to Sobibor. Of those people, 34,000 are killed, with only 19 survivors remaining.
Liquidation of the Gypsy camp at Auschwitz-II, Birkenau: nearly 3,000 men, women and children are murdered by gas.
Revolt by inmates at Treblinka. The extermination facilities - which had been used to murder approximately three-quarters of a million people are destroyed.
Prisoners are increasingly loaned out as slave laborers to the armaments industry, being exploited not only in the major sites, but also in the many external Kommandos created outside of the main camps. By the end of 1943, over 500 concentration camp satellites are assigned to industrial concerns - this marks the beginning of a dramatic increase in the number of Aussenlagers (sub-camps), attached to the major concentration camps.
"Aktion Reinhard" is officially completed after the closure of three extermination camps (Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka), located within the Generalgouvernement.
Transports to Auschwitz from Italy begin.
The Sobibor Revolt. The extermination facilities used to murder more than 250,000 people are destroyed.
Large transports of Jews from Greece and Hungary begin.
An SS order is passed stating that prisoners who have committed "sabotage" in the workplace are to be publicly executed.
The mass deportations of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz-II, Birkenau begin. The camp reaches its maximum capacity, conditions worsen further.
Kulmhof (Chelmno) reactivates its killing facilities - for the next few months Jews are once again murdered at the site.
Prisoners from the Riga and Kauen camps are evacuated to KL-Stutthof near Danzig.
Soviet forces liberate KL-Lublin.
All "Nacht und Nebel" ("Night and Fog") prisoners are transferred from prisons to concentration camps.
All remaining in mates at KL-Natzweiler-Struthof are transported to the Rhine-Neckar area to work in the underground armaments production facilities. The camp headquarters relocates to Guttenbach/Baden.
Sonderkommando revolt at Auschwitz-II, Birkenau. Many prisoners are killed by the SS following the revolt which resulted in one of the four major crematorium facilities being put out of operation.
Himmler orders the crematorium facilities and gas chamber complex at Auschwitz-II, Birkenau to be dismantled and blown up.
Auschwitz is liberated by Soviet forces.
Himmler orders that all remaining concentration camps are to be cleared as the enemy approaches from all sides. At least one third of those registered in January as concentration camp prisoners perish during death marches and mass executions.
British troops liberate KL-Bergen-Belsen. Buchenwald is also liberated.
US troops liberate the Mauthausen-Gusen camps, Soviet troops liberate Theresienstadt.