New approaches to the Nazi concentration camps

Special issue

Before the holocaust: new approaches to the Nazi concentration camps, 1933-1939 


From Journal of Contemporary History

The Nazi concentration camps are a potent symbol for the destructive power of modern state. Some two million prisoners lost their lives, including around one million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, in Auschwitz, the largest and deadliest of all the concentration camps. The roots of the early camps prior to the Nazi capture of power are just one of many open questions of research. There are still many areas of the pre-war camps that remain unexplored. This special issue examines some of these aspects, both in terms of the development of the pre-war concentration camps as well as their broader significance for the Nazi dictatorship. The camps were art of a wider network of Nazi terror. Articles have been grouped together thematically and cover: the formation of the Nazi party, the role of influential  Commandant Hans Loritz Lorit, the arrest and imprisonment of German Jews, the significance of  music and musical practice’s in camps as an expression of solidarity and survival, suicide, Nazi Propaganda and the complex meaning of the pre-war Nazi concentration camp as a management strategy for female prostitutes. Camps emerged as the most violent and destructive expression of the Nazi policy of exclusion, laying the foundation for systematic mass murder during the Second World War.

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Article details

Goeschel, C., & Wachsmann, N. (2010). Before Auschwitz: The Formation of the Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-9 Journal of Contemporary History, 45 (3), 515-534 DOI: 10.1177/0022009410366554

Harris, V. (2010). The Role of the Concentration Camps in the Nazi Repression of Prostitutes, 1933-9 Journal of Contemporary History, 45 (3), 675-698 DOI: 10.1177/0022009410366705

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