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10 of the Worst Nazi Concentration Camps

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10 of the Worst Nazi Concentration Camps

With the President’s recent faux-pas concerning Nazi concentration camps, these horrific places are once again in the news.

Many Nazi concentration camps were located in Poland, but to call them “Polish death camps” is an error that the President of the United States should have known not to make. These Nazi-run camps were designed as prisons, labor camps, death camps, and human experiment laboratories.

Not every concentration camp was considered a death camp, meaning that not all were specifically designed and built to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews and other “undesirables,” but every camp was riddled with death and disease.

Below is a list of some of the most infamous Nazi concentration camps.

The 10 Worst Nazi Concentration Camps of WWII

1. Auschwitz-Birkenau. Also known as Auschwitz I and II, these camps are probably the most infamous camps of World War II. The complex was made up three smaller sub-camps. One was a work camp. When the prisoner was too old or too sick to work, he was sent to the death camp. Once murdered, slain prisoners were sent to the final facility – a crematorium. Auschwits had the capacity to murder 20,000 prisoners per day. It is estimated that at least 1.1 million people died there.

2. Treblinka. This complex was another extermination camp. Like Auschwitz, one portion of the facility was a forced labor camp while the other was death camp. The workers were forced to work in the gravel pits and irrigation areas. When they could no longer work, the prisoners were sent to the death camp; Treblinka II. It is estimated that at least 870,000 Jews and Roma people were killed at Treblinka.

3. Ebensee. This camp was established in November of 1943 in Austria. This was another forced labor camp that provided slave labor to build underground tunnels for Nazi armaments. The prisoners were literally worked to death. Due to the death rates there, Ebensee was considered to be one of the worst concentration camps in the Nazi network.

4. Sobibor. Sobibor was another Nazi extermination camp located in Poland. It is estimated that 200,000 to 250,000 prisoners were murdered there. On October 14, 1943, the prisoners revolted, killing several guards. Nearly 600 prisoners were able to escape. Almost immediately after the revolt occurred, the Nazis destroyed the camp and planted a huge number of trees in its place in an effort to conceal the camp’s former location.

nazi concentration camps

Lesser-Known Concentration Camps

5. Majdanek. Located near Lubin, Poland, Majdanek was considered to be a forced labor camp. However, it is estimated that nearly 80,000 people died there. The prisoners were forced to work the Steyr-Daimler-Puch weapons/munitions factory. However, the camp was also used a morbid sorting facility. Prisoners were forced to sort the property and valuables taken from the murder victims located at the Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka extermination camps.

6. Belzec. This camp is another Nazi extermination camp located in Poland. It is one of the first camps built and used in Operation Reinhard, the Nazi’s systematic plan to exterminate Polish Jews. It is estimated that more than 500,000 Jews were murdered at Belzec; however, little is known about the facility because there are only two known survivors of the death camp.

7. Chelmno. This extermination camp was infamous for its use of gas vans. Prisoners were herded into air-tight compartments located in the back of vans. The doors were sealed and the van’s exhaust system was pumped into the air-tight compartment until the prisoners died of carbon monoxide poisoning. It has been estimated that more than 150,000 people were killed at Chelmno.

8. Bergen-Belsen. This prisoner of war camp was located in Germany was used primarily for hostage exchanges. It is estimated that about 50,000 prisoners died in the camp, mainly of typhus, which caused the prisoners to become feverish and often deteriorate into a state of delirium.

nazi concentration camps

Final Camps of Death

9. Buchenwald. Buchenwald was a forced labor camp located in Germany. Prisoners were forced to work in weapons and armament facilities. However, the camp was also used as a Nazi research facility for typhus. While at the camp, prisoners were commonly exposed to the disease to allow Nazi scientists to test various experimental vaccines. It is estimated that more than 55,000 prisoners were killed at Buchenwald.

10. Dachau – Dachau was located in Germany and was the first concentration camp of the Nazi regime. This camp was also the longest operating camp in the Nazi network and was used as a prototype facility that all future camps would be designed after. It also served as a training facility for concentration camp guards.

Scientists at Dachau experimented on the prisoners as well. Their terrible research covered high altitude effects on the human body, and making sea water drinkable; among other experiments. These experiments usually resulted in the crippling, disfiguring, or death of the subjects.

These are only glimpses into the horrific events that took places in the Nazi concentration camps. There were about 15,000 Nazi extermination, forced labor, and concentration camps throughout Germany. The full extent of the atrocities that took place in those camps may never fully be known.

References & Image Credits:
(1) BBC – Auschwitz
(2) U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Originally published on

  • Anonymous

    Why not get a jump on everyone else and start tagging our FEMA camps for which one will win the superior atrocities award?

  • Olrik

    Alfred Hitchcock made a documentary about these so-called “death camps” BEFORE any of them had been liberated. 

  • Trevor Kelly

    OMG!!!!! WHY KILL ALL these people?!?!?!?! I can’t STAND THIS!!!!!!  Probably more than 1,000 people die!!! Let tem live!!! I’m NOT trying to cause trouble I’m JUST saying. :(

  • Nimbunje

    Still you gotta ask how the Germans were able to avert the MSDS risk of the chemicals used and how they were able to make a non airtight gas chamber and open drain under the camp prevent everyone in the camp being poisoned .Let alone everyone unloading all those poisoned bodies without PPE’s .No ones game to answer that one ,so what’s the go ?

  • Ryan Dube

    Well, my understanding of MSDS risks is that it’s all about long-term exposure…the sorts of manufacturing issues people face after 30 to 40 years of working somewhere. That isn’t exactly applicable here…

  • Philippine Water District

    Fantastic job. I didn’t anticipate this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!

  • Jordan

    About 3.5 million died in actual death camps and about 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust all together. 11 million is an estimate of all the people (Jews, Gypsies, Disabled, etc.) who died in the Holocaust. Way more than 1,000, kiddo. Plus they already died, these no longer exist, so don’t worry.

  • izo

    the worst concentration camp by cruelty is jasenovac in nazi croatia…much worse then auscwitz, there were killings only by knifes and hammers and all kind of torture, this was real hell where guards were sadistic psychopats, even germans were shocked by their crimes, half milion serbs died there, 35.000 gypses, 30.000 jews, 10.000 antifascicst croats, 10.000 muslims and many others, even some 5.000 slovenes

  • Truth Be Known

    I wish we had one of these so-called “extermination” camps hidden away in the US somewhere today – there’s a good number of politicians holding dual citizenship that are in need of a good short vacation at one!!!

  • Ryan Dube

    Which ones?

  • Sara

    Why is Jasenovac not on this list??

  • Sara

    Why is Jasenovac not on this list??

  • Dennis Dufrene

    Hi Sara. Great question. Jasenovac is not on the list because it was not (technically) a Nazi concentration camp. It was the only concentration camp that was not operated by the Germans. Izo is right in that it was one of the worst extermination camps that emerged, but it was actually established and operated by the Croatian governing body known as the Ustaše regime. Though this regime had the support of the Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during its operation, the camp’s main purpose was to exterminate ethnic Serbs from the Independent State of Croatia. That is not to say the regime did not murder Jews. In fact, they did, but it was not the main purpose of the camp.

    However, even though Jasenovac was a Ustaše concentration camp, it was still one of the most brutal. Because of the enigmatic history of this particular camp, a follow-up article focusing on Jasenovac may be in order.

    Thank you for reading!

  • 7th grader

    Well we did have mourn,entry camps for the Japanese Americans but they weren’t exterminated

  • Britton Thompson

    I’ve always heard that despite the Hell that the camps were to the inmates, medical science made enormous leaps in bounds during this time due to Nazi doctors having no compunction over conducting human medical testing. Can anyone tell me what these gains were? Which fields of medicine in particular saw the most advancements?

  • Kelvin Yuan

    All of the camps that were showed were ruled by pyschopats just like the Germany chancellor Hitler. You have to think that if he was never born all of those souls would still be here today. Most of the population would be alive if @@#$@#$ Hitler and his crazy ass Nazis were never born. Really think about that. Now its time for you to make a decision. If you think that what Hitler and his Nazis did was good, then you are just another pyschopat like them. THERE.

  • gram parsons

    i’ve read quite a lot on the camps and its generally felt very little worth while came out of them in purely medical terms.general consensus is there was never any coherent structure or emphasis on “saving” life to really amount to any real medical gains

    i’d be interested to know if you find anything that contradicts me.

  • gram parsons

    yip!and it premiered on tv last night!

  • mreichard7

    I didn’t know that, and I’m a Hitchcock fan. Thank you; I’ll look for it.

  • cleaner

    Where are you getting your figures?

  • Jacob Allred

    I know and I was reading some were that 10,000 were killed omg

  • Sweet C

    why one earth would you wish for an extermination camp, at which innocent people were killed at, in America?!?!?!

  • DB Cooper

    Agreed. Not questioning your claim, but sourcing is always appreciated if possible. In any case, thanks for sharing what you know and educating others.

  • DB Cooper

    The most important thing is that good people ALWAYS speak out against evil, regardless of the consequences. The moral of the Nazi story is that conformity, apathy and lack of courage can be very dangerous things.

  • taylorRod

    Hitler is dead. So are his lieutenants. We should be worrying about the next Hitler, one whose mannerisms are affable and reassuring and whose ideology sounds humane but will in fact lead to mass murder.

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