Holocaust Lesson 2 (2 day lesson) Essential Questions

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By 1939, six large concentration camps, located in Nazi-occupied Poland, had been established. After 1939, with the beginning of the War, the concentration camps increasingly became places where the non-political enemies of the Nazis, including Jews and prisoners of war (POWs), were either killed or forced to act as slave laborers, and kept undernourished and tortured. During the War, concentration camps for Jews and other "undesirables" were spread throughout Europe, with new camps being created near centers of heavy undesirable" populations, often focusing on areas with large Jewish, Polish intelligentsia, communist, or Gypsy populations.

There were camps in every country occupied by the Nazis. The transportation of prisoners was often carried out under horrifying conditions using rail freight cars, in which many died before they reached their destination. Concentration camps also existed in Germany itself, and while not specifically designed for extermination, many concentration camp prisoners died because of harsh conditions or were executed.

After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis created ghettos to which Jews and Gypsies were confined, until they were eventually shipped to death camps and killed. The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest, with 380,000 people and the Łódź Ghetto, the second largest, holding about 160,000, but ghettos were instituted in many cities. On July 19, 1942, Heinrich Himmler ordered the start of the deportations of Jews from the ghettos to the death camps.

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