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Prisoners during Roll Call at the Oranienburg "Protective Custody Camp" Near Berlin (April 1, 1933)

Most concentration camp inmates were political opponents, so-called enemies of the race, common criminals, homosexuals, or “asocials” whom the Nazi leadership would not tolerate in the new German national community [Volksgemeinschaft]. The goal was not to rehabilitate prisoners, but rather to punish them by means of daily humiliation, arbitrary violence, and forced labor. Additionally, camps were supposed to have a deterrent effect on the rest of the population. The surveillance, torture, and exploitation of inmates was carried out by special SS units, the so-called SS Death's Head Units [Totenkopfverbände or SSTV] under the leadership of Theodor Eickes.

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Prisoners during Roll Call at the Oranienburg

© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz