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The Forgotten Camps

Forgotten camps

Throughout September 2016, we are looking at some of the Nazi camps forgotten by history, sometimes neither commemorated or mentioned in commercial or accessible texts. To understand the scale of the Holocaust, an understanding of the areas of crime are essential for all readers. So often, we see memorial sites not explaining the full crimes that were carried out as they do not fit within the museum perimeters. However, many sites are simply unknown completely. Our project looks to tackle some of the examples and issues faced.


Read our conclusion of our project about forgotten Nazi camps in Europe.


Thousands of camps were established all over Europe in the 1930s and the 1940s: some of them are widely known for their dimensions, their functions, the number of prisoners who worked and died there, their story. Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Buchenwald, Treblinka, Majdanek, only to quote some of them, are names which immediately bring to mind images, datas, stories, the Final Solution, even though they were different from one another and also changed their features during the war years. Many other camps, especially the internment camps, the transit camps, the sub-camps, whose number was impressive, have been almost forgotten and neglected by the public opinion and very often by the official historiography. Only specialistic researchers or local residents know about them, although they played a significant role during the war, in the implementation of the Final Solution and in the exploitation of forced labor. These are the reasons why, after the Stolpersteine project, we are going to explore this topic in September. All members are invited to send pictures or information of Camps in their area, we would really appreciate your help. A section on this topic will be soon published on our website. 

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Conclusion

A closing reflection, even though we will keep on working on this topic which deserves to be fully explored. As a matter of fact it concerns both the issues of memory and preservation. With regard to memory, these camps may be considered forgotten since in the educational system major and larger Camps are usually studied, they are often known only in the country where they were established, not all their features and functions have been investigated. 

From the point of view of the preservation, while some of them have, more or less recently, been restored, and memorials were established, others still need to be given the attention they deserve. We would like to close with a deep reflection written by Bill Niven in his book Facing The Nazi Past:

An 'ideal' concentration camp memorial site might be one in which the whole topography is visible, where there is detailed documentation of the history of the camp, where there is comprehensive scope for commemoration, and where bias and idealization are replaced by a respect for complexities and multiple narratives.