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Extermination camps
Map of camps
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
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Extermination camps
Canisters of Zyklon B pellets. The pellets released a poisonous gas when the canisters were opened.

Millions of people were killed using this poison gas during the Second World War, because in the Autumn of 1941 Hitler and the Nazi leadership had decided to kill all the Jews in Europe. In January 1942 top officials gathered in a villa in Berlin. At this top-secret "Wannsee Conference" they discussed how they would carry out Hitler’s horrific plan.


By the summer of 1941 Germany had occupied 19 European countries. In all of these countries they took measures to segregate the Jews from the rest of the population. Jews had to live in separate neighbourhoods, and separate schools were set up for Jewish children. In this way the Nazis isolated the Jewish population.


Jews received a call-up notice. Those who did not come were arrested. In some countries Jews were first deported to a transit camp and then to one of the concentration camps in Eastern Europe. They were told that they were going to a work camp. Most of them were killed on arrival.

Mass murder

The Nazis had built up experience in running concentration camps since 1933. But at Auschwitz, Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec, Majdanek and Treblinka they built "extermination camps." These camps were specifically designed for the killing and cremation of thousands of people every day. Millions of Jews, Sinti, Roma, Russians and Poles were murdered in the gas chambers.
Photo courtesy of Yad Vashem.
Anne Frank Guide
This day in history
Today: 18 July 2018
Then: 18 July 1945

Otto Frank hears that Anne and Margot have died in Bergen-Belsen.