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The Organizational Structure Of Nazi Concentration Camp

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Although the prisoners faced chaos and destruction in the concentration camps, the camps themselves were relatively organized. Organizations in the camps were ranged from commanders to the camp officers, and the prisoners. The concentration camps were the prisoner’s worst nightmare, involving death, hard labor, and many other hardships. However, the Nazis kept the concentration camps in order even by doing so with force. The concentration camps during World War II were well organized throughout the camps, however, the prisoners weren’t the only people that were put into order.

The commanders of the concentration camps were the highest in the ranking of the camps. They kept everything in order as far as keeping the prisoners in check. In the article, “Jewish officer and liberator recount Nazi horrors, the elation of vengeance”, Alvin Weinstein states, “We went inside and stopped them (from killing the two) and put the beaten Nazis on a jeep that took them outside the camp. They were so scared they jumped out of the jeep and tried to run but a guard killed them both.” (Alon). The Commanders were harsh on the Jews because they had power and that power gave them the opportunity to assault, manipulate, and mentally break down the Jews. They felt as if this was a sick game and that they were winning and knew, in reality, the Jews would never have a chance against them. Alvin Weinstein also stated in, “Jewish officer and liberator recount Nazi horrors, the elation of vengeance”, “Suddenly these men’s strength returned to them and they beat those Hitlerites until they nearly died,’ he wrote.” (Alon). The commanders showed how in power they really were and proved that they were the ones that were the high ranking. This also gave the commanders a tremendous amount of confidence.

Ranking in under the commanders were the camp officers. They were under the commander’s orders were also the ones to assault the Jews. In the article, “The life of an Auschwitz Guard”, Oskar Groening states, “. There was a load of rubbish, and next to this rubbish were ill people, unable to walk, perhaps a child that had lost its mother, or perhaps during searching the train somebody had hidden — and these people were simply killed with a shot through the head.” (Rees). They were completely heartless and were well aware of what they were doing as far as eliminating people left and right. As Oskar Groening also states in the article, “The life of an Auschwitz Guard”, “A child was simply pulled on the leg and thrown on a lorry … then when it cried like a sick chicken, they chucked it against the edge of the lorry.” (Rees). The lack of caring was shown as they made actions as the article states.

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Furthermore, the Kapos were one of the main groups in the concentration camps that contained all officers. They were by far, one of the most violent groups the camps had. The article, “Role of Kapos in Nazi Concentration Camps”, states, “While there were many SS who staffed the camps, their ranks were supplemented with local auxiliary troops and prisoners. Prisoners that were chosen to be in these higher positions served in the role of Kapos.” (Goss). The position of the Kapos was one that could be earned and sometimes gave higher ranking at points. In the article, “Role of Kapos in Nazi Concentration Camps”, it also states, “While there were Kapos whose original internment was for asocial, political, or racial purposes (such as Jews), the vast majority of Kapos were criminal internees.” (Goss). The Kapos were ones who showed no mercy and didn’t care.

Another group that was very big in the organization of the camps was the Gestapo’s. They were very similar to the groups such as the Kapos and the SS. As it states in the article, “Gestapo”, “The Gestapo, as well as its parent organization, the SS, aided the Einsatzgruppen, or mobile killing units, responsible for the massacre of nearly one million Jews during the Holocaust.” (Lerner). The Gestapo was a group that was lower in ranking but definitely want not forgotten.

Next, the prisoners are the lowest ranking class in the concentration camps. They were the ones looked down upon and beaten and assaulted. In the article, “The System”, states, “This system spared the S.S. the need to interact too closely with prisoners, whom they regarded as bearers of filth and disease, and also helped to divide the inmate population against itself.” (Kirsch). The Jews had nothing left as the officers took almost everything they had as well as split families. The article, “The System”, also states, “At the bottom of the K.L. hierarchy, even below the criminals, were the Jews.” (Kirsch). The Jews were at the bottom of the ranking in the concentration camps normally. They were dealt pain on a daily and suffered through horrendous times, which caused most of them to lose their lives.

In conclusion, the organization in the concentration were well organized even though the lifestyle at the camps were horrific. As the commanders reach the top of the rankings, followed by the camp officers, then to the Kapos and the Gestapo, and ending with prisoners or inmates, also known as Jews. The commanders were boss most of the time ordering most other officers with lower positions, jobs to exterminate the Jews. The Jews who were at the lowest part suffered greatly in the concentration of being exterminated and living in conditions that one human should not be in. Although World War II was a nightmare and a tragedy in history, it will be an event that one will never forget, as well as the millions that lost their lives. They will never be forgotten.

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The Organizational Structure Of Nazi Concentration Camp. (2022, February 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 2, 2023, from
“The Organizational Structure Of Nazi Concentration Camp.” Edubirdie, 26 Feb. 2022,
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