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Glossary

  • Early Concentration Camps

    The so-called "Early Concentration Camps", also known as "unofficial concentration camps," were established as of March 1933 for the imprisonment of political opponents, among them communists or social democrats. Lacking a standard or uniform underlying system, most of these camps were provisionally set up in locations already used to similar ends and ceased to exist after a few months. The camps were under the control of the SA or Gestapo. They were supplanted by the new-established and systematized ulterior concentration camps. Dachau, the first concentration camp, became the model for the concentration camp system.

  • Emigration

    Leaving one's home country or area to take up permanent residence in another. Blocks were placed on emigration during and around World War II. The ITS keeps in its archives documents on the emigration of Displaced Persons in the post-war era.

  • Emsland Camps

    The so-called "Emsland Camps" comprise 15 detention sites located either in the rural district of Emsland or in the rural district of Grafschaft Bentheim. Centrally managed and directed from Papenburg, the camps had changing functions, serving as concentration camps, prisoner of war camps and penal camps. The inmates of the camps were mainly assigned to the "cultivation of the marshland."

  • Entry Book, Entry List

    The Nazis considered all the prisoners who were new arrivals to one of the National Socialist camps and who had been registered by the camp management to be "Zugänge" (entries). Their names and numbers were recorded in a so-called Zugangsbuch (Entry Book) or Zugangsliste (Entry List).

  • Evidence of employment

    Certificate made out by the ITS in confirmation of a person’s forced laborer status during or displaced person’s (DP) status after the war. Requesters often used this evidence of employment to substantiate their compensation or pension claims.

  • Excerpt from Documents

    A typed form which includes all information about a persecutee that the ITS could extract from the original concentration camp documents. Excerpts from documents mostly served for legal requirements, compensation cases and applications for a pension. Today excerpts from documents are only rarely needed.

  • Exchange or Holding Camp

    The Nazi regime used exchange or holding camps as internment sites for Jews and foreigners. The prisoners were supposed to be exchanged for German civilian internees on the enemy's territory abroad, for raw materials or foreign currency. They had the role of hostages the Nazis took to secure other countries' neutrality or goodwill. Compared with other camps, general conditions were better here, although they deteriorated notably towards the war end. Only a portion of the prisoners were allowed to leave, for instance to Switzerland by way of exchange; for many of them, though, the holding camps turned out to be stops on their transport route to the extermination camps.

  • Extermination camps

    The Vernichtungslager (extermination or death camps) were part of the National Socialist camp system. Established late in 1941, the camps served the sole purpose of murdering the prisoners upon arrival. More than three million European Jews and Sinti and Roma were murdered in the gas chambers and gas vans of the Nazi extermination camps. The six largest Vernichtungslager were Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Lublin-Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka.