Death Camps vs Concentration Camps: Difference and Comparison

Death camps and concentration camps were at peaks at the time of Hitler. Both camps settled and started in the middle 1900s. Nazis used these camps to increase their power and raise sheer terror in people.


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The death camp and concentration camp both killed millions of people, though they have many differences as they have a very distinct motive.

Key Takeaways

  1. Death camps served as extermination centers for mass killing.
  2. Concentration camps functioned primarily for forced labor and detention.
  3. Both types of camps were instrumental in the Holocaust, though their purposes differed significantly.

Death Camps vs Concentration Camps

The difference between the Death camp and the concentration camp is the motive behind the camp. The death camp was set to murder people systematically.

The Nazis used the death camp to murder the Jews. The concentration camp was to confine people and use them as slaves.

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The death camps were established by the Nazis, who murdered millions of people in during world war II in Europe. The death camps were set to murder mainly Jews.

It was the mass murder of people through poisonous gas. People were transported via train to these camps and were murdered within hours of their reach.

The concentration camps were established pre-war for people titled as undesirable. In these camps, people of all nationalities were confined to using them as slaves.

And they were never treated right. 75% of people in the concentration camps died due to starvation, exhaustion, diseases, and brutal treatment. It’s a slow death.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDeath CampConcentration Camp
What are they?Camp to mass murder people.Camp to imprison people without a trial.
AimThe aim was mass execution.The aim was to use people as slaves.
PriorityThe priority was to kill the Jews.The priority was labor, no nationality or religion was prioritized.
Established in19411933
Death2.7 million people died in death camps.A million people died in the concentration camps.

What is Death Camp?

Death camps were mostly known as Extermination Camps. The camps were established in 1941 by the Nazis for mass murder. The priority of the camps was to kill the Jews.

Almost 2.7 million people were murdered in these camps. And it is said that 90% of them were Jews. These camps were the tools of mass execution.

Majdanek, Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec, Treblinka, and Auschwitz-Birkenau were the first six camps. They used gas vanes or gas chambers to mass murder people.

These gases were always poisonous. Most of the Jews and others were deported from different cities via train to these camps and were murdered within hours of their arrival.

Although some of the members were used first to manage the camp and keep the information, i.e., the administrative work, later, they were murdered on the arrival of new members.

Also, the extermination camp of Auschwitz and Majdanek used a different method known as extermination through labor in which they were forced to work.

The inmates have to work 12 hours a day without proper food, water, clothing, and rest. Indeed, Nazis used these camps to kill the people who became disfigured or mentally unstable after experimenting on them in the concentration camps.

These death camps had no infrastructure other than the gas chambers, the accommodation of the guards operating the place, and the chamber to keep or sort the belongings of those who were murdered.

What is Concentration Camp?

Concentration camps were established in 1933 to confine people and use them as slaves. These camps were a prison for people from different nationalities who were forced to labor, to work 12 hours a day without sufficient living conditions.

The people were imprisoned without trial.

From 1933 to 1945, the Nazis, under the rule of Adolf Hitler, operated more than a thousand concentration camps in Germany. At one point in time, 1.65 million were reported to be slaves in these camps.

Over time, millions died within these camps due to starvation, exhaustion, diseases, and poor sanitary conditions.

Also, brutal treatment, humiliation, and torture were common inside these walls. Men, women, and children, everyone were a part of these camps, and no one was spared.

All in all, 35 to 45 people in the Hitler army people operated a concentration camp. Only a few people survived the times and walked out of these camps.

People were also used as subjects to experiment without their consent in the concentration camps. The Nazis experimented on large masses of people without anesthesia.

These medical experiments leave many men, women, and children with mental instability, traumas, physical disabilities, and even death. After experimenting and failing, they killed these people in the death camps.

concentration camp

Main Differences Between Death Camps And Concentration Camps

  1. The death camp was to kill people, while the concentration camp was to confine people and use them as slaves.
  2. The death camp was established in 1941, while the concentration camp was established pre-war in 1933.
  3. The death camp has the priority of killing Jews and to some extinct the Rome. While in the concentration camp, people of any nationality were taken.
  4. The death camp is a fast death, while the concentration camp is a slow death.
  5. In death camps, people were murdered by poisonous gases within hours they reached the camps. While on the other hand, in the concentration camps, people were first forced to labor, and most of them died due to starvation and diseases.
Difference Between Death Camps And Concentration Camps
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