Death rates, official and unofficial, in pre-war KL's

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tomalbright
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Death rates, official and unofficial, in pre-war KL's

Post by tomalbright » 03 Apr 2002 14:32

I would like to get a feel for this issue on this forum. I have seen the official death numbers for Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen for the pre-war period; their accuracy may or may not be dubious, but I assume it is within a reasonable margin of error due to the accountability which authorities still had to answer to at this time regarding German citizens. As a percentage of the prisoner population during 1933-39, they seem to be comparable, or even lower, than the death rates at American prisons in the South during the 1900-1930 era ( I saw a special on the "chaingang" prisons recently which was shocking). Any feedback on this would be interesting.

Regards

Tom

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Roberto
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Re: Death rates, official and unofficial, in pre-war KL's

Post by Roberto » 03 Apr 2002 15:23

tomalbright wrote:I would like to get a feel for this issue on this forum. I have seen the official death numbers for Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen for the pre-war period; their accuracy may or may not be dubious, but I assume it is within a reasonable margin of error due to the accountability which authorities still had to answer to at this time regarding German citizens. As a percentage of the prisoner population during 1933-39, they seem to be comparable, or even lower, than the death rates at American prisons in the South during the 1900-1930 era ( I saw a special on the "chaingang" prisons recently which was shocking). Any feedback on this would be interesting.

Regards

Tom
Could you please show the official death numbers for Buchenwald, Dachau and Sachsenhausen for the pre-war period that you have seen?

I would also be interested in the numbers for the war period, if you have them available.

As to your intended comparisons:

Can you tell us how many of those imprisoned in American prisons in the South during the 1900-1930 era were imprisoned solely on account of their ethnicity or political beliefs?

Not that I have any doubts about the brutality of prisons in the Southern US, you see. I remember having read something in James Jones From Here to Eternity about prisons that "even the Nazis could have learned from". I just think that apples should be compared with apples and oranges with oranges.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 04 Apr 2002 12:10

Medorjurgen wrote:
Can you tell us how many of those imprisoned in American prisons in the South during the 1900-1930 era were imprisoned solely on account of their ethnicity or political beliefs?
I wonder if medorjurgen can tell us how many of those imprisoned in German concentration camps during the 1933-39 era were imprisoned solely on account of their ethnicity or political beliefs?

A large proportion of the persons committed to "Schutzhaft" in a concentration camp were active members of prohibited political organisations, eg the KPD (Communist Party), SPD (Social Democratic Party); in otehr words, they were imprisoned for a political activity, not purely for a political belief. Millions of Germans had voted for the KPD and the SPD in the last elections, but they were not sent to concentration camps.

At the end of 1938, in the aftermath of the Reichskristallnacht, several thousand Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, but were released once they had arranged their immediate emigration, ie they were held on the same basis as illegal immigrants, although of course they were not really such.

Another large element in the concentration camp population was comprised of petty criminals, drifters, tramps and other "anti-social" people, ie exactly the sort of person who fell victims to the anti-vagrancy laws in the American South.

A category of concentration-camp prisoners that to the best of my knowledge had no counterpart in the United States consisted of persons convicted of serious crimes who were arbitrarily rearrested on completion of thier sentences.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 04 Apr 2002 12:22

michael mills wrote:Medorjurgen wrote:
Can you tell us how many of those imprisoned in American prisons in the South during the 1900-1930 era were imprisoned solely on account of their ethnicity or political beliefs?
I wonder if medorjurgen can tell us how many of those imprisoned in German concentration camps during the 1933-39 era were imprisoned solely on account of their ethnicity or political beliefs?
No, but I'm sure the dissident historian and expert from Australia has the figures at his fingertips.
A large proportion of the persons committed to "Schutzhaft" in a concentration camp were active members of prohibited political organisations, eg the KPD (Communist Party), SPD (Social Democratic Party); in otehr words, they were imprisoned for a political activity, not purely for a political belief. Millions of Germans had voted for the KPD and the SPD in the last elections, but they were not sent to concentration camps.
A very pertinent distinction - political activity rather than political beliefs.
Haarspalterei is the German word for such reasoning. I think the term "hair-splitting" also exists in English.

tomalbright
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Numbers of deaths in pre-war KL's

Post by tomalbright » 04 Apr 2002 13:24

1937 Deaths (official) New admissions

Dachau 69 2015
Sachsenhausen 38 750
Buchenwald 48 2912

1938 Deaths (official) New admissions

Dachau 370 18681
Sachsenhausen 229 8300
Buchenwald 771 20122

No figures for 1933-36 are available. The 1938 figures were "swollen" by the temporary incarceration of Jews imprisoned during Krystallnacht in November-December of that year. In Buchenwald, for example, up to 500 Jews died or were murdered in 1938. They were singled out for especially appalling treatment which represented the first "mass" murder campaign in the camps. This was a precursor to the war years, when the camps were grossly overcrowded, rations reduced, and foreign prisoners dominated the lower rungs of camp society.

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Roberto
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Re: Numbers of deaths in pre-war KL's

Post by Roberto » 04 Apr 2002 13:29

tomalbright wrote:1937 Deaths (official) New admissions

Dachau 69 2015
Sachsenhausen 38 750
Buchenwald 48 2912

1938 Deaths (official) New admissions

Dachau 370 18681
Sachsenhausen 229 8300
Buchenwald 771 20122

No figures for 1933-36 are available. The 1938 figures were "swollen" by the temporary incarceration of Jews imprisoned during Krystallnacht in November-December of that year. In Buchenwald, for example, up to 500 Jews died or were murdered in 1938. They were singled out for especially appalling treatment which represented the first "mass" murder campaign in the camps. This was a precursor to the war years, when the camps were grossly overcrowded, rations reduced, and foreign prisoners dominated the lower rungs of camp society.
Thanks for the information. What is your source?

tomalbright
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KL death rate source

Post by tomalbright » 04 Apr 2002 14:20

The Order of Terror: The Concentration Camp by Wolfgang Sofsky

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Roberto
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Re: KL death rate source

Post by Roberto » 05 Apr 2002 11:53

tomalbright wrote:The Order of Terror: The Concentration Camp by Wolfgang Sofsky
Thanks again.

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