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Concentration camp

Related: holocaust - prison - Nazism

See also: concentration


Amazon critic Jeff Shannon says of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List that it has an emphasis on absolute authenticity, but is it really that authentic when compared to other late 20th century films about the Holocaust? My aim in these pages is to compare Schindler's List, Sophie's Choice and The Pianist in terms of realism and authenticity; and together with it the very notion of authenticity and realism in film and the issue of representation of the Holocaust itself. [Nov 2006]


A concentration camp is a large detention centre for political opponents, specific ethnic or religious groups, or other groups of people. The term often implies camps designed for the extermination of the interned (extermination camps) or their engagement in forced labor (labor camps). The term refers to situations where the internees are civilians, especially those selected for their conformance to broad criteria without judicial process, rather than having been judged as individuals. The term refers to a subset of the more general category of prison camps. The term is also not appropriate for POW camps such as Andersonville during the American Civil War. POW camps are also prison camps but not concentration camps, even when, as at Andersonville, the treatment of prisoners was horrific.

In the English-speaking world, the term "concentration camp" was first used to describe camps operated by the British in South Africa during the Second Boer War. Tens of thousands of Boer civilians, and black workers from their farms, died as a result of diseases developed due to inadequate diets and poor sanitation. The term concentration camp was coined at this time to signify the "concentration" of a large number of people in one place, and was used to describe both the camps in South Africa and those established to support a similar anti-insurgency campaign in Cuba at roughly the same time (see below).

Over the course of the twentieth century, the arbitrary internment of civilians by the authority of the state became more common and reached a climax with the practice of genocide in the death camps of the Nazi regime in Germany, and with the Gulag system of forced labor camps of the Soviet Union. As a result of this trend, the term concentration camp carries many of the connotations of extermination camp and is sometimes used synonymously. In technical discussion, however, it is important to understand that a concentration camp is not, by definition, a Nazi-style death camp.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_camp [Jul 2004]

Concentration camp films

See chapter in from the book Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

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