Richard Glücks-The Evil Man in Charge of the Concentration Camps

On May 10, 1945, probably knowing that he was close to being captured, by swallowing a capsule of potassium cyanide at the Mürwik naval base in Flensburg-Mürwik, Richard Glücks ended his own life. Although the lack of official records or photos gave rise to speculation about his ultimate fate.

There are many biographies about this man, but I decided to stick with the facts that matter. No matter how you twist or turn it, Richard Glücks was an evil man.

Glücks was a major contributor to the execution of the “Final Solution,” the destruction of European Jewry. He established Auschwitz, where millions of Jews were exterminated; he was in charge of the construction of gas chambers, and he helped develop the program of medical experiments that were carried out in the concentration camps.

In 1942, Glucks was made responsible for a unit of the Economic-Administrative Main Office (Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt), which dealt with industrial companies regarding the use of concentration camp prisoners as slave laborers in their factories.

Some might say that Glücks was the worst of them and that he eased some of the sufferings in the camps.

Due to the extremely high mortality rate in the camps around 1942, which of course, had a negative effect on the deployment of prisoners as slave laborers, Glücks sent the following memo to all camp commanders on December 28, 1942:

“The first camp physicians are to do their utmost with all the means available to them, to considerably lower the mortality rate in the various camps [..] The physicians are to supervise the feeding of prisoners more than ever and submit proposals for improvement to the camp commanders according to policy. These are not to be just put on paper but must frequently be checked by the physicians. [..] The Reichsführer-SS has ordered the death rate be lowered considerably.”

But this was not because he felt sorry for the inmates in the camps, but it was solely for economic reasons.

From 1942 onward, he was responsible for slave labour and death by work.

In July 1942, he participated in a planning meeting with Himmler on the topic of medical experiments on camp inmates. From several visits to the Auschwitz concentration camps, Glücks was well aware of the mass murders and other atrocities committed there.

On July 8, 1942, Glücks had a meeting with Himmler, Professor Carl Clauberg, and others about the intended mass sterilization of Jewish women in the concentration camps. Auschwitz was designated as the camp where Clauberg was to start experimenting with various means of sterilization. Numerous prisoners succumbed to the consequences of these experiments; others endured excruciating pains and were maimed for the rest of their lives. Glücks was also ordered to develop gas chambers in certain camps, to kill the sick and weakened prisoners speedily and efficiently.

Glucks was one of the key figures of the concentration camp system. Together with Himmler and Pohl, he decided how many of the deported Jews were to be killed and determined that the hair of the murdered people was to be collected and made into “hair-yarn stockings for U-boat crews and hair-felt stockings for the railroad.”


The Concentration Camps

Earlier this week I had one question and one statement about concentration camps. The question was “What are the differences between a concentration camp and an extermination camp?” This question I will try to address as much as possible in this blog.

But before I do that I want to mention the statement which was put to me, I am only doing this because it was followed by a disturbing bit of ignorance. The statement was “Concentration camps were already used during the Boer wars” which is true. However this person followed the statement, which he made on a blog about a Jewish school. that most of those children were not murdered but they died of typhus. It is undoubtedly true that some children will have died of typhus, but a bigger number would have been murdered in the gas chambers. Even if they died of typhus, it still would have been murder. I just felt compelled to mention this.

In order to understand what a concentration camps is , we first need to know what its definition is.

The term concentration camp was used long before the Nazis came to power. It came into popular usage at the end of the nineteenth century, when it was applied to the housing of military troops and especially to the imprisonment of civilians during the Boer and Spanish-American Wars. Officials also referred to certain types of prison camps for civilians in World War I as concentration camps.

According to the Oxford and Merriam Webster dictionaries it is : “a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard”

However in the context of the Nazi regime that definition, although technically correct, it is a very weak description.

Most people don’t realize that there were about 40,000 camps throughout Nazi controlled Europe, this included all subcamps too.

There were even a few on the British channel islands.

The first of these camps was opened at Dachau, near Munich in Bavaria, in March 1933. In the early years of the regime, inmates included Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, criminals, and others considered to be deviants.

So what was the difference between the camps.

The Nazi concentration camps essentially had three purposes:

  1. To incarcerate indefinitely people whom the Nazi regime perceived to be a security threat in the broadest possible sense (for example, from a Jew with presupposed “international connections” or perceived racial deficiencies, to an alcoholic who was incapable of holding a job)2.
  2. To eliminate—by murder—individuals and small, targeted groups of individuals.
  3. .To exploit the so-called labor-potential of the prisoner population.

Extermination camps

Extermination camps were used by the Nazis from 1941 to 1945 to murder Jews, Roma and other groups deemed subhuman by the Nazis

To implement the ‘ Final Solution ’, the Nazis established six purpose built extermination camps on Polish soil. These were:

Chełmno (in operation December 1941-January 1945)
Bełżec (in operation March-December 1942) it was basically the laboratory or template for Auschwitz. It was also the only camp where Polish laborers were used to build it.
Sobibór (in operation May-July 1942 and October 1942-October 1943)
Treblinka (in operation July 1942-August 1943)
Majdanek (in operation September 1942-July 1944)
Auschwitz-Birkenau (in operation March 1942-January 1945)
Chełmno was the first extermination camp to be established in December 1941. Its purpose was to murder the Jews of the surrounding area and the Łódź ghetto. The facility contained three gas vans in which victims were murdered by carbon monoxide poisoning. Once dead, the vans were driven to a nearby forest and the victims were buried in mass graves.

After the Wannsee Conference of 1942, the Nazis built additional extermination camps at Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka. These camps were specifically built near railway lines to make transportation easier. Instead of vans, stationary gas chambers, labelled as showers, were built to murder people with carbon monoxide poisoning created using diesel engines.

A concentration camp had been established at Majdanek in 1941. In the spring of 1942, following the Wannsee Conference, the camp was adapted to become an extermination camp by the addition of gas chambers and crematoria.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was a complex, consisting of a concentration camp, a forced labour camp and an extermination camp. Eventually it had a network of more than 40 satellite camps. Following tests in September 1941, the lethal gas Zyklon B was selected as the method of murder. Auschwitz initially had one gas chamber at the Auschwitz I camp, but this was soon expanded. By 1943, four new crematoria, with gas chambers attached, had been built in Auschwitz II. Approximately 1.1 million people were murdered in the Auschwitz gas chambers.

Some who arrived at the extermination camps were not murdered on arrival. They were selected for various work tasks to help the camp operations run smoothly. Jobs included sorting and processing the possessions of everyone who arrived at the camp, administrative work and heavy manual work.

The majority of those selected for any kind of work within this type of camp would still die within weeks or months of their arrival from starvation, disease, mistreatment or overwork. Those that survived were often murdered after a short period and replaced with new arrivals.

Transit camps

Transit camps were camps where prisoners were briefly detained prior to deportation to other Nazi camps. Overall, the conditions in the transit camps were similar to that of concentration camps – unsanitary and awful. Facilities were poor and overcrowding was common. These camps were mainly run by the SS.

Westerbork was the oldest camp for Jews and the largest. In February 1939 the Dutch government decided to construct one ‘Central Refugee Camp’ for Jews and on October 9, the first 22 German refugees arrived at the new small wooden houses. The Committee for Special Jewish Affairs, established by the Dutch Jewish community organizations in 1933, had financed the construction. It was located in a remote heath area in the northeast of the Netherlands, near the village of Westerbork. The internal affairs of the camp were run by the refugees themselves, in cooperation with the Committee. In May 1940, at the beginning of the German occupation, there were about 750 refugees living in the camp. It remained under the administration of the regular Dutch authorities during the first two years of the occupation. From December 1941 onward, on German orders, more Jewish refugees were sent to Westerbork and the camp was expanded with large wooden shacks. On July 1, 1942, when there were about 1,500 Jews in the camp, it was taken over by German Security Police, and an SS-commander and staff were appointed. The camp’s name was changed to Polizeiliches Durchgangslager (Police Transit Camp) and it was surrounded with barbed wire and seven watch towers.

Forced labour camps

This photograph shows a group of forced labourers at work in Kraków-Płaszów camp in German-occupied Poland.

Forced labour camps

Even before the war began, the Nazis imposed forced labour on Jewish civilians.As early as 1937, the Nazis increasingly exploited the forced labor of so-called “enemies of the state” for economic gain and to meet desperate labor shortages. By the end of that year, most Jewish males residing in Germany were required to perform forced labor for various government agencies.

The invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 further heightened demands on the war economy, and in turn, for labour. At the same time, this invasion brought thousands of potential new workers under Nazi control. These prisoners were called Ostarbeiter (eastern workers) and Fremdarbeiter (foreign workers). The Nazis deported these people to forced labour camps, where they worked to produce supplies for the increasingly strained war economy or in construction efforts.

As in most Nazi camps, conditions in forced labour camps were inadequate. Inmates were only ever seen as temporary, and, in the Nazis view, could always be replaced with others: there was a complete disregard for the health of prisoners. They were subject to insufficiencies of food, equipment, medicine and clothing, whilst working long hours. There was little or no time for rest or breaks. As a result of these conditions, death rates in labour camps were extremely high. The aim was to work them to death.

By 1945, more than fourteen million people had been exploited in the network of hundreds of forced labour camps that stretched across the whole of Nazi-occupied Europe.

The Dora-Mittelbau (also known as Dora-Nordhausen or Nordhausen) camp was established in central Germany near the southern Harz Mountains, north of the town of Nordhausen. It was originally a subcamp of Buchenwald. Prisoners from Buchenwald were sent to the area in 1943 to begin construction of a large industrial complex. In October 1944, the SS made Dora-Mittelbau an independent concentration camp with more than 30 subcamps of its own.

The inmates at Dora-Mittelbau were treated in a brutal and inhumane manner, working 14-hour days and being denied access to basic hygiene, beds, and adequate rations. Around one in three of the roughly 60,000 prisoners who were sent to Dora-Mittelbau died.


I find Bergen Belsen hard to place in any of the other categories .Originally established as a prisoner of war camp,[1] in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. Initially this was an “exchange camp”, where Jewish hostages were held with the intention of exchanging them for German prisoners of war held overseas.

The camp was later expanded to accommodate Jews from other concentration camps.

At the end of July 1944 there were around 7,300 prisoners interned in the Bergen-Belsen camp complex. At the beginning of December 1944, this number had increased to around 15,000, and in February 1945 the number of prisoners was 22,000. As prisoners evacuated from the east continued to arrive, the camp population soared to over 60,000 by April 15, 1945. People were just left there to die.

Many survivors described it as hell on earth. The actor Dirk Bogarde was one of the liberators and said this about Bergen Belsen, he says April 13 1945, but the camp was liberated 2 days later.

“I think it was on the 13th of April—I’m not quite sure what the date was when we opened up Belsen Camp, which was the first concentration camp any of us had seen, we didn’t even know what they were, we’d heard vague rumours that they were. I mean nothing could be worse than that. The gates were opened and then I realised that I was looking at Dante’s Inferno, I mean … I … I still haven’t seen anything as dreadful. And never will. And a girl came up who spoke English, because she recognised one of the badges, and she … her breasts were like, sort of, empty purses, she had no top on, and a pair of man’s pyjamas, you know, the prison pyjamas, and no hair. But I knew she was girl because of her breasts, which were empty. She was I suppose, oh I don’t know, twenty four, twenty five, and we talked, and she was, you know, so excited and thrilled, and all around us there were mountains of dead people, I mean mountains of them, and they were slushy, and they were slimy, so when you walked through them … or walked—you tried not to, but it was like …. well you just walked through them, and she … there was a very nice British MP [Royal Military Police], and he said ‘Don’t have any more, come away, come away sir, if you don’t mind, because they’ve all got typhoid and you’ll get it, you shouldn’t be here swanning-around’ and she saw in the back of the jeep, the unexpired portion of the daily ration, wrapped in a piece of the Daily Mirror, and she said could she have it, and he” [the Military Police] “said ‘Don’t give her food, because they eat it immediately and they die, within ten minutes’, but she didn’t want the food, she wanted the piece of Daily Mirror—she hadn’t seen newsprint for about eight years or five years, whatever it was she had been in the camp for. … she was Estonian. … that’s all she wanted. She gave me a big kiss, which was very moving. The corporal” [Military Police] “was out of his mind and I was just dragged off. I never saw her again, of course she died. I mean, I gather they all did. But, I can’t really describe it very well, I don’t really want to. I went through some of the huts and there were tiers and tiers of rotting people, but some of them who were alive underneath the rot, and were lifting their heads and trying …. trying to do the victory thing. That was the worst.”

I hope that this explains the differences somewhat.

All of the camps had one ultimate goal though, the death and destruction of Jews, Roma , Homosexuals and other groups deemed subhuman by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.



I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.


Karl Peter Berg commander of Camp Amersfoort.

Kampcommandant K.P. Berg

Karl Berg was originally the third man in the chain of command at Camp Amersfoort and in 1943 he was appointed camp commandant. He had a reputation for being cruel and merciless. Berg was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of prisoners.

amersfoort (51)

A group of 101 Russian prisoners who had arrived at the camp in 1941 were among those who died. Part of the them were starved to death; the other 77 were killed in group executions. Berg was later responsible for a number of retaliations, including the one carried out after SS and Police leader Hanns Albin Rauter was ambushed by the Resistance in the hamlet of Woeste Hoeve on the Veluwe, a wooded area in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The day after this unexpected March 1945 attack, Berg had 49 men executed on a rifle range. Following the Liberation in 1945, Berg was forced to point out the location of the mass graves where his victims had been dumped.


At that moment he was still wearing these boots, but later they were taken from him.


One of the most notorious SS-officers of PDA Amersfoort was Joseph Kotälla. He was appointed in September 1942 by Karl Peter Berg.


He was famous for his so-called ‘Kotälla-kick’, a very hard kick in the testicles with his army-boot. He also took part in many of the firing squads and he took a special interest in Jewish prisoners and priests, which he physically abused most frequently and fanatically.

In 1948 the camp commandant and guards of Amersfoort were tried and convicted for their crimes. Karl Peter Berg was sentenced to death and was executed in 1949.



I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.


Inside Manzanar concentration camp.

Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from December 1942 to 1945. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in California’s Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is approximately 230 miles (370 km) north of Los Angeles. Manzanar (which means “apple orchard” in Spanish) was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and is now the Manzanar National Historic Site, which preserves and interprets the legacy of Japanese American incarceration in the United States.
Although it was called an internment camp or relocation, technically it was a concentration camp. Albeit not comparable to the camps built by the European Fascist regimes.
The attack on Pearl Harbor fueled mass paranoia in the United States, paranoia that led to the development of domestic concentration camps not long before the U.S. would take part in liberating similar camps abroad.

Over the course of just a few years, the U.S. federal government forced 120,000 people of Japanese descent into these camps in an attempt to quarantine and surveil them — and it took decades before these victims saw any form of redress.


In early 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order that legalized the creation and use of these camps.

Executive Order 9066


Evacuation orders were subsequently distributed to people along the West Coast, often giving Japanese-American families less than a week to gather their things, leave their homes, and be forcibly relocated. With no information on where they were going or how long they would be away, people were forced to sell or abandon their homes and businesses.


Preschoolers  children on the way to their barrack homes from morning class.


Barracks under construction at Poston. Barrack construction and materials were the same at all ten camps, including Manzanar. Poston, Arizona May 5, 1942


Typical interior scene in a Manzanar barrack apartment. Note the cloth partition separating one apartment from another, lending a small amount of privacy. June 30, 1942


Bunk space at Manzanar.


A camp mess hall.


Members of the Mochida family awaiting evacuation bus. Identification tags are used to aid in keeping the family unit intact during all phases of evacuation. Mochida operated a nursery and five greenhouses on a two-acre site in Eden Township. He raised snapdragons and sweet peas. They may have been deported to another camp, but what is striking her is that they were tagged.


Replica of an historic watch tower at the Manzanar National Historic Site, built in 2005. Eight watchtowers, equipped with searchlights and machine guns pointed inward at the incarcerees, were positioned around the perimeter of the camp. April 27, 2007


Of course in retrospect it is easy for anyone to judge. I am not saying that the US government did the right thing, because they didn’t , but if I had been put in that situation would I have reacted differently? I just don’t know.

The liberation of Mauthausen Concentration camp




The Mauthausen concentration camp was established shortly after the German annexation of Austria (1938). Prisoners in the camp were forced to perform labor in a nearby stone quarry and, later, to construct subterranean tunnels for rocket-assembly factories. US forces liberated the camp in May 1945.


On 5 May 1945 the camp at Mauthausen was approached by a squad of US Army Soldiers of the 41st Reconnaissance Squadron of the US 11th Armored Division, 3rd US Army. The reconnaissance squad was led by Staff Sergeant Albert J. Kosiek. His troop disarmed the policemen and left the camp.

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By the time of its liberation, most of the SS-men of Mauthausen had already fled; around 30 who were remained were killed by the prisoners,and a similar number were killed in Gusen II. By 6 May all the remaining subcamps of the Mauthausen-Gusen camp complex, with the exception of the two camps in the Loibl Pass, were also liberated by American forces.

(Italian survivors, after the camp’s liberation)


Among the inmates liberated from the camp was Lieutenant Jack Taylor, an officer of the Office of Strategic Services. He had managed to survive with the help of several prisoners and was later a key witness at the Mauthausen-Gusen camp trials carried out by the Dachau International Military.

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This footage, filmed by US cameramen, shows scenes in the camp, American care of the liberated prisoners, and Austrian civilians loading bodies of victims onto carts for burial.

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Temporary identity papers produced for Mauthausen detainee after camp liberation