Dr Robert Jay Lifton THE NAZI DOCTORS:
                        Medical Killing and the
                            Psychology of Genocide ©
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Chapter 7

The Auschwitz
  Sure, there are peoples who have hated each other for centuries. But that one kills people so systematically, with the help of physicians, only because they belong to another race, that is new in the world.   
  — Brother of chief SS Auschwitz doctor  
Auschwitz can be understood only in relation to its three historical identities as a Nazi concentration camp or Konzentrationslager as a work camp or Arbeitslager, with a special connection to I. G. Farben Industries and as an annihilation camp or Vernichtungslager.
Auschwitz as Concentration Camp 
Concentration camps were instituted almost from the moment the Nazis seized power. Dachau the first was created by Himmler on 20, March 1933, as a place where Communists, Social Democrats and other alleged political enemies were to be “concentrated” and held. These political prisoners had been arrested in considerable numbers following the emergency “protective custody” decree of 28 February, which was implemented immediately after the Reichstag fire.* Dachau, after a brief phase of quixotic brutality by the SS administration became the model for the concentration camp. Now Himmler established the camps as “legally independent administrative units outside the penal code and the ordinary processes of law.”²

Under Theodor Eicke — first as commandant of Dachau after mid-1934, and as inspector of concentration camps and SS brigadier general in  
* This fire occurred on 27 February. Although there is some historical debate whether the Nazis arranged it as a provocation, they clearly used it as an occasion to round up political opponents and to begin consolidation of their dictatorship.¹ 
Medical Killing and the
Psychology of Genocide

Robert J. Lifton
ISBN 0-465-09094
© 1986
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