The Forum: Journal of History


The Holocaust is a well-known phenomenon throughout the world. Something that is less known and less researched is the destruction of the concentration camps within the German empire. There were three main players in the aftermath of the concentration camps; the Nazi officials, the Allied forces, and the Soviets. The Nazi officials followed two paths, either destroying the camps or remaining in the camps until the liberating forces arrived. The liberators, such as the Allied forces and the Soviets, came across camps with prisoners still behind the barbed wire fences or camps that had been partially or fully abandoned and demolished. The choice the Nazis took in the fate of the concentration camps reveal that either the camp had an important function in the Final Solution and therefore had to be destroyed to lessen the retaliation from the liberating forces, or that the camp did not act as an extermination center and therefore could remain standing with people still there. Understanding the process of the Nazi officers reveals the importance of present-day tours of concentration camps and the impact that these sites presently have.