List of concentration and internment camps

List of concentration and internment camps

This is a list of Internment and Concentration camps, organized by country. In general, a camp or group of camps is assigned to the country whose government was responsible for the establishment and/or operation of the camp regardless of the camp's location, but this principle can be, or appear to be, departed from in such cases as where a country's borders or name has changed or it was occupied by a foreign power.

Certain types of camps are excluded from this list, particularly refugee camps set up to house refugees who have fled across the border from another country in fear of persecution, or have been set up by an international non-governmental organization. Prisoner-of-war camps are treated under a separate category.


During the Dirty War which accompanied the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, there were about 100 places throughout the country that served as concentration camps in the Nazi sense, where people were interrogated, tortured, and killed, but not forced to work or concentrated for eventual release. Prisoners were often forced to hand and sign over property, in acts of individual, rather than official and systematic, corruption. Small children who were taken with their relatives, and babies born to female prisoners later killed, were frequently given for adoption to politically acceptable, often military, families. This is documented by a number of cases dating since the 1990s in which adopted children have identified their real families. [ [ Report of Conadep (Argentine National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) - 1984. English translation] ]

These were relatively small secret detention centres rather than actual camps. The peak years were 1976-78. Nearly 9,000 people are definitely known to have been killed: see the authoritative 1984 CONADEP (Argentine National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) Report. It states that "We have reason to believe that the true figure is much higher"; a figure of 30,000 is often quoted. A list of camps, full details, and documentation are to be found in the Report.


In World War I 2,940 German and Austrian men were interned in ten different camps in Australia. In 1915 many of the smaller ones were closed and their inmates transferred to others. The largest camp was at Holsworthy in New South Wales. [ [ Germans interned in Australia] ] Their families were placed in a camp near Canberra.While during the Second World War, 4,721 Italian migrants were interned in Australia. [ [ Connor Court Publishing Online Bookshop ] ]


During the First World War, internment camps were set up, mostly for Serbs and other pro-Serbian Yugoslavs. Men, women, the children, the elderly, the sick and the gay were displaced from their homes and sent to concentration camps all over the Empire such as Doboj (46,000), Arad, Győr, Neusiedl am See.

During the Nazi period, several concentration camps, such as the Mauthausen-Gusen camp were located in Austria, overwhelmingly run by Austrians.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

During the Bosnian War:
* Čelebići camp
* Keraterm camp
* Manjača camp
* Omarska concentration camp
* Trnopolje camp


Cambodia under the Lon Nol regime

Lon Nol hoped to use the Vietnamese as hostages against PAVN/NLF activities, and the military set about rounding them up into detention camps. Terror campaign against Vietnamese peoples in Lon Nol's Cambodia see the article "Cambodian Civil War".

Cambodia under the Pol Pot regime: see the article "Democratic Kampuchea".


German Canadian internment

During the Second World War, 850 German Canadians were accused of being spies for the Nazis, as well as subversives and saboteurs. The internees were given a chance by authorities to defend themselves. According to the transcripts of the appeal tribunals, internees and state officials debated conflicting concepts of citizenship.

Japanese internment and relocation centres

During World War II, Canada interned residents of Japanese and Italian ancestry. The Canadian government also interned citizens it deemed dangerous to national security. This included both fascists (including Canadians such as Adrien Arcand who had negotiated with Hitler to obtain positions in the government of Canada once Canada was conquered), Montreal mayor Camilien Houde (for denouncing conscription) and union organizers and other people deemed to be dangerous Communists. Such internment was made legal by the Defence of Canada Regulations, Section 21 of which read:

:The Minister of Justice, if satisfied that, with a view to preventing any particular person from acting in a manner prejudicial to the public safety or the safety of the State, it is necessary to do so, may, notwithstanding anything in these regulations, make an order [...] directing that he be detained by virtue of an order made under this paragraph, be deemed to be in legal custody.

Over 75% were Canadian citizens and they were vital in key areas of the economy, notable the fishery and also in logging and berry farming. Exile took two forms: relocation centres for families and relatively well-off individuals who were a low security threat, and interment camps (often called concentration camps in contemporary accounts, but controversially so) which were for single men, the less well-off, and those deemed to be a security risk. After the war, many did not return to the Coast because of bitter feelings as to their treatment, and fears of further hostility from non-Japanese citizens; of those that returned only a few regained confiscated property and businesses. Most remained in other parts of Canada, notably certain parts of the BC Interior and in the neighbouring province of Alberta.

Camps and relocation centres in the Kootenay region

Greenwood, Salmo, Rosebery, New Denver, Lemon Creek, Slocan City, Kaslo and Sandon Some were nearly-empty ghost towns when the internment began, others, like Kaslo and Greenwood, while less populous than in their boom years, were substantial communities.

Camps and relocation centres elsewhere in BC

Bridge River, Minto City, McGillivray Falls, East Lillooet, Taylor Lake. The first three listed were all in a mountainous area so physically isolated that fences and guards were not required as the only egress from that region was by rail or water only. McGillivray Falls and Tashme, on the Crowsnest Highway east of Hope, British Columbia, were just over the minimum 100 miles from the Coast required by the deportation order.

Camps and relocation centres elsewhere in Canada

There were internment camps near Petawawa, Ontario; Kananaskis, Alberta; Amherst, Nova Scotia; Minto, New Brunswick and Hull, Quebec.

Further information

* [ Information at the University of Washington Libraries and Beyond]
* [ Japanese Canadian bibliographical resources]
* [ Town of Sandon Historical Page on the Internment]
*"Dangerous Patriots: Canada's Unknown Prisoners of War", by William Repka and Kathleen Repka, New Star Books, Vancouver, 1982 (ISBN 0-919573-06-1 or ISBN 0-919573-07-X). This book is a collection of first-hand stories from Canadian political prisoners during World War Two.

Ukrainian Canadian internment

In World War I, 8,579 male "aliens of enemy nationality" were interned, including 5,954 Austro-Hungarians, most of whom were probably ethnic Ukrainians . Many of these internees were used for forced labour in internment camps. See Ukrainian Canadian internment.

Further Information

* [ Internment of Ukrainians in Canada 1914-1920] at InfoUkes
* [ Re: internment of Ukrainian Canadians] by Orest Martynowych, Ukrainian Weekly


Concentration camps existed throughout Chile during Pinochet's regime in the 1970s and 80s. The list below is not complete:


The Ustaše established concentration camps for Serbs.

Name of the campDate of establishmentDate of liberationEstimated number of prisonersEstimated number of deaths
JasenovacAugust 23, 1941April 22, 1945 59,188-700,000 [These numbers vary widely, and were frequently manipulated by various sides during Yugoslavia's history, see Jasenovac concentration camp.]
Stara Gradiška19411945
Pag1941None 8,500


In the aftermath of the Finnish Civil War of 1918, some 75,000 enemy prisoners of war of the losing side and suspected Communists were incarcerated in camps. While 125 Communist prisoners were convicted of treason and executed, an estimated 12,000 died of disease and starvation and an unknown number lost their lives after release, some of them shot after return to their home villages.

When the Finnish Army during the Continuation War occupied East Karelia 1941–1944 that was inhabited by ethnically related Finnic Karelians (although it never had been a part of Finland — or before 1809 of Sweden-Finland), several concentration camps were set up for Russian civilians. The first camp was set up on 24 October, 1941, in Petrozavodsk. The two largest groups were 6,000 Russian refugees and 3,000 inhabitants from the southern bank of River Svir forcibly evacuated because of the closeness of the front line. Around 4,000 of the prisoners perished due to malnourishment, 90% of them during the spring and summer 1942.Laine, Antti, "Suur-Suomen kahdet kasvot", 1982, ISBN 951-1-06947-0, Otava] The ultimate goal was to move the Russian speaking population to German-occupied Russia in exchange for any Finnic population from these areas, and also help to watch civilians.

Population in the Finnish camps:
*13,400 — December 31, 1941
*21,984 — July 1, 1942
*15,241 — January 1, 1943
*14,917 — January 1, 1944



During France's occupation of Algeria, large numbers of Algerians were forced into "tent cities" and concentration camps both during the initial French invasion in 1830s, and particularly during the Algerian War of Independence.

During the early part of the colonial period, camps were used mostly to forcibly remove Arabs, Berbers and Turks from fertile areas of land and replace them by primarily French, Spanish, and Maltese settlers. It has been estimated that from 1830 to 1900, between 15 and 25% of the Algerian population died in such camps and the war in general killed a third of Algeria's population.Fact|date=February 2008

During the Algerian War of Independence the populations of whole villages which were suspected to have supported the rebel FLN were incarcerated in such camps.

panish Republicans

After the end of Spanish Civil War, there were harsh reprisals against Franco's former enemies. [ [ Spain: Repression under Franco after the Civil War] ] Hundreds of thousands of Republicans fled abroad, especially to France and Mexico. [ [ Spanish Civil War fighters look back] ] On the other side of the Pyrenees, refugees were confined in internment camps of the French Third Republic, such as Camp Gurs or Camp Vernet, where 12,000 Republicans were housed in squalid conditions (mostly soldiers from the Durruti Division [ fr icon "Camp Vernet" Website] ] ). The 17,000 refugees housed in Gurs were divided into four categories (Brigadists, pilots, "Gudaris" and ordinary Spaniards). The "Gudaris" (Basques) and the pilots easily found local backers and jobs, and were allowed to quit the camp, but the farmers and ordinary people, who could not find relations in France, were encouraged by the Third Republic, in agreement with the Francoist government, to return to Spain. The great majority did so and were turned over to the Francoist authorities in Irún. From there they were transferred to the Miranda de Ebro camp for "purification".

After the proclamation by Marshall Pétain of the Vichy regime, the refugees became political prisoners, and the French police attempted to round-up those who had been liberated from the camp. Along with other "undesirables", they were sent to the Drancy internment camp before being deported to Nazi Germany. About 5,000 Spaniards thus died in Mauthausen concentration camp [ Film documentary] on the website of the "Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration" fr icon]

Vichy France

During World War II, The French Vichy government ran what were called "detention camps" such as the one at Drancy. Camps also existed in the Pyrenees, on the border with pro-Nazi Spain, among them Camp Gurs and Camp Vernet. About 73,000 Jews were deported to Nazi Germany. In addition, areas which were annexed by Germany formally from France such as Alsace-Lorraine had concentration camps set up, the largest being Natzweiler-Struthof.

The Vichy French also ran camps in North and West Africa, and possibly East Africa. Following are the locations of concentration camps, POW camps, and internment camps in (Vichy)West and (Vichy) North Africa, there may have been one in the Mogadishu area of East Africa, and also in Madagascar.

The camps were located at:

West Africa:
* Conakry
* Timbuctoo
* Kankan
* Koulikorro
* Dakar

North Africa:
* Sfax
* El Kef
* Laghouat
* Geryville.

Also camps connected to the "Laconia" incident:
* Mediouna (near Casablanca)
* Qued-Zen (near Casablanca)
* Sidi-el-Avachi (near Azemmour)

Plus the following camps which are under investigation:
* Taza
* Fes
* Oujda
* Sidi-bel-Abbes
* Berguent
* Settat
* Sidi-el-Ayachi
* Qued Zem
* Mecheria

The camps at Conakry, Timbuctoo, and Kankan had no running water, no electricity, no gas, no electric light no sewers no toilets, and no baths.

The prisoners (mainly British and Norwegian) were housed in native accommodation - mud huts and houses, and a tractor shed. The Vichy French authorities in West Africa called the camps at Conakry, Timbuctoo, and Kankan, concentration camps.


In World War I male civilian citizens of the Allies caught by the outbreak of war on the territory of the Germany were interned. One of the camps was at Ruhleben on a horse race-track near Berlin. [ [ story of Geoffrey Pyke] ]

On January 30 1933 Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the weak coalition government. Although the Nazi party ("NSDAP") was in a minority, Hitler and his associates quickly took control of the country. ["The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William L. Shirer, pp.181-230] Within days the first Concentration camp ("Konzentrationslager") Dachau was built to hold persons considered dangerous by the Nazi administration - these included suspected communists, labor union activists, liberal politicians and even pastors. This camp became the model for all later Nazi concentration camps. It was quickly followed by Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen which became a facility for the training of SS-Death's Head officers in the operation of concentration camps.

Theodor Eicke, commandant of Dachau camp, was appointed "Inspector of Concentration Camps" by Himmler on 4 July 1934. By 1934 there were eight major institutions. This started the second phase of development. All smaller detention camps were consolidated into six major camps - Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Flossenburg, and after the annexation of Austria in 1938 - Mauthausen, finally in 1939 Ravensbrück (for women). The pajama type blue-striped uniforms were introduced for inmates as well as the practice of tattooing the prisoner's number on his fore-arm. Eicke started the practice of farming out prisoners as slave-labor in German industry, with sub-camps or "Arbeitskommandos" to house them. The use of common criminals as Kapo, to brutalize and assist in the handling of prisoners, was instituted at this time. In November 1938 the massive arrests of German Jews started, with most of them being immediately sent to the concentration camps, where they were separated from other prisoners and subjected to even harsher treatment. Probably it was at this time that German people started referring (in hushed voices) to the camps as "Kah-Tzets" (the initials KZ in the German language.)

The third phase started after the occupation of Poland in 1939. In the first few months Polish intellectuals were detained, including nearly the entire staff of Cracow university arrested in November 1939. ["History of Poland" ISBN 0-88029-858-8, by Oscar Halecki, p.313] Auschwitz-I and Stutthof concentration camp were built to house them and other political prisoners. Large numbers were executed or died from the brutal treatment and disease. After the occupation of Belgium, France and Netherlands in 1940, Natzweiler-Struthof, Gross Rosen and Fort Breendonk, in addition to a number of smaller camps, were set up to house intellectuals and political prisoners from those countries that had not already been executed. ["Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" p.957] It must be noted that many of these intellectuals were held first in Gestapo prisons, only those who were not executed immediately after interrogation were sent on to the concentration camps.

The final phase was the extermination of Jews. Initially, Jews in the occupied countries were interned either in other KZ, but predominantly in Ghettos that were walled off parts of cities. All the Jews in western Poland (annexed into the Reich) were transported to ghettos in the General Government. Jews were used for labor in industries, but usually transported to work then returned to the KZ or the ghetto at night. Although these ghettoes were not intended to be extermination camps, and there was no official policy to kill people, some Jews were raped and/or murdered by German soldiers. During the German advance into Russia in 1941 and 1942 Jewish soldiers and civilians were systematically executed by the "Einsatzgruppen" of the S.S. that followed the front-line troops. At the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942 the "Final Solution" was decreed to exterminate all of the remaining Jews in Europe, Heydrich stated that there were still 11 million to be eliminated. ["Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" pp.959-965] To accomplish this special "Vernichtungslager" (Extermination Camps) were to be organized. The first was Chełmno in which 152,000, mainly from the Łódź ghetto, were killed. The method for carrying out mass murder was tested and perfected here. During 1942 and 1943 further camps Auschwitz-Birkenau II, part of Majdanek, Treblinka, Bełżec and Sobibor were built for this purpose. Jews from other concentration camps, and from the ghettos, were transported to them from all over occupied Europe. In these six camps alone, an estimated 3.1 million Jews were killed in gas chambers and the bodies burned in massive crematoria. The Nazis realized that this was a criminal act Fact|date=February 2007 and the action was shrouded in secrecy. The extermination camps were destroyed in 1944 and early 1945 and buried. However the Soviet armies overran Auschwitz and Majdanek before the evidence could be totally destroyed.

Another category of internment camp in Nazi Germany was the Labor camp ("Arbeitslager"). They housed civilians from the occupied countries that were being used to work in industry, on the farms, in quarries, in mines and on the railroads. Approximately 12,000,000 forced laborers, most of whom were Eastern Europeans, were employed in the German war economy inside the Nazi Germany. [ [,2144,1757323,00.html Final Compensation Pending for Former Nazi Forced Laborers] ] [ [ Forced Labor at Ford Werke AG during the Second World War] ] Although conditions were harsh and food and medical care inadequate, they were not concentration camps. More workers died in them from Allied bombs or industrial accidents than from the difficult living conditions.fact|date=October 2008 The workers were mostly young and taken from the occupied countries, predominantly eastern Europe, but also many French and Italian. They were sometimes taken willingly, more frequently as a result of "lapanka" in Polish, or "rafle" in French language, in which people were collected on the street or in their home by police drives. However, for often very minor infractions of the rules, workers were imprisoned in special "Arbeitserziehungslager", German for Worker re-education camp, (abbreviated to AEL and sometimes referred to as "Straflager"). [de:Arbeiterserziehungslager] These punishment camps were operated by the Gestapo and many of the inmates were executed or died from the brutal treatment.

Finally there was one category of internment camp, called Ilag in which Allied, mainly British and American, civilians were held that had been caught behind front lines by the rapid advance of the German armies, or the sudden entry of the United States into the war. In these camps the Germans abided by the rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Any deaths resulted from sickness or simply old age.

After World War II, internment camps were used by the Allied occupying forces to hold suspected Nazis, usually using the facilities of previous Nazi camps. They were all closed down by 1949. In East Germany the communist government used prison camps to hold political prisoners, opponents of the communist regime or suspected Nazi collaborators.
* Bad Nenndorf interrogation centre


After a coup in 1965 under General Suharto, camps existed to detain communists and Sukarno nationalists.


During World War II, known in Ireland as the "Emergency", the Curragh camp was used as an internment camp.


Name of the campDate of establishmentDate of liberationEstimated number of prisonersEstimated number of deaths
Baranello near Campobasso
Campagna near Salerno
Casolli near Chieti
Chiesanuova near PaduaJune 1942
Ferramonti di Tarsia near Cosenzasummer 1940September 4 19433,800
Finale Emila near Modena
Gonars near PalmanovaMarch 1942September 8 19437,000453; >500
Malo near Venice
Monigo near TrevisoJune 1942
Montechiarugolo near Parma
Rab (on the island of Rab)July 1942September 11 194315,0002,000
Renicci di Anghiari, near ArezzoOctober 1942
Sepino near Campobasso
Vinchiaturo, near Campobasso
Visco, near Palmanovawinter 1942


Japanese WWII Camps in Asia

"See: List of Japanese POW camps during World War II"

For information in Dutch on Japanese concentration camps see []

Japan conquered south-east Asia in a series of victorious campaigns over a few months from December 1941. By March 1942 many civilians, particularly westerners in the region's European colonies, found themselves behind enemy lines and were subsequently interned by the Japanese.

The nature of civilian internment varied from region to region. Some civilians were interned soon after invasion; in other areas the process occurred over many months. In total, approximately 130,000 Allied civilians were interned by the Japanese during this period of occupation. The exact number of internees will never be known as records were often lost, destroyed, or simply not kept.

The backgrounds of the internees were diverse. There was a large proportion of Dutch from the Dutch East Indies, but they also included Americans, British, and Australians. They included missionaries and their families, colonial administrators, and business people. Many had been living in the colonies for decades. Single women had often been nuns, missionaries, doctors, teachers and nurses.

Civilians interned by the Japanese were treated marginally better than the prisoners of war, but their death rates were the same. Although they had to work to run their own camps, few were made to labour on construction projects. The Japanese devised no consistent policies or guidelines to regulate the treatment of the civilians. Camp conditions and the treatment of internees varied from camp to camp. The general experience, however, was one of malnutrition, disease, and varying degrees of harsh discipline and brutality from the Japanese guards. Some Dutch women were forced into sexual slavery. [ [ Comfort Women Were 'Raped': U.S. Ambassador to Japan] ] [ [ Abe ignores evidence, say Australia's 'comfort women'] ]

The camps varied in size from four people held at Pangkalpinang in Sumatra to the 14,000 held in Tjihapit in Java. Some were segregated according to gender or race, there were also many camps of mixed gender. Some internees were held at the same camp for the duration of the war, and others were moved about. The buildings used to house internees were generally whatever was available, including schools, warehouses, universities, hospitals, and prisons.

Organisation of the internment camps varied by location. The Japanese administered some camps directly; others were administered by local authorities under Japanese control. Korean POWs of the Japanese were also used as camp guards. Some of the camps were left for the internees to self-govern. In the mixed and male camps, management often fell to the men who were experienced in administration before their internment. In the women's camps the leaders tended to be the women who had held a profession prior to internment. Boys over the age of ten were generally considered to be men by the Japanese and were often separated from their mothers to live and work in male camps.

One of the most famous concentration camps operated by the Japanese during World War II was at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the Philippines. The Dominican university was expropriated by the Japanese at the beginning of the occupation, and was used to house mostly American civilians, but also British subjects, for the duration of the war. There, men, women and children suffered from malnutrition and poor sanitation. The camp was liberated in 1945.

The liberation of camps was not a uniform process. Many camps were liberated as the forces were recapturing territory. For other internees, freedom occurred many months after the surrender of the Japanese, and in the Dutch East Indies, liberated internees faced the uncertainty of the Indonesian war of independence.

Civilian internees were generally disregarded in official histories, and few received formal recognition. Ironically, however, civilian internees have become the subject of several influential books and films. Agnes Newton Keith's account of internment in Sandakan and Batu Lintang camp, Kuching, "Three Came Home" (1947), was one of the first of the memoirs. More recent publications include Shirley Fenton-Huie's "The Forgotten Ones" (1992) and Jan Ruff O'Herne's "Fifty Years of Silence" (1997). Nevil Shute's novel "A Town Like Alice" was filmed in 1956, and J. G. Ballard's "Empire of the Sun" in 1987. Other films and television dramas have included "Tenko" and "Paradise Road".


See also: Manenggon [] []


A draft report leaked by the office of Mexico's Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo in 2006 mentioned the existence of army-run concentration camps during anti-guerilla campaigns in the state of Guerrero in the 1970's. [ [ National Security Archive: "Report documents 18 years `Dirty War` in Mexico"] ]


In World War I both German and Allied soldiers and sailors that crossed into neutral Netherlands were interned. The camp for the British, mostly sailors, was in Groningen [ [ British sailors in Groningen camp] ]

During World War II a camp was built in 1939 at Westerbork by the Dutch government for interning Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi Germany. This camp was later used during the German occupation as a waystation for Dutch Jews eventually deported to extermination camps in the East.

After the war the Dutch government launched the Operation Black Tulip and started to gather civil population of German background to concentration camps near the German border, especially Nijmegen, in order to deport them from the country. In total around 15 % of the German population in the Netherlands was deported.

New Zealand

In World War I German civilians living in New Zealand were interned in camps on Motuihe and Somes Islands. German and Japanese civilians were interned in World War II.

North Korea

Location of Known Concentration Camps
"North Province of Hamkyong-Life Imprisonment Zone"
1. Onsong Changpyong Family Camp No. 12 (relocated in May 1987)
2. Chongsong Family Camp No. 13 (relocated in December 1990)
3. Hoeryong Family Camp No. 22
4. Chongjin Singles' Prison No. 25
5. Kyongsong Family Camp No. 11 (relocated in October 1989)
6. Hwasong Family Camp No. 16
"South Province of Hamkyong"
7. Yodok Offenders and Family Camp No. 15
(sectors for re-education and life imprisonment)
"North Province of Pyong'an"
8. Chonma Family Camp No. 27 (relocated in November 1990)
"South Province of Pyong'an"
9. Kaechon Family Camp No. 14
10. Pyongyang Seungho Area Hwachon dong Offender's Camp No. 26 (relocated in January 1990)

North Korea is known to operate five concentration camps, currently accommodating a total of over 200,000 prisoners, though the only one that has allowed outside access is Camp #15 in Yodok, South Hamgyong Province. Once condemned as political criminals in North Korea, the defendant and his or her family are incarcerated in one of the camps without trial and cut off from all outside contact. Prisoners reportedly work 14 hour days at hard labor and/or ideological re-education. Starvation and disease are commonplace. Political criminals invariably receive life sentences, however their families are usually released after 3 year sentences, if they pass political examinations after extensive study.

Concentration camps came into being in North Korea in the wake of the country's liberation from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II. Those persons considered "adversary class forces", such as landholders, Japanese collaborators, religious devotees and families of those who migrated to the South, were rounded up and detained in a large facility. Additional camps were established later in earnest to incarcerate political victims in power struggles in the late 1950s and 60s and their families and overseas Koreans who migrated to the North. The number of camps saw a marked increase later in the course of cementing the Kim Il Sung dictatorship and the Kim Jong-il succession. About a dozen concentration camps were in operation until the early 1990s, the figure of which is believed to have been curtailed to five today due to increasing criticism of the North's perceived human rights abuses from the international community and the North's internal situation.

Perhaps the most well-known depiction of life in the North Korean camps has been provided by Kang Chol-hwan in his memoir The Aquariums of Pyongyang.
* [ Google Earth tour of Camp 22, a North Korean concentration camp] , with embedded video descriptions by survivors and former guards

People's Republic of China

Concentration camps in the People's Republic of China are called Laogai, which means "reform through labor". The communist-era camps began at least in the 1960s and were filled with anyone who had said anything critical of the government, or often just random people grabbed from their homes to fill quotas. The entire society was organized into small groups in which loyalty to the government was enforced, so that anyone with dissident viewpoints was easily identifiable for enslavement. These camps were modern slave labor camps, organized like factories.

There are accusations that Chinese labor camp [ [ Report about products produced under forced labor (focuses on the persecution of Falun Gong)] ] produce products are often sold in foreign countries with the profits going to the PRC government. Products include everything from green tea to industrial engines to coal dug from mines.

The use of prison labor is an interesting case study of the interaction between capitalism and prison labor. On the one hand, the downfall of socialism has reduced revenue to local governments increasing pressure for local governments to attempt to supplement their income using prison labor. On the other hand, prisoners do not make a good workforce, and the products produced by prison labor in China are of extremely low quality and have become unsellable on the open market in competition with products made by ordinary paid labor.

An insider's view from the 1950s to the 1990s is detailed in the books of Harry Wu, including "Troublemaker" and "The Laogai". He spent almost all of his adult life as a prisoner in these camps for criticizing the government while he was a young student in college. He almost died several times, but eventually escaped to the US. Party officials have argued that he far overstates the present role of Chinese labor camps and ignores the tremendous changes that have occurred in China since then.

There have been reports of Falun Gong practitioners being detained Sujiatun Concentration Camp. It has been accused that Falun Gong practitioners are killed for their organs, which are then sold to medical facilities. [ [ The Epoch Times | Worse Than Any Nightmare—Journalist Quits China to Expose Concentration Camp Horrors and Bird Flu Coverup ] ] [ [ The Secret Sujiatun Concentration Camp ] ] The Chinese government rejects these allegations [zh icon [ Truth about the So-called "Sujiatun Concentration Camp" ] ] . US State Department visited the alleged camp on two occasions, first unannounced, and found the allegation not credible. [ U.S. Finds No Evidence of Alleged Concentration Camp in China] , U.S. State Department, April 16, 2006] [ Lum, Thomas CRS Report page CRS-7 detailing US embassy investigations] Chinese dissident and Executive Director of the Laogai Research Foundation, Harry Wu, having sent his own investigators to the site, was unable to substantiate the claims, and believes the reports were fabricated. [ Harry Wu challenges Falun Gong organ harvesting claims] , South China Morning Post, September 8, 2006]

See also: human rights in the People's Republic of China


From 1934-39 Poland established a camp for the internment of political opponents, Ukrainian nationalists and Communists in Bereza Kartuzka (now in Belarus).

* Bereza Kartuska Detention Camp

After World War 2 Communist Poland established a system of concentration and internment camps where opponents of the communists and Soviets, as well as Ukrainians and ethnic Germans or their sympathizers, were imprisoned.
* Central Labour Camp Potulice
* Central Labour Camp Jaworzno
* Zgoda labour camp
* Łambinowice

Attempts were later made to bring two of the camp commandants to justice; Salomon Morel and Czesław Gęborski.

Russia and the Soviet Union

In Imperial Russia, labor camps were known by the name "katorga".

In the Soviet Union, concentration camps were called simply "camps", almost always plural ("lagerya"). These were used as forced labor camps, and were often filled with political prisoners. After Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book they became known to the rest of the world as "Gulags", after the branch of NKVD (state security service) that managed them. (In the Russian language, the term is used to denote the whole system, rather than individual camps.)

In addition to what is sometimes referred to as the GULAG proper (consisting of the "corrective labor camps") there were "corrective labor colonies", originally intended for prisoners with short sentences, and "special resettlements" of deported peasants. At its peak, the system held a combined total of 2,750,000 prisoners. In all, perhaps more than 18,000,000 people passed through the "Gulag" in 1929-1953, with further millions being deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union.cite web
url =
title = GULAG: a history
accessdate = 2007-12-21
author = Anne Applebaum
language = English
format = HTML
] [ [ The Other Killing Machine] , "The New York Times".] [ [ Stalin's forgotten victims stuck in the gulag] , "Telegraph".]

There are references to concentration camps by Soviet officials (including Lenin) as early as December 1917. While the primary purpose of Soviet camps was mass extermination of prisoners, in many cases the outcome was death or permanent disability. The total documented deaths in the corrective-labor system from 1934 to 1953 amount to 1,054,000, including political and common prisoners; this does not include nearly 800,000 executions of "counterrevolutionaries" outside the camp system. From 1932 to 1940, at least 390,000 peasants died in places of peasant resettlement; this figure may overlap with the above, but, on the other hand, it does not include deaths outside the 1932-1940 period, or deaths among non-peasant internal exiles.

Of the 5.7 million Soviet prisoners of war captured by the Germans, 3.5 million had died while in German captivity by the end of the war. [ [ Soviet Prisoners of War: Forgotten Nazi Victims of World War II] ] The survivors on their return to the USSR were treated as traitors (see Order No. 270). [ [ The warlords: Joseph Stalin] ] [ [ Remembrance (Zeithain Memorial Grove)] ] Over 1.5 million surviving Red Army soldiers imprisoned by the Germans were sent to the Gulag. [ [ Patriots ignore greatest brutality] ] [ [ Joseph Stalin killer file] ]

After WWII, some 3,000,000 German soldiers and civilians were sent to Soviet labor camps, as part of war reparations by labor force. Only about 2,000,000 returned to Germany.

A special kind of forced labor, informally called "sharashka", was for engineering and scientific labor. The Soviet rocket designer Sergey Korolev worked in a "sharashka" , as did Lev Termen and many other prominent Russians. Solzhenitsyn's book The First Circle describes life in a "sharashka".

An extensive List of Gulag camps is being compiled based on official sources.

During war in Chechnia, in 1994 Russians founded many filtration camps for Chechen detainees. They were more like concentration camp as human rights were often disregarded and the mortality rate was nearly 80%. In 2001 in this objects Russians gathered 20 000 Chechen men and boys.


During World War II:
* Banjica concentration camp (near Belgrade)
* Sajmište concentration camp (near Belgrade)
* Crveni krst (in Niš)
* Dulag 183 (in Šabac)
* Svilara (Pančevo)
* Paraćin

During the Yugoslav Wars:
* Sremska Mitrovica concentration camp (in Sremska Mitrovica)
* Stajićevo camp


During the Second World War, the Slovak government made a small number (Novaky, Sered) of transit camps for Jewish citizens. They were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Ravensbruck concentration camps. For German help with Aryanization of Slovakia, the Slovak government paid a fee of 500 Reichsmark per Jew.


Although the first modern concentration camps used to systematically dissuade rebels from fighting are usually attributed to the British during the Boer War, in the Spanish-American War, forts and camps were used by the Spanish in Cuba to separate rebels from their agricultural support bases. Upwards of 200,000 Cubans died by disease and famine in these environments. []


During the Second World War, the Swedish government operated eight internment camps.

* The most famous is probably Storsien outside Kalix in Norrbotten where about 300-370 communists, syndicalists and pacifists were kept during the winter 1939-1940. Other camps were
* Naartijärvi south of Luleå
* Öxnered at Vänersborg
* Grytan outside Östersund
* Bercut, a boat for sailors outside Dalarö
* Vindeln: constructed in Västerbotten in 1943
* Stensele: constructed in Västerbotten in 1943
* Lövnäsvallen outside Sveg

In May 1941 a total of ten camps for 3000-3500 were planned, but towards the end of 1941 the plans were put on ice and in 1943 the last camp was closed down. All the records were burned. After the war many of those who had been put in the camps had trouble finding work as few wanted to hire "subversive elements".

The navy had at least one special detainment ship for communists and "troublemakers".

Most of the camps were not labour camps with the exception of Vindeln and Stensele where the interns were used to build a secret airbase.

Foreign soldiers were put in camps in Långmora and Smedsbo. German refugees and deserters in Rinkaby. After the Second World War three camps were used for Baltic refugees (including 150 Baltic soldiers) Ränneslätt, Rinkaby and Gälltofta.


Concentration camps were used by Turkey during the First World War, in order to commit the genocide of at least 1 million Armenian People. [ [ Forgotten Genocide: The Destruction of the Armenians During World War I ] ]

United Kingdom

outh Africa

The term concentration camp was first used by the British military during the Boer War (1899-1902). Facing attack by Boer guerrillas, British forces rounded up the Boer women and children as well as black people living on Boer land, and sent them to 34 tented camps scattered around South Africa. This was done as part of a scorched earth policy to deny the boer guerrillas access to the supplies of food and clothing they needed to continue the war. [cite web|url=|title=Concentration Camps|publisher= [ Anglo-Boer War Museum] ]

The camps were situated at Aliwal North, Balmoral, Barberton, Belfast, Bethulie, Bloemfontein, Brandfort, East London [cite web|url=|title=Boer War concentration camp, East London|publisher= [] ] , Heidelberg, Heilbron, Howick, Irene, Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Kroonstad, Krugersdorp, Merebank, Middelburg, Norvalspont, Nylstroom, Pietermaritzburg, Pietersburg, Pinetown, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, Springfontein, Standerton, Turffontein, Vereeniging, Volksrust, Vredefort, Vryburg and Winburg.

Though they were not extermination camps, the women and children of Boer men who were still fighting were given smaller rations than others. The poor diet and inadequate hygiene led to endemic contagious diseases such as measles, typhoid and dysentery. Coupled with a shortage of medical facilities, this led to large numbers of deaths — a report after the war concluded that 27,927 Boer (of whom 22,074 were children under 16) and 14,154 black Africans had died of starvation, disease and exposure in the camps. In all, about 25% of the Boer inmates and 12% of the black African ones died (although recent research suggests that the black African deaths were underestimated and may have actually been around 20,000).

In contrast to these figures, only around 3,000 Boer men were killed (in combat) during the Second Boer War.

A delegate of the South African Women and Children's Distress Fund, Emily Hobhouse, did much to publicise the distress of the inmates on her return to Britain after visiting some of the camps in the Orange Free State. Her fifteen-page report caused uproar, and led to a government commission, the Fawcett Commission, visiting camps from August to December 1901 which confirmed her report. They were highly critical of the running of the camps and made numerous recommendations, for example improvements in diet and provision of proper medical facilities. By February 1902 the annual death-rate dropped to 6.9% and eventually to 2%. Improvements made to the white camps were not as swiftly extended to the black camps. Hobhouse's pleas went mostly unheeded in the latter case.

Namibia (German South-West Africa)

Between 1904 and 1908, following the German suppression of the Herero and Nama in the Herero and Namaqua genocide, survivors were interned in concentration camps. []

During World War I, South African troops (then a part of the British Empire) invaded neighboring German South-West Africa. German settlers were rounded up and sent to concentration camps in Pretoria and later in Pietermaritzburg.

Isle of Man

During World War I the British government interned male citizens of the Central Powers, principally Germany, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey. [ [ Internment on I. of Man in WWI] ] They were held mainly in internment camps at Knockaloe, close to Peel, and a smaller one near Douglas. During World War II, about 8,000 people were interned in Britain, many being held in the same camps at Knockaloe and Douglas on the Isle of Man. The internees included enemy aliens from the Axis Powers, principally Germany and Italy. [ [ Italian internees in Britain in WWII] ]

Initially, refugees who had fled from Germany were also included, as were suspected British Nazi sympathisers such as British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley. The British government rounded up 74,000 German, Austrian and Italian aliens. Within 6 months the 112 alien tribunals had individually summoned and examined 64,000 aliens, and the vast majority were released, having been found to be "friendly aliens" (mostly Jews); examples include Hermann Bondi and Thomas Gold and later members of the Amadeus Quartet. British nationals were detained under Defence Regulation 18B. Eventually only 2,000 of the remainder were interned. Initially they were shipped overseas, but that was halted when a German U boat sank the SS "Arandora Star" in July 1940 with the loss of 800 internees, though this was not the first loss that had occurred. The last internees were released late in 1945, though many were released in 1942. In Britain, internees were housed in camps and prisons. Some camps had tents rather than buildings with internees sleeping directly on the ground. Men and women were separated and most contact with the outside world was denied. A number of prominent Britons including writer H. G. Wells campaigned against the internment of refugees.


After World War II, British efforts to prevent Jewish emigration into their Palestine Mandate led to the construction of internment camps in Cyprus where up to 30,000 Holocaust survivors were held at any one time to prevent their entry into the country. They were released in February 1949 after the founding of Israel. [N. Bogner, The Deportation Island: Jewish Illegal Immigrant Camps on Cyprus 1946-1948, Tel-Aviv 1991 he icon]


During the 1954-60 Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya, camps were established to hold suspected rebels. It is unclear how many were held but estimates range up to 1.5 million - or practically the entire Kikuyu population. Between 130,000 and 300,000 are thought to have died as a result.Fact|date=February 2008 Maltreatment is said to have included torture and summary executions. In addition as many as a million members of the Kikuyu tribe were subjected to ethnic cleansing. (Sources: . R. Edgerton, Mau Mau: An African Crucible, London 1990 page 180; C. Elkins,“Detention, Rehabilitation & the Destruction of Kikuyu Society”in Mau Mau and Nationhood, Editors Odhiambo and Lonsdale, Oxford 2003 pages 205-7; C. Elkins, "Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End Of Empire In Kenya", 2005).

Channel Islands

Alderney in the Channel Islands was the only place in the British Isles where German concentration camps were established during the Occupation of the Channel Islands. In January 1942, the occupying German forces established four camps, called Helgoland, Norderney, Borkum and Sylt (after the German North Sea islands), where captive Russians and other east Europeans were used as slave labour to build Atlantic Wall defences on the island. Around 460 prisoners died in the Alderney camps.

Northern Ireland

During the Anglo-Irish War, 12,000 Irishmen were held without trial.

One of the most famous example of modern "internment"—and one which made world headlines—occurred in Northern Ireland in 1971, when hundreds of nationalists and republicans were arrested by the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary on the orders of the then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Brian Faulkner, with the backing of the British government. Historians generally view that period of internment as inflaming sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland while failing in its stated aim of arresting members of the paramilitary Provisional IRA, because many of the people arrested were completely unconnected with that organisation but had had their names appear on the list of those to be interned through bungling and incompetence, and over 100 IRA men escaped arrest. The backlash against internment and its bungled application contributed to the decision of the British government under Prime Minister Edward Heath to suspend the Stormont governmental system in Northern Ireland and replace it with "direct rule" from London, under the authority of a British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

From 1971 internment began, beginning with the arrest of 342 suspected republican guerrillas and paramilitary members on August 9. They were held at HM Prison Maze. By 1972, 924 men were interned. Serious rioting ensued, and 23 people died in three days. The British government attempted to show some balance by arresting some loyalist paramilitaries later, but out of the 1,981 men interned, only 107 were loyalists. Internment was ended in 1975, but had resulted in increased support for the IRA and created political tensions which culminated in the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike and the death of Bobby Sands MP. The imprisonment of people under anti-terrorism laws specific to Northern Ireland continued until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, but these laws required the right to a fair trial be respected. However non-jury Diplock courts tried paramilitary-related trials, to prevent jury intimidation.

Many of those interned were held in a detention facility located at RAF Long Kesh military base, later known as the Maze Prison outside Belfast. Internment had previously been used as a means of repressing the Irish Republican Army. It was used between 1939 - 1945 and 1956 - 1962. On all these occasions, internment has had a somewhat limited success.

United States

Indigenous People

The first large-scale confinement of a specific ethnic group in detention centers began in the summer of 1838, when President Martin Van Buren ordered the U.S. Army to enforce the Treaty of New Echota (an Indian removal treaty) by rounding up the Cherokee into prison camps before relocating them. Called "emigration depots", the three main ones were located at Ross's Landing (Chattanooga, Tennessee), Fort Payne, Alabama, and Fort Cass (Charleston, Tennessee). Fort Cass was the largest, with over 4,800 Cherokee prisoners held over the summer of 1838. [Duncan, Barbara R. and Riggs, Brett H. Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill (2003). ISBN 0-8078-5457-3, p. 279] Although these camps were not intended to be extermination camps, and there was no official policy to kill people, some Indians were raped and/or murdered by US soldiers.Fact|date=February 2008 Many more died in these camps due to disease, which spread rapidly because of the close quarters and bad sanitary conditions: see the Trail of Tears.

Throughout the remainder of the Indian Wars, various populations of Native Americans were rounded up, trekked across country and put into detention, some for as long as 27 years.


On December 7, 1901, during the Philippine-American War, General J. Franklin Bell began a concentration camp policy in Batangas - everything outside the "dead lines" was systematically destroyed: humans, crops, domestic animals, houses, and boats. A similar policy had been quietly initiated on the island of Marinduque some months before. ["Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903", Stuart Creighton Miller, (Yale University Press, 1982). p. 208]

Japanese-, German- and Italian-Americans

In reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt under United States Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 allowed military commanders to designate areas "from which any or all persons may be excluded." Under this order all Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry were removed from Western coastal regions to guarded camps in Arkansas, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona; German and Italian citizens, permanent residents, and American citizens of those respective ancestries (and American citizen family members) were removed from (among other places) the West and East Coast and relocated or interned, and roughly one-third of the US was declared an exclusionary zone.

Oklahoma housed German and Italian POW's at Fort Reno, located near El Reno, and at Camp Gruber, near Braggs, Oklahoma.

Almost 120,000 Japanese Americans and resident Japanese aliens would eventually be removed from their homes and relocated.

About 2,200 Japanese living in South America (mostly in Peru) were transported to the United States and placed in internment camps. [ [ The Tech(MIT), Volume 116 Issue 35 August 27, 1996 "Japanese Latin Americans Seek Payments for WWII Injustices"] ]

Approximately 5,000 Germans living in several Latin American republics were also removed and transported to the United States and placed in internment camps. [ [ "The Latin American Connection"] ] In addition at least 10,905 German Americans were held in more than 50 internment sites throughout the United States and Hawaii. The locations of these sites are depicted in the map which follows:

Alaska Natives living in the Aleutian Islands were also interned during the war; Funter Bay was one such camp. [ [ Did you know Aleuts were sent to internment camps during WWII? Documentary film tells their story] ]

Current Camps

* Whether or not the Guantanamo Bay detention camps and Bagram Theater Internment Facility qualify as a prisoner-of-war camps or internment camps is open to debate. In the view of the U.S. government, the detainees housed there fall outside the protections that the Geneva Conventions provide for lawful combatants. These detainees are, in this view, not prisoners-of-war, but instead criminals (i.e., unlawful combatants) although fewer than two dozen of them have faced charges.

* Emergency internment camps are currently under construction on U.S. soil by Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root). According to Business Wire, on January 24, 2006, KBR announced that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build "temporary detention and processing facilities." According to the New York Times, "KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants". ["Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers" "New York Times", February 4, 2006] Concern has been raised by civil libertarians and others over the true intention and nature of these camps, that such camps could be used to facilitate implementation of martial law and mass arrests within the United States. [ [| Seiler, Hamburg "Rule by fear or rule by law?" "San Francisco Chronicle", Monday, February 4, 2008] ] [ [| Parry "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'" Alternet, February 23, 2006] ]


Cate Elkner at el. Enemy Aliens: The Internment of Italian Migrants in Australia during the Second World War (Connor Court Publishing, Ballan) 2005.

ee also

*Enemy alien
*Habeas corpus
*House arrest

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