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Holocaust History: Concentration Camps

This LibGuide is a starting point for general research on the concentration camps, with resources on genocide, survivor memoirs, and primary sources.

Brief History

Majdanek concentration and death camp was constructed outside of Lublin, Poland. The camp operated from October 1, 1941, to July 22, 1944. The first prisoners to be sent there were Soviet prisoners-of-war. Along with Jews from Poland, those from Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, France, the Netherlands, and Greece were deported there. Initially, Majdanek was a forced labor and concentration camp, but with the implementation of Operation Reinhard in October 1942, Majdanek functioned as a killing center until late 1943.

During its four years, close to 500,000 prisoners entered the camp. An estimated 360,000 people died there, from starvation, disease, firing squad, or in the gas chambers.

In July 1944, the Soviet Union Army approached Lublin, and the German guards destroyed the crematoria, burned documents, and quickly evacuated the camp. The Soviet Union liberated Majdanek on July 24, 1944. It was the first major camp liberated by the Allied forces.


The following summary derived information from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library

Archival Material