In the 12 years that the National Socialist Party was in power in Germany -- from January 1933 to May 1945 -- upwards of 15,000 concentration and labour camps were established in the Greater Reich and the occupied countries to incarcerate all who were deemed enemies of the state. The first was set up by Heinrich Himmler, then the Police President of Munich, just outside the city at Dachau, its very name becoming associated with death. Camps were then established in quick succession at Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Flossenburg, Mauthausen in Austria, Ravensbruck (exclusively for women), Neuengamme, Gross-Rosen and, later in the war, Belsen, yet it was the extermination camps, hidden away in eastern Poland, that horrified the world when their existence was revealed in 1945. Specifically designed and built to kill people in order to carry out the Nazis 'Final Solution', the names of Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka will forever be linked with death on an industrial scale.
These and many more concentration camps in Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Holland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and even the United Kingdom, are included in this book, illustrated with comparison photographs which are the forte of After the Battle. Some of the camps have been preserved but at others only a memorial stands to mark its passing. Through the dreaded camp portal marked with the euphemistic phrase 'Work gives Freedom', millions walked never to return, and our final chapter recounts the efforts undertaken by the Allies to bring those responsible to justice.