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Suicide in Nazi concentration camps, 1933-1939

Goeschel, Christian (2010) Suicide in Nazi concentration camps, 1933-1939. Journal of Contemporary History 45 (3), pp. 628-648. ISSN 0022-0094.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022009410366558

Abstract

Too often histories of the concentration camps tend to be ignorant of the wider political context of nazi repression and control. This article tries to overcome this problem. Combining legal, social and political history, it contributes to a more thorough understanding of the changing relationship between the camps as places of extra-legal terror and the judiciary, between nazi terror and the law. It argues that the conflict between the judiciary and the SS was not a conflict between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, as existing accounts claim. Rather, it was a power struggle for jurisdiction over the camps. Concentration camp authorities covered up the murders of prisoners as suicides to prevent judicial investigations. This article also looks at actual suicides in the pre-war camps, to highlight individual inmates’ reactions to life within the camps. The article concludes that the history of the concentration camps needs to be firmly integrated into the history of nazi terror and the Third Reich.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): concentration camps, judiciary, legal terror, murder, nazi terror, suicide
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2010 11:42
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:19
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2781

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