Inside History’s First Concentration Camps
Wed, April 14, 2021

Inside History’s First Concentration Camps

 

Before and during the Second World War, Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. While these are widely known as the first concentration camps ever established, many believed that history's first concentration camps were built in South Africa during the Boer War, over 41 years before the Holocaust began. The Boer War of 1899-1902 was fought between the British Empire and the two Boer states – the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

At first, these concentration camps were built with good intentions. These aimed to serve as refugee camps that were meant to house families that had been forced to abandon their homes to escape the ravages of war. However, the British became more brutal as the war continued. They introduced a "scorched earth" policy, to burn every Boer farm to the ground. Every well was to be poisoned and every field was to be salted. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

Women and children in the country were forced into the camps, while men were shipped out of the country to keep them from fighting. Aside from that, the native South Africans were also sent there. They were forced to work for the British army, while others were forced off into camps. Thus, the camps quickly become overcrowded and understocked. In no time, South Africa had more than 100 concentration camps which imprisoned more than 100,000 people. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, reported that these concentration camps systematically imprisoned more than 115,000 people and killed at least 25,000 of them. Reports showed that there were more men, women, and children who died of starvation and disease in these camps than did men actually fighting in the war. 

It was believed that this is the first time a whole country was systematically rounded up, imprisoned, and exterminated.

SIMIALR POST

2020.04.15

GiAnn Esgana

Covid-19 is a “Ticking Time Bomb” for Cambodia’s Overcrowded Prisons

2020.09.16

GiAnn Esgana

Discovering Ancient Food Practices: Unglazed Ceramic Cookware Retains Residue of Earlier Meals

2020.09.09

GiAnn Esgana

Wrong-way Migrations: Ocean Warming is Trapping Shellfish in Habitats They Can’t Escape