This Holocaust info page makes two statements that seem contradictory.
The following paragraph states that death camps were designed specifically for mass murder. (I assume this means the chemical rooms used in the holocaust)
What is a death camp? A death (or mass murder) camp is a concentration camp with special apparatus specifically designed for systematic murder.
But I recently read an (non canonical) account that states the gas chambers were not intended originally for mass murder, but rather for sanitation of clothing.
Surprisingly, the following statement from the same source supports this claim:
Did the Nazis plan to murder the Jews from the beginning of their regime? This question is one of the most difficult to answer. While Hitler made several references to killing Jews, both in his early writings (Mein Kampf) and in various speeches during the 1930s, it is fairly certain that the Nazis had no operative plan for the systematic annihilation of the Jews before 1941.
And furthermore, the above statement claims there was likely no plan for mass murder until 1941, while the following paragraph claims the first death camps were created back in 1933, nearly a decade earlier.
When was the first concentration camp established? The first concentration camp, Dachau, opened on March 22, 1933.
So I have two questions derived from this:
- Were death camps originally intended as death camps, equipped with gas chambers for the purpose of mass murder?
and if not:
- What changed? What event lead unethical imprisonment of racially, sexually, and socially disliked peoples to transform into mass murder, before the invasion of the Soviet Union?
I've considered the possibility of Hitler being out of resources due to the war, and killing the Jews purely out of (horrible, terrible, insane) strategic measure with the impending fighting with the Soviet Union. Perhaps he was just out of resources, and did something gruesome and horrible to win the war. I'm no historian, that's why I'm asking this here.
But if this is the case, it's a very different (albeit equally horrible) story from what I was taught in school as a kid. I supposed I'm simply interested in the historical accuracy of my education.