Killing centers in occupied Poland, 1942 [LCID: pol72090]

Killing Centers in German-occupied Poland, 1942

Killing centers (also referred to as "extermination camps" or "death camps") were designed to carry out genocide. Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazis established five killing centers in German-occupied PolandChelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz-Birkenau (part of the Auschwitz camp complex). Chelmno and Auschwitz were established in areas annexed to Germany in 1939. The other camps (Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka) were established in the General Government (an administrative unit of occupied Poland). Auschwitz functioned as concentration and forced-labor camps, as well as a killing center. The overwhelming majority of the victims of the killing centers were Jews. An estimated 2.7 million Jews were killed in these five killing centers as part of the Final Solution. Other victims murdered in the killing centers included Roma (Gypsies) and Soviet prisoners of war.

On this map, the Majdanek camp is labeled as a killing center. In the past, many scholars counted the Majdanek camp (located just outside the city of Lublin) as a sixth killing center. However, based on newer research, Lublin-Majdanek is usually classified as a concentration camp. According to this research, German authorities used Majdanek primarily as a place to concentrate Jews who were being temporarily spared for use as forced laborers. Occasionally, especially after Belzec ceased operating in late 1942, Jews were sent to Majdanek as part of Operation Reinhard to undergo selection. Jews selected as unfit for labor were murdered at Lublin-Majdanek either by shooting or in the camp's gas chambers.


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