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Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945

The Nazis and their allies ran more than 44,000 camps, ghettos, and other sites of detention, persecution, forced labor, and murder during the Holocaust. Few people know about the breadth of the Nazi camp system and the conditions in those places—including the broad range of prisoner experiences. The Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, aims to answer basic questions about as many of those sites as possible.

This work allows the Museum to provide scholars with leads for additional research. It also memorializes the places where millions of people suffered and died.

About the Work

A small team of editors, writers and researchers at the Museum, plus hundreds of volunteers and scholars from around the world, began working on the Encyclopedia in 1999. The Museum has published four volumes and is working on three more. When it is complete, the Encyclopedia will be the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the Nazi camp system in existence.

Each of the Encyclopedia’s seven volumes will describe a particular set of sites, according to their type or subordination. Within the volumes, the entries are further organized to illuminate aspects of the sites' development and operation. In this way, the reader can gain an understanding, not just for the details of individual sites, but for the system as a whole. Photographs, charts, and maps supplement the text, and extensive indexes assist the reader in finding particular places, people, and organizations.

“This magnificent collective effort, uniting the research and expertise of leading scholars from around the world, provides a fundamental new reference for the history of the Holocaust. Anyone who wishes to understand the variety of Jewish experience in the ghettos and the scale of the destruction of a whole European world must consult this encyclopedia.”
— Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands

Current Volumes

Learn more about the Encyclopedia’s volumes, their contents, and purchase information below. The first three volumes are available to download free as PDFs now.

Volume I: Early Camps, Youth Camps, and Concentration Camps and Subcamps under the SS-Business Administration Main Office (WVHA)

This volume contains entries on 110 early camps, 23 main SS concentration camps (including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau), 898 subcamps, 39 SS construction brigade camps, and three so-called youth protection camps. Introductory essays provide broader context, while citations and source narratives offer the basis for additional research. Volume I received the 2009 National Jewish Book Award and Library Journal’s Best of Reference 2009. It was also designated a Choice magazine 2010 Outstanding Academic Title.

General Editor: Geoffrey P. Megargee Foreword: Elie Wiesel

Volume II: Ghettos In German-Occupied Eastern Europe

This volume provides a comprehensive account of how the Nazis conducted the Holocaust throughout the scattered towns and villages of Poland and the Soviet Union. It covers more than 1,150 sites. Regional essays outline the patterns of ghettoization in 19 German administrative regions. Each entry discusses key events in the history of the ghetto; living and working conditions; activities of the Jewish Councils; Jewish responses to persecution; demographic changes; and details of the ghetto's liquidation. Personal testimonies help convey the character of each ghetto, while source citations provide a guide to additional information. Documentation of hundreds of smaller sites—previously unknown or overlooked in the historiography of the Holocaust—make this an indispensable reference work on the destroyed Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.

General editor: Geoffrey P. Megargee Volume editor: Martin Dean Introduction: Christopher R. Browning

Volume III: Camps And Ghettos Under European Regimes Aligned With Nazi Germany

Volume III of the Encyclopedia describes over 700 sites in Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia, as well as in French and Italian colonies in Africa, and in Italian-occupied territories in Europe. Introductory essays on each of the countries provide background information on broader developments having to do with the various camp systems. The volume comprises more than 1,000 pages, with 124 illustrations and 22 maps.

General editor: Geoffrey P. Megargee Volume editor: Joseph R. White Contributing editor: Mel Hecker

Volume IV: Camps and Other Detention Facilities under the German Armed Forces  

This volume documents an under-researched segment of the larger Nazi incarceration system, specifically camps and other detention facilities under the direct control of the German military. It includes examinations of prisoner-of-war camps, military brothels, work camps for Tunisian Jews, and military penal camps and prisons. The volume features essays detailing approximately 600 sites, 95 photos, and 23 maps across 808 pages.

Editors: Geoffrey Megargee, Rüdiger Overmans, and Wolfgang Vogt Contributing editor: Mel Hecker

For review copies of the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, please contact

Upcoming Volumes

Volume V: Nazi Sites for Racial Persecution, Detention, Resettlement, and Murder of Non-Jews

Including a variety of penal camps, prisons, and other sites for mostly non-Jewish prisoners. Specific types of sites include “euthanasia” centers, sites of forced abortion and infanticide, Justice Ministry prisons, so-called work education camps, Gestapo prisons, camps for Roma, “Germanization” facilities, and resettlement camps for Poles.

General editor: Alexandra Lohse Editors: Jan Lambertz and Patricia Heberer-Rice

Volume VI: Extermination, Labor, and Transit Camps for Jews.

This volume documents a range of camps that operated outside the concentration camp system and that served the detention, exploitation, and murder of Jews.

General editor: Alexandra Lohse

Volume VII: Camps for Foreign Forced Laborers

This volume consists of two parts. A print volume addresses the basic features of the Nazi forced labor program. It examines the various state and private institutions operating forced labor camps and documents the experiences and fates of different inmate groups over the course of the war.

General editor: Alexandra Lohse Editor: Henning Borggräfe

A database currently under development will function as an electronic companion to the print volume. Upon completion, it will document basic features of the individual forced labor camps (estimated total more than 35,000) and serve as a research tool into this vast camp network.

Thanking our Donors

The Museum would like to thank the following donors, without whose support the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos could not exist:

  • The Helen Bader Foundation

  • The Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft

  • The Benjamin and Seema Pulier Charitable Foundation, Inc.

  • Diane and Howard Wohl

  • The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous

With assistance from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany Supported by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future and by the German Federal Ministry of Finance