Visits to Nazi Concentration Camps between 1933 and 1945

Abgeschlossenes Projekt


Visits to Nazi concentration camps are frequently described in the reports of survivors and in historical news articles. The groups of visitors included a wide range of actors including domestic and international journalists, politicians, artists, and aid agencies.

This dissertation investigates the wide range of visits and their specific characteristics as well as the motivations for the visits across the period between 1933 and 1945, and looks into the consequences for prisoners, the SS, and the visitors themselves. The study particularly analyzes the visits as a staging and self-portrayal of the Nazi regime, and looks into the question of what the visits meant for the public perception of the camps. The project focuses here on visits to the camps that were erected before the war began, but uses examples from Auschwitz as well. Following a comparative approach, the project investigates the commonalities and differences between the camps and how they were “sold” in the domestic and international public eye.

The sources include the reports of former prisoners, newspaper archives, contemporary reports of visitor groups on their visits, SS documents, and documents from the post-war legal prosecution of Nazi crimes.

Publications within the project

Kerstin Schwenke

Öffentlichkeit und Inszenierung.

Publications of the Center for Holocaust Studies

Berlin 2021


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