Classification Systems In Modern Concentration Camps

Identifying Prisoners: The Marking SystemÂ

The inverted triangle was used to identify the reason for incarceration. The color of the triangle determined the category of prisoner:

* Red – Political prisoners, including Communists, Social Democrats, trade unionists, and other political opponents of Nazism.
* Pink – Homosexuals.
* Green – Criminals.
* Blue – Emigrants (including Jews who had left Germany).
* Purple – Jehovah’s Witnesses.
* Black – “Asocials” (including Roma/Sinti, vagrants, alcoholics, beggars, prostitutes and others).
* Brown – “Work-shy” or habitual criminals.
* Yellow – Jews.

The yellow star was a badge that Jews were required to wear in public at all times. It was first introduced in Nazi Germany on September 1, 1941, and was later extended to other German-occupied countries. The star was meant to identify Jews as targets of persecution and discrimination. It consisted of a six-pointed star with the word “Jude” (German for “Jew”) written in the center. Jews were required to sew the stars onto their outer garments, usually on the left side of their chests.

Contributor(s): United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

Subject(s): Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) — Personal narratives; Jews — Persecutions — Europe; World War, 1939-1945 — Concentration camps — Europe; World War, 1939-1945 — Personal narratives, Jewish

Publisher: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Publication Date: 1993

Description: This collection contains over 1,000 personal testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust. The testimonies were collected by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and are available online in both audio and video formats. The testimonies cover a wide range of topics including experiences in concentration camps, life before the war, and post-war life.

Victims of Persecution

The Nazis also targeted Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and the disabled. Jews were subjected to a range of discriminatory measures, including the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which stripped them of their German citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having sexual relations with persons of “German or related blood.” The Nazis also implemented a policy of forced relocation and deportation of Jews to ghettos and concentration camps. Roma were also subjected to discrimination, including forced relocation, internment in concentration camps, and extermination. The disabled were viewed as an impediment to the Nazi goal of creating a master race; they were forcibly sterilized and euthanized in large numbers.