Installation of the concentration camps

The „Reichstag Fire Decree” provided the judicial basis for the „legal” persecution of opponents of the regime. In the course of time the term „protective custody“ (Schutzhaft) caught on as a synonym for the fight against and elimination of the opposition. Three features characterised „protective custody”: no warrant or judicial order was required, there was no right of appeal, and the arrest went into effect for an indefinite period of time.

Above all, functionaries, deputies and supporters of the labour parties like the communist KPD or the social democratic SPD were taken into „protective custody”. At this time early concentration camps were installed throughout Germany.

After the Reichstag elections on 5 March 1933, the SA became the most important player in the suppression of political opponents. The SA troops of the Nazi Party acted with extreme brutality. Besides the early concentration camps, more than 220 other torture sites and improvised detention centres were set up throughout the city.