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Internment centre established by a government to confine political prisoners or members of national or minority groups for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment. The prisoners are usually selected by executive decree or military order. Camps are usually built to house many people, typically in highly crowded conditions. Countries that have used such camps include Britain during the South African War, the Soviet Union (seeGulag), the U.S. (seeManzanar Relocation Center), and Japan, which interned Dutch civilians in the Dutch East Indies during World War II. A variation, called a reeducation camp, was used in Vietnam after 1975 and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Most notorious were the death camps of Nazi Germany, including Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Treblinka.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on concentration camp, visit Britannica.com.