As Allied troops moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Nazi Germany, they began to encounter tens of thousands of concentration camp prisoners. Many of these prisoners had survived forced marches into the interior of Germany from camps in occupied Poland. These prisoners were suffering from starvation and disease.
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The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
In Europe, antisemitism, nationalism, ethnic hatred, anti-communism, and opportunism induced citizens of nations Germany occupied to collaborate with the Nazi regime in the annihilation of the European Jews and with other Nazi racial policies.
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany established about 20,000 camps to imprison its many millions of victims. These camps were used for a range of purposes including forced-labor camps, transit camps which served as temporary way stations, and killing centers built primarily or exclusively for mass murder.