The first concentration camps in Germany were established soon after Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor in January 1933. The Storm Troopers (SA) and the police established concentration camps beginning in February 1933. These camps were set up to handle the masses of people arrested as alleged political opponents. They were established on the local level throughout Germany. Gradually, most of these early camps were disbanded and replaced by centrally organized concentration camps under the exclusive jurisdiction of the SS (Schutzstaffel; the elite guard of the Nazi state). Dachau was the only concentration camp opened in 1933 that remained in operation until 1945, and was the model for the Nazi concentration camp system that replaced the earlier camps.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum