Kapo (concentration camp)

A kapo or prisoner functionary (German: Funktionshäftling, see § Etymology) was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the SS guards to supervise forced labor or carry out administrative tasks. Also called "prisoner self-administration", the prisoner functionary system minimized costs by allowing camps to function with fewer SS personnel. The system was designed to turn victim against victim, as the prisoner functionaries were pitted against their fellow prisoners in order to maintain the favor of their SS overseers. If they were derelict, they would be returned to the status of ordinary prisoners and be subject to other kapos. Many prisoner functionaries were recruited from the ranks of violent criminal gangs rather than from the more numerous political, religious, and racial prisoners; such criminal convicts were known for their brutality toward other prisoners. This brutality was tolerated by the SS and was an integral part of the camp system. Prisoner functionaries were spared physical abuse and hard labor, provided they performed their duties to the satisfaction of the SS functionaries. They also had access to certain privileges, such as civilian clothes and a private room. While the Germans commonly called them kapos, the official government term for prisoner functionaries was Funktionshäftling.

Words

This table shows the example usage of word lists for keywords extraction from the text above.

WordWord FrequencyNumber of ArticlesRelevance
prisoner859880.252
functionaries51850.238
kapo3490.161
ss584940.149
funktionshäftling230.133

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more. Got it.