1942, Gypsy men wore a black triangle; they were arrested and imprisoned
for being asocial because they didn't have a permanent address, or for
being "work-shy" because they were not employed. Every male
citizen in Nazi Germany, who was capable of working, was required to
take a job and they were not allowed to quit their job without
permission. Gypsy women were arrested under the asocial category if they
were prostitutes. In 1942, Gypsy families were rounded up and sent to
Auschwitz where they were kept separately in a "family camp."
After the Gypsy camp was closed, some of the prisoners were sent to
Buchenwald; others were murdered in the gas chamber.
The second row on the chart
shows the same colors with a matching bar over the triangle. The bar
denoted a "second-timer" or a prisoner who had been released
and was then arrested again for a second offense. These prisoners were
isolated from the general camp population and were not allowed
privileges. Their work assignments were much more difficult. Many of the
prisoners, including some Jews in the early days at Dachau, were
released after they had been "rehabilitated."
The black circles under the
badges in the third row denote prisoners who were assigned to the penal
colony. They were given the most difficult work assignments, usually in
a rock quarry or gravel pit. Many of the camp locations were chosen
because they were near a quarry which could furnish building materials
for the new buildings Hitler was planning for Berlin and Linz, Austria,
his former home town.
The fourth row shows yellow
triangles with each of the regular triangle colors placed on the top,
forming a six-pointed star. These badges were worn by the Jews and
showed their classification as political prisoners, criminals, foreign
forced laborers, homosexuals or asocials.
No Jews were sent to any of the
concentration camps just for being Jewish until November 1938 when
30,000 German Jews were arrested and approximately10,000 were sent to
each of the major camps: Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen. Most of
them were released within a few weeks but only if they signed over all
their property to the Nazis and agreed to leave Germany within six
months. Many of them ended up going to Shanghai because they could not
get visas to any country, and during the war, they were interned by the
- In 1942, all the Jews in
Germany and the Nazi occupied countries were systematically rounded
up and sent to the death camps in Poland.
The next row shows a yellow
triangle with another yellow triangle with a black border on top of it.
This designated a Jew who was arrested for race defilement or for having
sex with a non-Jew. All prisoners at Dachau and all the other Nazi camps
were assigned a number and at roll call, they had to answer when their
number was called. The number was written on a white rectangle which
each prisoner had to wear on his uniform.
A combination of a red triangle
over a yellow triangle meant a Jewish political prisoner. The black dot
below it meant that the Jewish prisoner had been assigned to the
A red triangle pointing upward
designated a non-Jewish German political prisoner. The letter P on a red
triangle pointing downward designated a Polish political prisoner. A
prison uniform is shown with the placement of the badge on either the
shirt or the pants. Prisoners were required to wear at least one part of
the striped uniform. Photographs displayed in the Dachau museum, that
were taken in 1938, show most of the prisoners wearing a regular shirt
and striped prison pants with their prison number worn on their pant's
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