The Nazis were not the first to throw political suspects and other civilians into camps. But although Nazi camps were largely home-grown, and had relatively little in common with foreign camps, Nazi propaganda suggested otherwise. By pointing to other countries, it tried to suggest that there was nothing unusual about the German camps. In a speech in the Reichstag on 30 January 1941, Adolf Hitler himself claimed that the Nazis had only copied from earlier British camps. In reality, the Nazi concentration camps were unique: there was no Auschwitz elsewhere in the world.

002 – Hitler speaks about the concentration camps, 1941

Concentration camps were not invented in Germany. The English invented such institutions [during the South African War] as a means of breaking the resolve of other nations, of wearing down and crushing their national resistance, so that these nations would finally accept the yoke of British democracy.

Source: M. Domarus, Hitler, vol. II/2 (Wiesbaden, 1973), p. 1658

Translation: Lesley Sharpe and Jeremy Noakes