Clothes as Expression of Action in Former Concentration CampsReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Historical Archaeology

pp 1–19

First Online: 24 July 2017


The prisoners of the former concentrations camps were supposed to be deprived of their socialization by brutal dehumanization. Among other things, the use of blue-and-white striped prison clothes was meant to reinforce a homogeneous and uniform prisoner society. However, studies from a sociological perspective have shown that prisoners’ societies were indeed diverse and structured, allowing individuals to develop strategies of survival within their – albeit limited – scope for action. In this article, prisoners’ possibilities to act are discussed using the example of clothing – an omnipresent and visible medium. Various changes and alterations preserved in prisoner clothing from former concentration camps reveal open or secretive acts of individuals and thus provide insights into the different levels of action inside the camps.

KeywordsPrisoner clothes Shoes Social structures Mauthausen Sachsenhausen  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Claudia Theune


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