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What is a Kapo?

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night08 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 26, 2008 at 7:30 AM via web

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What is a Kapo?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 26, 2008 at 10:33 AM (Answer #1)

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A Kapo was a concentration camp prisoner who cooperated with the Nazis to act as a police officer inside the camp. Even though they were prisoners themselves, they were given more food and were not tortured like the other people in the camps. So perhaps to keep their "privileged" positions, Kapos were notoriously brutal and often would beat the other prisoners for the smallest reason. Wiesel's father was beaten just because he asked permission to go to the toilet. Not all Kapos were evil, however. Wiesel tells of one who was executed because he had been hiding weapons for a prison resistance movement.  

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dkgarran | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 16, 2009 at 5:50 AM (Answer #2)

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A kapo was a prisoner in the concentration camps who was given some menial administrative tasks. Some took advantage of their power and brutalized their fellow prisoners as badly as the Nazis did. However, some used their power to spare others or ease their suffering. Failure to do what the Nazis asked of them often resulted in their deaths.

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