Like Auschwitz, Majdanek was both a labor and camp and a killing center. Situated on the southern perimeter of the historic Polish city of Lublin, Majdanek was the only killing center in the General Government that was not devoted primarily to the murder of Jews. Though thousands of Jews died there, Soviet POWs and political prisoners were its chief victims. Majdanek was equipped with several small gas chambers, but many of the approximately 350,000 who were killed died of starvation, exposure, disease, or were shot. In early November 1943, in reprisal for resistance actions in the ghettos and attempted escapes from Sobibor and Treblinka, the Nazis decided to expedite the murder of Jews in the Lublin district. In Aktion Erntefest (Operation Harvest Festival) more than 40,000 Jews were shot on November 3, nearly half of them at Majdanek.
Many barracks and other structures still stand at Majdanek. In some respects, it has changed less radically than any of the other camps since the end of WWII. It is also noteworthy for its imposing domed ash monument near the crematory, and its haunting proximity to the outskirts of Lublin.