[[quoteright:300:[[Film/{{Stalag17}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/StalagSeventeen_6303.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300: You ''REALLY'' don't want to stay at this camp.]]

During major wars, armies will often capture numerous enemy soldiers. These enemies must be kept somewhere, preferably some place where they can not return to their fellows. This usually results in a Prisoner of War Camp. As soldiers on the battlefield, these two groups are enemies. For whatever reason, a group of soldiers has been captured by the very guys they were trying to kill just the day before. The camp guards will not like the prisoners because those same prisoners may have been responsible for the death and destruction visited upon their homeland. Typically, the guards will not be nice about the way they treat their prisoners.

Since governments don't like having large numbers of 'potential enemies' running around loose in their back yard, something must be done about them. The answer to this problem is an internment camp. It's basically a [=PoW=] camp for civilians. Since they are almost always run by the military, we can consider them to be closely related, and therefore included. The concentration camp[[labelnote:*]]Strictly speaking, a concentration camp is just an internment or [=PoW=] camp with a very high population density, and is not necessarily any worse than either. Camps with the express purpose of murdering the inmates are more correctly termed "death camps". However the two terms have become largely interchangeable after Nazi Germany tried to hide the truth about their death camps by calling them "concentration camps". The concentration camps Nazi Germany operated before WWII were not made for and did not employ mass killings, though they still used harsh labour for the sole purpose of torturing the prisoners. British concentration camps operated during the Second Boer War were not death camps either, but concentrating lots of people and then neglecting their sanitation led to a horrific death toll.[[/labelnote]] is the evil twin to the internment camp. Its main objective is to contain political prisoners for either extermination or to keep them handily available for slave labor. While detainees at an internment camp are generally not mistreated, detainees at a concentration camp can expect nothing but constant pain and hunger or instant death at any moment. Any way you look at it, you don't want to be a resident of any of these. Unless you're a guard.

As a SubTrope of {{Prison}}, most PrisonTropes will apply. This camp can readily turn into a HellHolePrison. If it is sufficiently escape-resistant, it can become TheAlcatraz. You will always see plenty of heavily armed guards, unfriendly guard dogs, guard towers with [[MoreDakka machine guns]] and spotlights. Expect miles of barbed wire, often in tangled loops. Sometimes, the wire can be connected to high voltage for added deterrent to escape attempts. Frequently, you will see someone working on a GreatEscape (indeed, in RealLife, trying to escape when the opportunity presents itself is often expected or required of military personnel). Many MilitaryAndWarfareTropes will be seen as well.

* Important to remember: [[UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar the Geneva Conventions]] are treaties that set standards for how [=PoW=]s are supposed to be treated. They haven't always been honored -- both in fiction and in RealLife. Camp guards have figured that it's NotCheatingUnlessYouGetCaught -- but if someone does get caught, it's SeriousBusiness of the "kiss your military career goodbye" variety. Similarly, members of most militaries are taught that the first duty of any prisoner of war is to attempt to escape their captors and return to their unit. The more successful escape artists have figured that it's NotCheatingUnlessYouGetCaught -- but if someone does get caught, it's SeriousBusiness of the "kiss your freedom or even your life goodbye" variety.

The [=PoW=] Camp as a setting is a major fixture of many war films as well as many TV Series. In many {{FPS}} games, the [=PC=] must rescue a fellow soldier from a [=PoW=] Camp.

'''Administrivia/NoRealLifeExamplesPlease''' There's too many specific ones to count. [[noreallife]]

!!Works Featuring the [=PoW=] Camp:


* Several issues of ''ComicBook/JonahHex'' deal with Jonah's experiences in the Union prison camp of Fort Charlotte during the UsefulNotes/AmericanCivilWar.
* One that the Grey Smurfs set up for the captured Smurfs in ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' story "The Smurf Threat".
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW'' continuity has one for each faction, Styx for the Decepticons and Garrus-9 for the Autobots. Both are targeted by the opposing sides for prison breaks.
* ''ComicBook/JonSableFreelance'': In "M.I.A", Jon goes back to Vietnam in search of missing P.O.W.s and breaks into a camp still holding American servicemen.

* ''Film/AnotherTimeAnotherPlace'' has an offscreen [=PoW=] camp that houses some of the prisoners working in the village.
* ''Film/TheBridgeOnTheRiverKwai'': Captured British soldiers are forced to build a railroad bridge by a Japanese officer.
* ''Film/TheBurmeseHarp'' is about a Japanese unit held in a [=PoW=] camp in Burma after the end of the war.
* The British war film ''Film/TheCaptiveHeart'' (1946), starring Creator/MichaelRedgrave and his [[RealLifeRelative real life wife]], Rachel Kempson, is about a Czech soldier who escapes from a German concentration camp and steals the identity of a dead British soldier to mingle in with British [=PoWs=].
* ''The Colditz Story'', from 1955, is about British, Dutch, French and Polish officers in the infamous Colditz Castle Camp. The stroy is not centered around one escape attempt, but ''several'', reflecting the many schemes which were hatched in the real-life Colditz Camp.
* ''Film/FateOfAMan'' (aka ''Destiny of a Man'') is a film about a Russian soldier's experiences in various German [=PoW=] camps--and it is a very dark story, since Germans were far more brutal to their Russian prisoners in World War II than they were to prisoners of the western Allies.
* ''Film/TheGrandIllusion'': A 1937 film set during UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne.
* ''Film/TheGreatEscape'' Dramatized account of a major breakout by mostly British prisoners from a German [=PoW=] Camp.
* ''Film/TheGreatRaid'': A 2005 dramatization of the 1945 liberation of Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines.
* In ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'', Blondie and Tuco end up in a Union [=PoW=] camp after their scavenging of Confederate uniforms backfires on them. Angel Eyes is running the show. It's nasty.
* ''Escape to Victory'' (''Victory'' in North America). Most of the movie takes place in a UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Nazi [=PoW=] camp, where a group of Allied prisoners train to play in a soccer game vs. a German team.
* ''Film/HartsWar'': Immediately after the start of the Battle Of The Bulge, Lt. Hart is sent to a camp where there is an escape attempt brewing. One prisoner murders another to keep him silent and Hart must conduct the court martial.
** Interestingly, the adjoining camp filled with Polish [=PoW=]s is run more like a concentration camp, complete with prisoners not being fed and being forced to work in a nearby munitions factory.
* ''Film/MerryChristmasMrLawrence'': A 1983 film set in a Japanese camp in Java. Stars Music/DavidBowie.
* ''Film/RedTails'': [[spoiler: Junior]] is forced to bail out and ends up being the only black prisoner in a camp full of embittered white officers. [[spoiler: He is warmly welcomed by the other prisoners, because there's no way a black prisoner could be a [[TheMole German spy]].]]
* ''Film/{{Stalag 17}}'' After a failed escape attempt, American prisoners suspect a traitor tipped off the Germans.
* ''The Wooden Horse'', made in 1950, probably the UrExample of the British [=PoW=] Movie.
* ''Film/TwoArabianKnights'' (1927) is a comedy featuring two American doughboys who escape from a German [=PoW=] camp before getting up to other amusing hijinks.
* ''Very Important Person'' is a comedy about a scientist vital to British aircraft research who is shot down on a ride-along on a bombing raid. Imprisoned according to his false identity as a Naval officer, he initially riles up his fellow inmates but when his true identity is revealed, they agree to help him escape.
* ''Film/{{Unbroken}}'': After crashing at sea, US Olympian turned military aviator Louis Zamperini finds himself in a liferaft before being captured by the Japanese Navy.

* ''Literature/{{Andersonville}}'' is a novel by [=MacKinlay=] Kantor concerning the Andersonville prison.
* The beta plot of Creator/TomClancy's ''[[Literature/JackRyan Without Remorse]]'' is about a group of American prisoners in a secret [=PoW=] camp in North Vietnam during UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, and an attempt to rescue them. The prisoners are kept in isolation from each other; however, they are not tortured, because the GRU (Russian military intelligence) officer there believes that the best way to get information from them is to get the prisoners to let down their guard by treating the prisoners well and acting friendly.
* ''Literature/DaysOfInfamy'' is a two-novel AlternateHistory of the initial stages of the Pacific War by Harry Turtledove. It features Japanese internment camps in Hawaii, which, as you might guess, are as brutal as their Asian counterparts in China and Burma.
* ''Red Cap'' is a HistoricalFiction ChildrensLiterature novel by G. Clifton Wisler. The main character is a drummer boy that ends up in the Andersonville prison camp.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'':
** In the ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'', [[BigBad Ysanne Isard's]] prison Lusankya is part this, part prison for political dissidents, and part ManchurianAgent factory.
** ''Literature/TheCourtshipOfPrincessLeia'' features a large political camp on the planet Dathomir. It was taken over by the native Force-sensitive Nightsisters, prompting the Emperor to put the world under interdiction - there was only room for one Dark Side-using megalomaniac in his galaxy, thank you very much.
** A chapter in one of the later ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' books takes place inside a camp administered by the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Yuuzhan Vong]].
* Several characters in Harry Turtledove's various series spend time in one [=PoW=] camp or another. Often, the viewpoint character from a losing side (Japanese in End of The Beginning, Confederate States Army in Literature/{{Timeline 191}}, and Gyongosian in the Derlavian War) reflects with dismay on what the luxurious prison camp shows about the relative wealth of the two sides.
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' has these in the background. The events of the first book are used as a pre-text for ''not'' sending the lead character to one of these when she is captured by the enemy while much latter on having to build one on ''very'' short notice after defeating and capturing a numerically superior force mostly intact is something of a minor headache for Michelle Henke.
* 'King Rat' by James Clavell tells the story of a WWII Japanese camp for multi-national [=POWs=]. The story focuses around the elaborate schemes and followings of one of the American [=POWs=].

* The 1996 TV Movie ''Andersonville'', directed by John Frankenheimer, tells the story of the notorious Confederate prison camp.
* British series ''Series/{{Colditz}}'' is about the German [=PoW=] camp of the same name. It is partly based on the film ''The Colditz Story'' which itself was based on a book by that name.
* ''Series/HogansHeroes'' Comic misadventures of prisoners trying to disrupt the German war effort from right under their noses.
* The ''Series/RippingYarns'' episode "Escape from Stalag Luft 112B" was set in a [=PoW=] camp.
* The season 7 ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode "Orpheus" showed a camp run by the System Lord Ba'al.
* "The Great Potty Escape" was ''Series/MichaelBentinesPottyTime'''s comedic take on ''Series/{{Colditz}}''.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': In "King of the Fleas", paraplegic Vietnam veteran Roscoe Martin tells Harm about his experiences as a [=PoW=] and the DespairEventHorizon it was. It all comes down to that he’s seeking legal representation for a fateful stabbing he had committed the same day on a Vietnamese immigrant, who actually turned out to have been the camp commander.
* ‘’Series/AufWiedersehenPet’’ parodies films like ‘’TheGreatEscape’’ in the first series, and a later series contains various ShoutOuts to ‘’BridgeOnTheRiverKwai’’
* One episode of ''Series/TheYoungIndianaJonesChronicles'' deals with Indy being imprisoned in a Colditz-like castle with Charles de Gaulle, and their attempts to escape.

* In general, it's pretty common in strategy video games to have [=PoW=] on some maps that you can rescue to add to your army. [[FridgeLogic Why their weapons were stored close enough to the [=PoW=] Camp that they could retrieve them is a question you should not ask.]]
* A DummiedOut feature in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' allowed the basic infantry for each side to subdue enemy infantry, which was then ready to be picked up by a [=PoW=] truck to a faction specific building (the [=PoW=] Camp for the USA, the Prison for the GLA, the Propaganda Center for China), which would charge a faction specific power.
* In ''VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar'', one of the missions revolves around storming an enemy [=PoW=] camp to free your soldiers in the middle of a snowstorm.
* More than one game in the ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' franchise have featured [=PoW=] camps.
** ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyWWII'', Zussman is captured and Red fights like hell to go after him, even disobeying direct orders and passing up a ticket home (due to his wounds). Zussman manages to hide his dogs tags in the snow, hiding that he is Jewish and is sent to a camp to work.
* The aptly named cult classic 6th generation game ''VideoGame/PrisonerOfWar'' was set in a [=PoW=] camp, and cast the player as an American airman with the objective of escaping.
* A level in ''VideoGame/RogueSquadron II: Rogue Leader'' involves a raid on an Imperial [=PoW=] camp near Kessel.
* ''VideoGame/{{Commandos}}'' has one that you need to rescue all of the prisoners from, as well as two of your squad. This is a ShoutOut to ''Film/TheGreatEscape'', complete with a prisoner named [[Creator/SteveMcQueenActor McQueen]] [[spoiler: as well as a [[TheMole mole]].]] ''Commandos 2: Men Of Courage'' follows suit with a camp [[Film/TheBridgeOnTheRiverKwai on the river Kwai]] complete with a prisoner named [[Creator/AlecGuinness Colonel Guinness]] and later in the game, Rescuing prisoners from Colditz Castle is a primary objective.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series' backstory, an [[OppressiveStatesOfAmerica increasingly-fascist]] United States of America erected a great many of these during its final war with China, to contain Chinese-Americans suspected of being foreign agents. You can visit a few of them in the games: Turtledove Detainment Camp in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'''s ''Point Lookout'' expansion is located in a miserable swamp that was simultaneously used as a prison and toxic dumping site, while in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas: Old World Blues'', the Bit Empty's "Little Yangtze" internment camp supplied human subjects for the research center's twisted experiments. These camps are still populated, 200 years later, by prisoners [[OurGhoulsAreDifferent ghoulified]] by the nuclear war.
* The classic arcade game Rush'n Attack has you trying to "Rescue the prisoners of war"[[note]]Although, the Japanese version (Green Beret) says "Rescue the captives".[[/note]]
* The aptly named ''POW: Prisoner of War'' from Creator/{{SNK}} starts in one.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Wolfenstein}}'' franchise, the titular castle is a [=PoW=] camp for "special" prisoners. Escaping from the castle forms at least part of the plotlines of ''VideoGame/CastleWolfenstein'',[[note]]the entire game[[/note]] ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D'',[[note]]the first episode[[/note]] ''VideoGame/ReturnToCastleWolfenstein'',[[note]]the first few levels[[/note]] and ''VideoGame/WolfensteinTheOldBlood''.[[note]]all of Part One[[/note]]

* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** In the "Puppet Master" episode, Hama tells the gang how she, and the other water benders from the Southern Water Tribe, were rounded up and taken prisoner by the Fire Nation. There, they were kept in cages, with their hands shackled, so they couldn't bend. The warden even pumped in dry air as an added measure. And while they were given food and water, it was only enough to keep them alive, but just barely.
** An earlier episode had a similar camp for earth benders. They were kept on an island build with steel on the sea specifically to prevent an escape through bending powers, which prompted the Gang to get creative.
* In the SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Kuvira puts all non-Earthbenders, as well as bandits and those that disagree with her, into "reeducation camps".
* ''WesternAnimation/ChickenRun'', being a spoof of WWII prison escape movies, depicts Tweedy's chicken farm as this.

!! Works featuring the Concentration / Internment Camp:

* ''Film/EmpireOfTheSun'' tells the story of Jamie "Jim" Graham, a young boy who goes from living in a wealthy British family in Shanghai, to becoming a prisoner in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center, a Japanese run internment camp in occupied China, during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* ''Film/EscapeFromSobibor'' is a 1987 prison escape/war/Holocaust movie set in 1943, in the Sobibor extermination camp, where inmates who have been selectively spared for their skills in manufacturing material goods plot their escape from the camp, in part utilizing the skills they possess.
* The end of ''The Hiding Place'' was set in a concentration camp.
* ''Film/SchindlersList'' shows glimpses of the horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
* ''Film/LifeIsBeautiful''. A man and his son are sent to a concentration camp, the father acting like it's all a game to hide the truth from his son.
* ''Film/HaroldAndKumarEscapeFromGuantanamoBay'' They aren't inmates, though.
* ''Film/{{Hunger}}'' is about Bobby Sands' hunger strike in protest of human rights violations against Irish internees by the British government during UsefulNotes/TheTroubles.
* ''Film/TheGreyZone'' takes place at Auschwitz, just prior to and during the revolt by the camp's sonderkommando.

* The end of ''The Hiding Place'' was set in a concentration camp.
* ''Journey To Topaz'' follows one Japanese American family following the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo attack on Pearl Harbor]] as they're sent to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shops_at_Tanforan#Tanforan_Assembly_Center Tanforan]] and then to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topaz_War_Relocation_Center Topaz]].
* ''Literature/TheBoyInTheStripedPyjamas'' is a heavily fictionalised (and probably inaccurate) child's eye view of Auschwitz with a terrible twist ending.
* In ''[[Literature/ParableOfTheSower Parable of the Talents]]'', which takes place TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture, the protagonist Lauren Olamina and her followers are placed in a "reeducation camp" by the Christian America religious sect because of their belief in Lauren's new religion/{{cult}} Earthseed.

* ''Series/BandOfBrothers'': Easy Company found and liberated a concentration camp in one episode.
* ''Series/{{Tenko}}'' is a BBC TV Series about an internment camp for women in the far east during the second world war.

* Music/{{Rush}}: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ivnvKIu4mg "Red Sector A"]] seems to be a concentration camp run by non-humans.

* ''Allegience'', a stage musical starring Creator/GeorgeTakei, is about Japanese-Americans who were forced to live in Internment Camps during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.

* The human ranches in ''[[VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia Tales of Symphonia]]'' are basically concentration camps by another name.
* [[VillainProtagonist You]] are running one in ''VideoGame/KZManager''.
* Nimdok's scenario in ''VideoGame/IHaveNoMouthAndIMustScream'' is set in a concentration camp (specifically Auschwitz), although any explicit references to the Nazis and the Jews are obfuscated by AM until the very end of the scenario.
* It is probably no surprise that the Creator/{{SNK}} game ''P.O.W: Prisoners of War'' features an escape from a POW camp as its first mission. Interestingly, this is actually a ploy; your character is actually an agent who was ordered to let himself be captured in order to infiltrate the enemy's base in order to assassinate their officers and destroy their armor and aircraft assets.
* ''VideoGame/WolfensteinTheNewOrder'' has BJ infiltrate a concentration camp in order to locate and free a valuable prisoner.
* ''VideoGame/DetroitBecomeHuman'' has a chapter that involves [[spoiler:Kara]] being sent to the Android version of one of these.