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n. (context historical English) A prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was given food and privileges in return for supervising other prisoners doing forced labor.


Kapo can refer to one of the following:

  • Kapo (mythology), a Hawaiian goddess or god
  • Olivier Kapo, a French football player
  • Mallica Reynolds, a Jamaican artist that went by the name Kapo
  • A German colloquial job title, designating a foreman, especially on construction sites
  • Kapo (concentration camp), a privileged prisoner who served as a barracks supervisor/warder or led work details in a Nazi concentration camp
  • Kapò, a 1960 film about a concentration camp inmate, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
  • Kapo (2000 film), an Israeli documentary about the Jewish kapos who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II
  • Kapo!, a studio album by the neo-folk band Death In June
  • Kazan Aircraft Production Association, a Russian aircraft manufacturer
  • KAPO or KaPo, an acronym for Kaitsepolitsei, the state security agency of Estonia
  • KAPO, abbreviated from , Swiss cantonal police
Kapo (concentration camp)

A kapo or prisoner functionary (, see ) was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the SS guards to supervise forced labor or carry out administrative tasks. Also called "prisoner self-administration", the prisoner functionary system minimized costs by allowing camps to function with fewer SS personnel. The system was designed to turn victim against victim, as the prisoner functionaries were pitted against their fellow prisoners in order to maintain the favor of their SS guards. If they were derelict, they would be returned to the status of ordinary prisoners and be subject to other kapos. Many prisoner functionaries were recruited from the ranks of violent criminal gangs rather than from the more numerous political, religious and racial prisoners; those were known for their brutality toward other prisoners. This brutality was tolerated by the SS and was an integral part of the camp system.

Prisoner functionaries were spared physical abuse and hard labor, provided they performed their duties to the satisfaction of the SS guards. They also had access to certain privileges, such as civilian clothes and a private room. While the Germans commonly called them kapos, the official government term for prisoner functionaries was Funktionshäftling.

Kapo (mythology)

In Hawaiian mythology, Kapo is a goddess of fertility, sorcery and dark powers who can assume any shape she wills. She is the mother of Laka, although some versions have them as the same goddess. She is the sister of Kāne Milohai, Kamohoalii, Pele, Nāmaka and Hiiaka.

Kapo also had a detachable vagina, which she once used as a decoy to aid her sister Pele to flee the overzealous Kamapua'a.


Kapò is a 1960 Italian film about the Holocaust directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. It was nominated for the Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film. It was an Italian-French co-production filmed in Yugoslavia.

Kapo (2000 film)

Kapo ( 2000) is an Israeli documentary film about the Jewish kapos who collaborated with the Nazis in the concentration camps during World War II. The film was written, directed, and produced by Dan Setton, with Tor Ben Mayor and Danny Paran in conjunction with Spiegel TV of Germany and Rai 3 of Italy. It was the first Israeli film to win an International Emmy Award, which it received in the category of Best Documentary.

Usage examples of "kapo".

These were Jewish Kapos, who got better food than 32 THE ODESSA FILE the other internees for doing the job they did.

Nevertheless, on April 1, 1942, 1 went to the chief of the Kapos and volunteered, thus becoming an outcast from the company of my fellow Jews.

I heard somebody approach behind me, and the other Kapos at the tailboard straightened to attention, scraping their caps off.

He nodded to the other Kapos to carry on, and stared at me with those pale blue eyes.