The names on the obelisk are of the six death camps established by the Nazis. There were also other camps, used as holding camps or work camps, where many thousands of people died as a result of the conditions in which they were kept. Many others died on death marches or on trains while travelling between camps and ghettos. Nevertheless, the death camps and the gas chambers remain the most potent symbols of the cold calculation and industrial-scale planning behind the genocide.

The soil underneath the memorial contains soil from each of the six death camps.