A group of 26 nations led by Great Britain, the United States, and the
Soviet Union that opposed Germany, Italy, and Japan (known as the Axis
partners) in World War II.
to and discrimination against Jews.
term for peoples speaking the languages of Europe and India. In Nazi
racial theory, a person of pure German "blood." The term
"non-Aryan" was used to designate Jews, part-Jews and others
of supposedly inferior racial stock.
Auschwitz - Birkenau: A
complex consisting of concentration, extermination, and labor camps in
Upper Silesia. It was established in 1940 as a concentration camp and
included a killing center in 1942.
extermination camp in eastern Poland. Erected in 1942. Approximately
550,000 Jews were murdered there in 1942 and 1943. The Nazis
dismantled the camp in the fall of 1943.
concentration camp in northwestern Germany. Erected in 1943. Thousands
of Jews, political prisoners, and POWs were killed there. Liberated by
British troops in April 1945, although many of the remaining prisoners
died of typhus after liberation.
Blood Libel: An
allegation, recurring during the thirteenth through sixteenth
centuries, that Jews were killing Christian children to use their
blood for the ritual of making unleavened bread (matzah). A red mold
which occasionally appeared on the bread started this myth.
camp in North Central Germany.
who is present at an event without participating in it.
(prime) minister of Germany.
Nazi death camp in western Poland where more than 150,000 documented
Jews, about 5,000 Gypsies, and several hundred Poles and Soviet
prisoners of war were killed between December 1941 and March 1943 and
between April and August of 1944.
between citizens of a country and its occupiers.
Concentration camp: Concentration
camps were prisons used without regard to accepted norms of arrest and
detention. They were an essential part of Nazi systematic oppression.
Initially (1933-36), they were used primarily for political prisoners.
Later (1936-42), concentration camps were expanded and non-political
prisoners--Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and Poles--were also
incarcerated. In the last period of the Nazi regime (1942-45),
prisoners of concentration camps were forced to work in the armament
industry, as more and more Germans were fighting in the war. Living
conditions varied considerably from camp to camp and over time. The
worst conditions took place from 1936-42, especially after the war
broke out. Death, disease, starvation, crowded and unsanitary
conditions, and torture were a daily part of concentration camps.
A furnace installed and used in the death camps to cremate and dispose
of bodies after death by gassing, starvation, disease, or torture.
concentration camp in southern Germany. Erected in 1933, this was the
first Nazi concentration camp. Used mainly to incarcerate German
political prisoners until late 1938, whereupon large numbers of Jews,
Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and other supposed enemies
of the state and anti-social elements were sent as well. Nazi doctors
and scientists used many prisoners at Dachau as guinea pigs for
experiments. Dachau was liberated by American troops in April 1945.
Death camp: Nazi
extermination centers where Jews and other victims were brought to be
killed as part of Hitler's Final Solution.
Death marches: Forced
marches of prisoners over long distances and under intolerable
conditions were another way victims of the Third Reich were killed. The
prisoners, guarded heavily, were treated brutally and many died from
mistreatment or were shot. Prisoners were transferred from one ghetto
or concentration camp to another ghetto or concentration camp or to a
Degenerate art: Art
which did not fit the Nazi ideal.
Nazi policy of denying Jews basic civil rights such as practicing
religion , education, and adequate housing.
removal of Jews in Nazi-occupied countries from their homes.
Eichmann, Adolf (1906 - 1962): SS
Lieutenant Colonel and head of the Gestapo department dealing with
units of the Security Police and SS Security Service that followed the
German armies to Poland in 1939 and to the Soviet Union in June, 1941.
Their charge was to kill all Jews as well as communist functionaries,
the handicapped, institutionalized psychiatric patients, Gypsies, and
others considered undesirable by the Nazi state. They were supported
by units of the uniformed German Order Police and often used
auxiliaries (Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian volunteers).
The victims were executed by mass shootings and buried in unmarked
mass graves; later, the bodies were dug up and burned to cover
evidence of what had occurred.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.: As
Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, General
Eisenhower commanded all Allied forces in Europe beginning in 1942.
euphemism for the deliberate killings of institutionalized physically,
mentally, and emotionally handicapped people. The euthanasia program
began in 1939, with German non-Jews as the first victims. The program
was later extended to Jews.
social and political ideology with the primary guiding principle that
the state or nation is the highest priority, rather than personal or
Final Solution (The final solution to
the Jewish question in Europe): A
Nazi euphemism for the plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
Frank, Anne (1929-1945):
Born in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1933, she moved with her family to
Amsterdam, Holland. On July 6, 1942, they went into hiding and, helped
by Miep Gies, remained in hiding until their arrest by Gestapo on
August 4, 1944. They were held at the Westerbrook transit camp from
August 8, 1944, until September 3, 1944, when they were deported to
Auschwitz-Birkenau. Anne's mother, Edith Frank, perished there on
January 6, 1945. Anne and her sister Margot were transferred to
Bergen-Belsen in late October, 1944, and they both died there of
typhus in March, 1945. Anne's father, Otto, survived and oversaw the
publication of Anne's diary.
Adolf Hitler's title in Nazi Germany.
Gas chambers: Large
chambers in which people were executed by poison gas. These were built
and used in Nazi death camps.
deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political,
cultural, or religious group.
A person who is not Jewish.
German Workers' Party: As
the precursor to the Nazi Party, Hitler joined the right-wing party in
1919. The party espoused national pride, militarism, a commitment to
the superiority of Germans, and a racially "pure" Germany.
for Geheime Staatspolizei, meaning Secret State Police. Before the
outbreak of war, the Gestapo used brutal methods to investigate and
suppress resistance to Nazi rule within Germany. After 1939, the
Gestapo expanded its operations into Nazi-occupied Europe.
Nazis revived the medieval term ghetto to describe their device of
concentration and control, the compulsory "Jewish Quarter."
Ghettos were usually established in the poor sections of a city, where
most of the Jews from the city and surrounding areas were subsequently
forced to reside. Often surrounded by barbed wire or walls, the
ghettos were sealed. Established mostly in eastern Europe (e.g., Lodz,
Warsaw, Vilna, Riga, or Minsk), the ghettos were characterized by
overcrowding, malnutrition, and heavy labor. All were eventually
dissolved, and the Jews murdered.
Goebbels, Paul Joseph (1897-1945): Reich
Propaganda Director of the NSDAP and Reich Minister of Public
Enlightenment and Propaganda.
Goering, Hermann (1893-1945): Leading
Nazi promoted to Reichsmarshal in 1940.
Popular term for Roma and Sinti, nomadic people believed to have come
from northwest India. Traveling mostly in small caravans, Gypsies
first appeared in western Europe in the 1400s and eventually spread to
every country of Europe. Prejudices toward Gypsies were and continue
to be widespread. Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 Gypsies are
believed to have perished in the Nazi concentration camps, killing
centers, and in Einsatzgruppen and other shootings. As with the Jews,
many were also killed by local, native populations of many eastern
Hess, Rudolf (1894-1987):
The mentally unstable number three man in Hitler's Germany. He is best
known for a surprise flight to Scotland in 1941. He was sentenced to
life in prison at Nuremberg. He died in jail in 1987.
Himmler, Heinrich (1900-1945): As
head of the SS and the secret police, Himmler had control over the
vast network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps, the
Einsatzgruppen, and the Gestapo. Himmler committed suicide in 1945,
after his arrest.
Hitler, Adolf (1889-1945): Nazi
party leader, 1919-1945. German Chancellor, 1933-1945. Called Führer,
or supreme leader, by the Nazis.
A Nazi youth auxiliary group established in 1926. It expanded during
the Third Reich. Membership was compulsory after 1939.
from the Greek holokauston, which meant a sacrifice totally
burned by fire. Today, the term refers to the systematic planned
extermination of about six million European Jews and millions of
others by the Nazis between 1933-1945.
IG Farben: A German company that made
Zyklon-B gas used in the gas chambers. The company also used slave laborers
(83,000 at the height of production) at Auschwitz.
International Military Tribunal: The
United States, Great Britain, France, and the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics charted this court to prosecute Nazi war
Religious sect that originated in the United States and had about
20,000 members in Germany in 1933. Witnesses, whose religious beliefs
did not allow them to swear allegiance to any worldly power, were
persecuted as "enemies of the state." About 10,000 Witnesses
from Germany and other countries were imprisoned in concentration
camps. Of these about 2,500 died.
monotheistic religion of the Jews, based on the precepts of the Old
Testament and the teachings and commentaries of the Rabbis as found
chiefly in the Talmud.
"Free of Jews."
of Jewish "elders" established on Nazi orders in an occupied
"Cleansed of Jews," denoting areas where all Jews had been
either murdered or deported.
concentration camp inmate appointed by the SS to be in charge of a
known as "The Night of the Broken Glass." On this night, November 9,
1938, almost 200 synagogues were destroyed, over 8,000 Jewish shops
were sacked and looted, and tens of thousands of Jews were removed to
concentration camps. This pogrom received its name because of the
great value of glass that was smashed during this anti-Jewish riot.
Riots took place throughout Germany and Austria on that night.
In 1940, before the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis seriously
considered moving all Jews under their authority to the island of
Madagascar, a French possession off the east coast of Africa.
camp and killing center opened for men and women near Lublin in
eastern Poland in late 1941. At first a labor camp for Poles and a POW
camp for Russians, it was classified as a concentration camp in April
1943. Like Auschwitz, it was also a major killing center. Majdanek was
liberated by the Red Army in July 1944, and a memorial was opened
there in November of that year.
camp for men, opened in August 1938, near Linz in northern Austria,
Mauthausen was classified by the SS as a camp of utmost severity.
Conditions there were brutal, even by concentration camp standards.
Nearly 125,000 prisoners of various nationalities were either worked
or tortured to death at the camp before liberating American troops
arrived in May 1945.
Mein Kampf: Meaning
"My Struggle," it was the ideological base for the Nazi
Party's racist beliefs and murderous practices. Published in 1925,
this work detailed Hitler's radical ideas of German nationalism,
antisemitism, anti-Bolshevism, and Social Darwinism which advocated
survival of the fittest.
Mengele, Josef (1911-1979): Senior
SS physician at Auschwitz-Birkenau from 1943-44. One of the physicians
who carried out the "selections" of prisoners upon arrival
at camp. He also carried out cruel experiments on prisoners.
Nazi (National Socialist German
Workers') Party: Founded in
Germany on January 5, 1919. It was characterized by a centralist and
authoritarian structure. Its platform was based on militaristic,
racial, antisemitic and nationalistic policies. Nazi Party membership
and political power grew dramatically in the 1930s, partly based on
political propaganda, mass rallies and demonstrations.
Nuremberg Laws: The
Nuremberg Laws were announced by Hitler at the Nuremberg Party
conference, defining "Jew" and systematizing and regulating
discrimination and persecution. The "Reich Citizenship Law"
deprived all Jews of their civil rights, and the "Law for the
Protection of German Blood and German Honor" made marriages and
extra-marital sexual relationships between Jews and Germans punishable
Nuremberg Trials: Trials
of twenty-two major Nazi figures in Nuremberg, Germany in 1945 and
1946 before the International Military Tribunal.
who do something that is morally wrong or criminal.
The Nazi concentration camps developed a system of badges to be worn
by inmates depending on why they were imprisoned. Those convicted of
sexual deviance, primarily homosexuality, were required to wear a pink
triangle. Jews were required to wear the yellow Star of David. Purple
designated Jehovah's Witnesses, red for political criminals, black for
asocials, including the Roma, and green for criminals.
Concentration camp near Kracow, Poland opened in 1942.
organized and often officially encouraged massacre of or attack on
Jews. The word is derived from two Russian words that mean
judgment or opinion formed before the facts are known. In most cases,
these opinions are founded on suspicion, intolerance, and the
irrational hatred of other races, religions, creeds, or nationalities.
or partly false information used by a government or political party
intended to sway the opinions of the population.
Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
A major piece of anti-Semitic propaganda, compiled at the turn of the
century by members of the Russian Secret Police. Essentially adapted
from a nineteenth century French polemical satire directed against
Emperor Napoleon III, substituting Jewish leaders, the Protocols
maintained that Jews were plotting world dominion by setting Christian
against Christian, corrupting Christian morals and attempting to
destroy the economic and political viability of the West. It gained
great popularity after World War I and was translated into many
languages, encouraging antisemitism in France, Germany, Great Britain,
and the United States. Long repudiated as an absurd and hateful lie,
the book currently has been reprinted and is widely distributed by
Neo-Nazis and others who are committed to the destruction of the State
Prejudice or discrimination based on the belief that race is the
primary factor determining human traits and abilities. Racism includes
the belief that genetic or inherited differences produce the inherent
superiority or inferiority of one race over another. In the name of
protecting their race from "contamination," some racists
justify the domination and destruction of races they consider to be
either superior or inferior. Institutional racism is racial prejudice
supported by institutional power and authority used to the advantage
of one race over others.
word for empire.
Prejudice or discrimination against one or all members of a particular
religious group based on negative perceptions of their religious
beliefs and practices or on negative group stereotypes.
euphemism for the deportation of prisoners to killing centers in
who deny that the Holocaust ever happened.
Righteous Gentiles: Non-Jewish
people who, during the Holocaust, risked their lives to save Jewish
people from Nazi persecution. Today, a field of trees planted in their
honor at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel,
commemorates their courage and compassion.
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano: Thirty-second
president of the U.S., serving from 1933-1945.
known as "Brown Shirts," they were the Nazi party's main
instrument for undermining democracy and facilitating Adolf Hitler's
rise to power. The SA was the predominant terrorizing arm of the Nazi
party from 1923 until "The Night of the Long Knives" in
1934. They continued to exist throughout the Third Reich, but were of
lesser political significance after 1934.
camp outside of Berlin opened in 1936.
or group of people blamed for crimes committed by others.
Sennesh, Hannah: A
Palestinian Jew of Hungarian descent who fought as a partisan against
the Nazis. She was captured at the close of the war and assassinated
in Budapest by the Nazis.
Hebrew word meaning "catastrophe," denoting the catastrophic
destruction of European Jewry during World War II. The term is used in
Israel, and the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) has designated an
official day, called Yom ha-Shoah, as a day of commemorating the Shoah
slave labor units in extermination camps that removed the bodies of
those gassed for cremation or burial.
detachments originally formed in 1925 as Hitler's personal guard. From
1929, under Himmler, the SS developed into the most powerful
affiliated organization of the Nazi party. In mid-1934, they
established control of the police and security systems, forming the
basis of the Nazi police state and the major instrument of racial
terror in the concentration camps and occupied Europe.
Star of David: A
six-pointed star which is a symbol of Judaism. During the Holocaust,
Jews throughout Europe were required to wear Stars of David on their
sleeves or fronts and backs of their shirts and jackets.
generalizations about a group based on hearsay, opinions, and
distorted, preconceived ideas.
camp founded in 1939 in what is now northern Poland.
Refers to a person who has survived the Holocaust.
ancient symbol appropriated by the Nazis as their emblem.
house of worship, similar to a church.
ghetto located in Czechoslovakia. Created in late 1941 as a
"model Jewish settlement" to deceive the outside world,
including International Red Cross investigators, as to the treatment
of the Jews. However, conditions in Terezín were difficult, and most
Jews held there were later killed in death camps. Theresienstadt is
the German name for the town; Terezín is the Czech name.
Third Reich: Meaning
"third regime or empire," the Nazi designation of Germany
and its regime from 1933-45. Historically, the First Reich was the
medieval Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806. The Second Reich
included the German Empire from 1871-1918.
Treaty of Versailles: Germany
and the Allies signed a peace treaty at the end of World War I. The
United States, Great Britain, France, and Italy negotiated the treaty
at the Peace Conference held in Versaille beginning on January 18,
1919. The German Republic government which replaced the imperial
administration was excluded from the deliberations. The treaty created
the Covenant of the League of Nations, outlined Germany's disarmament,
exacted massive reparation payments from Germany, and forced Germany
to cede large tracts of territory to various European nation-states.
camp on the Bug River in northeast Poland. Opened in July 1942,
it was the largest of the three Operation Reinhard killing centers.
Between 700,000 and 900,000 persons were killed there. A revolt by the
inmates on August 2, 1943, destroyed most of the camp, and it was
closed in November 1943.
in Warsaw where freight trains were loaded and unloaded. During the
deportation from the Warsaw ghetto, it was used as an assembly point
where Jews were loaded onto cattle cars to be taken to Treblinka. It
literally means "transfer point."
group acting in secrecy to oppose government, or, during war, to
resist occupying enemy forces.
concept of Volk (people, nation, or race) has been an underlying idea
in German history since the early nineteenth century. Inherent in the
name was a feeling of superiority of German culture and the idea of a
universal mission for the German people.
and transit camp in the Netherlands opened in January 1943.
units of the SS.
Wallenberg, Raoul: A
Swedish diplomat who deliberately stationed himself in Hungary during
the war to save Hungarian Jews from their deaths.
Wannsee Conference: On
January 20, 1942 on a lake near Berlin the SS official, Reinhard
Heydrich, helped present and coordinate the Final Solution.
Warsaw ghetto: Established
in November 1940, it was surrounded by wall and contained nearly
500,000 Jews. About 45,000 Jews died there in 1941 alone, as a result
of overcrowding, hard labor, lack of sanitation, insufficient food,
starvation, and disease. During 1942, most of the ghetto residents
were deported to Treblinka, leaving about 60,000 Jews in the ghetto. A
revolt took place in April 1943 when the Germans, commanded by General
Jürgen Stroop, attempted to raze the ghetto and deport the remaining
inhabitants to Treblinka. The defense forces, commanded by Mordecai
Anielewicz, included all Jewish political parties. The bitter fighting
lasted twenty-eight days and ended with the destruction of the ghetto.
The six-pointed Star of David was the Jewish symbol that the Nazis
forced Jews above the age of six to wear as a mark of shame and to
make Jews visible. In the Netherlands the star carried the word Jood,
meaning "Jew," in the middle. From May 1942 until she went
into hiding, Anne Frank wore a yellow star, separating her from the
rest of the Dutch population.
language that combines elements of German and Hebrew.
and cultural movement calling for the return of the Jewish people to
their Biblical home.
cyanide) Pesticide used in some of the gas chambers at the death
Material from A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
, Florida Center for
Instructional Technology, University of South Florida. (http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/
Click here for a printable
version of this glossary.