Prejudice against Jews as a religious, social or racial minority; dislike
or fear of Jews; discrimination against or persecution of Jews.
A term used by the Nazis to describe a superior racial grouping, specifically
of German people with blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes.
The process of excluding Jews from the economic life in Germany and Nazi-controlled
countries during WW2 by taking over their businesses and professional firms.
A complex of concentration and death camps situated at Oswiecim in south-western
Poland. The main camp had an infamous motto which
greeted all who entered: Arbeit macht frei
("Freedom through Work").
The Number 2 (but largest) camp in the Auschwitz complex, which comprised
the killing centres. It had four gas chambers and crematoria set up for factory-like
extermination. From early 1944, a railway line brought victims right into
its centre. Most of the Jews and Gypsies who were murdered 'at Auschwitz'
died in this camp.
A ravine near Kiev where in September 1941, with the support of Ukrainian
militia men, the Nazis shot over 54 000 Jews and buried them in one mass grave.
On May 10 1933 in Berlin thousands of students gathered and put to the torch
approximately 20 000 books written by Jews and other 'undesirables'. The scene
was repeated in other cities. The books destroyed were written by such distinguished
writers as Jack London, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, H. G. Wells, Sigmund Freud,
Albert Einstein, Andre Gide, Emile Zola and Erich Maria Remarque.
Concentration camp located near Weimar in central Germany. One of the three
first camps opened by the Nazis in 1933. Thousands
of Jews perished or were imprisoned there.
Term generally used to describe the permanent camps which the Nazis established
in Germany and later in occupied Europe for the detention
of political opponents and of racial and social 'undesirables'
under conditions which they were unlikely to survive.
Five camps were designated as extermination or death
A furnace installed and used in the death camps to cremate and dispose of
the bodies of people who had been killed by gassing, starvation, disease or
The Night of Broken Glass. See Kristallnacht.
Concentration camp located near Munich in southern Germany. One of the three
first camps established by the Nazis in 1933. In Dachau thousands of Jews
were imprisoned and murdered.
Vernichtungslager - Camps equipped with extermination
facilities such as gas chambers or mobile gas vans,
plus crematoria for disposing of bodies. Many 'death'
camps had multiple functions including the concentration
of Jews and other prisoners, labour and extermination
through starvation, disease and executions.
In the freezing winter of January 1945 Himmler ordered the evacuation of
all camps about to fall into Allied hands. Of the 700 000 recorded inmates
left in camps at that time, anyone who could move was forced to march. One
third of them lost their lives from starvation, exhaustion, exposure, disease
and summary shooting. About half of those who perished in the Death Marches
The transportation, disguised as 'resettlement', of Jews from Nazi-occupied
countries to closed ghettos, transit camps, labour and/or death camps.
Complete and total rule by an individual or political party over a country,
as of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis over Germany and the nations it occupied
A distinction made between people because of race, colour or religion. The
treatment of those people as inferiors.
A refugee in flight from terror or oppression in his/her own country. Refugees
suffer from all the legal, economic, political and social disabilities of
stateless persons. After the Holocaust, D.P. camps were set up in Central
Europe as temporary assembly centres. They accommodated many of the Jews who
survived the Death Marches as well as others who had been liberated from the
camps. They also housed East European workers who had been taken to work in
forced labour camps in Germany.
Operational task forces of the Security Police of
the Nazi Party. Functioning as killing units, they
followed directly behind the advance units of the
Germany military forces as they marched through the
Soviet-controlled areas of Europe. Once German Army
units had occupied an area, the Einsatzgruppen
rounded up the Jews, marched them (men, women and
children) to the outskirts of their city or town,
forced them to dig their own mass graves, lined them
up and either shot them individually in the head or
mowed them down with machine gunfire. The Einsatzgruppen
are estimated to have killed 2 million of the 6 million
Jews murdered in the Nazi destruction of European
So-called 'mercy' killing of those people the Nazis deemed unworthy for life,
undesirable to German society. These included the physically and intellectually
disabled, the aged and infirm and many others regarded as 'racially valueless'.
More than 100 000 such people were killed by lethal injections, gassing or
other methods. During the 1930s the euthanasia centres were essentially the
first laboratories for Nazi mass murder and by the 1940s they were training
centres for the personnel of death camps. The program was brought to a halt
in the early 1940s due to pressure exerted in large part by the German Church.
In 1938 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt convened a meeting of 32 nations
to discuss the European refugee problem, i.e.: the
large number of Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany
and throughout Europe. Each country's delegates expressed
concern, but together did nothing to absorb any significant
number of the refugees.
The term used by the Nazis to disguise the murder
of the Jews. Entlösung in German.
This word was invented in 1944 and literally relates to 'the systematic killing
and annihilation of a whole people or nation and its culture'. This was the
essence of Nazi policy towards the Jews. Although there is debate about exact
definitions of 'genocide', genocidal acts are unmistakable.
Acronym in German for Geheime Staatspolizei ("Secret State Police").
A branch of the German police which was used to control
the general population and eliminate political opposition
to the Nazi regime.
A section of a town or city where Jews were segregated from the general population,
and which they were forbidden to leave on pain of
death. The term was probably first used in Venice,
Italy, where in 1516 Jews were confined to an area
called the Geto Nuovo. Ghettos were reinvented
by the Nazis and in 1939 Reinhard Heydrich, Chief
of Security Police, established them in cities throughout
Poland. Ghetto inhabitants were crowded into a small
area with little food and a minimum of hygiene facilities.
Even in these terrible conditions, however, Jews managed
to provide education for their children and organise
The word 'holocaust' in ancient Greek meant 'burnt offering' or 'to burn
whole'. It was used soon after World War 2 to describe
the Nazi program for the wholesale physical annihilation
of European Jewry. Many people prefer the use of the
Hebrew word Shoah to specifically denote this
Nazi effort from other instances of genocide against
various peoples through history.
German word for "Jews".
Overseer in charge of work details or other activities or sections of concentration
camps. Kapos were selected from among the camp prisoners, usually from any
criminal or otherwise violent element.
German for "ID documents".
German for "Night of the Broken Glass". The name given to the violent pogroms
(terror attacks) carried out on November 9 - 10 1938
in Germany and Austria against hundreds of synagogues
and Jewish-owned stores. 101 synagogues were destroyed
in the 15 hours of Kristallnacht, as well as
7500 Jewish shops and businesses. The Nazis forced
the Jewish communities to pay heavy fines to repair
the damage they had allegedly 'provoked'.
German for "living space". Term popular from before World War 1 and used
by Hitler to refer to the expansion of Germany's borders and its dominion
over Europe and the Soviet Union.
Term used to designate Germans as a race 'superior'
to all others - Herrenvolk. See also Aryan.
German for "My Struggle". Adolf Hitler's antisemitic,
anti-Russian, autobiographical and political testament.
The first of two volumes was written in the Landsberg
prison where he served an eight-month sentence for
his part in an unsuccessful political coup in 1923.
In Mein Kampf Hitler outlined his mass-psychological
political techniques and the racial doctrine of Aryan-German
superiority over the 'sub-human' Jews.
A person who had one Jewish parent or grandparent , as defined in the 1935
On September 29 - 30 1938 Hitler met in Munich with the leaders of Great
Britain, France and Italy. In an effort to appease
him, the parties agreed to his demands for the dismantling
and partial annexation of Czechoslovakia. Neville
Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, returned
to London stating that he had achieved "peace in our
||Acronym for the "National
Socialist German Workers Party" or Nationalsozialistische
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (N.S.A.D.P). Hitler joined
this party on September 12 1919 and became its leader
in 1921. The party was banned in 1923, but was re-established
in February 1925 and took control of Germany in 1933.
After Germany's defeat in World War 2, the Nazi Party
was declared illegal by the Allied powers.
Political movement represented by the Nazi Party.
- Historic town where enormous Nazi rallies were
held in 1935.
- The town where anti-Jewish laws were announced
by the Nazis in 1935.
- The place where in 1945 - 1946 an international
tribunal held the trials of Nazis accused of war
Laws enacted on September 15 1935, designed to isolate the Jews politically
and cause their "social death" (Goldhagen, 1996). The "Reich Citizens Law"
declared that only persons of "German blood" were Reich citizens, while those
of "impure blood", such as Jews, were no longer citizens. Revoking German
Jews' citizenship removed all their political and civil rights. The "Law for
the Protection of German Blood and Honour" forbade marriage and sexual intercourse
between Jews and the "bearers of German blood" and also forbade German women
under the age of forty-five from working in Jewish homes.
Underground fighters against Nazi occupation forces, who mainly operated
in the forests of White Russia, Poland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece and France.
Jewish fighters either belonged to the general partisan movement or, where
excluded due to antisemitism, formed their own units.
Harsh ill-treatment of a person or people on the grounds of their religious,
cultural or political beliefs.
An organised massacre or attack on the Jews, often a spontaneous outburst.
Term used in Eastern Europe, from the Russian: "like thunder", "devastation"'.
Systematic spreading of ideas, usually to persuade people to think negatively
about some person, cause or movement.
A judgement or opinion formed before the facts are known (to 'pre-judge').
A preconceived idea, usually unfavourable. Intolerance or hatred of other
races and religions.
Judgement or assessment of a person primarily on
the basis of their ethnic descent. Racist attitudes
and behaviour can often be seen between people of
different skin colours. Nazi Germany was a consciously
and deliberately racist society, regarding ethnic
Germans as superior to all other ethnic groups. This
was the Nazi doctrine of Herrenvolk, "the Master
Race". (See Master
Race and Aryan.)
The Security Service (intelligence branch) of the SS, formed in 1927 and
headed by Reinhard Heydrich. An elite group, the SD
were responsible for the security of Hitler, the Nazi
hierarchy and the Third Reich in general. During the
war, the SD reported that it had helped the SS and
other German forces such as the Einsatzgruppen
clear ghettos in Eastern Europe to the extent that
by December 1942, 80% of the 3 million Polish Jews
had been deported to death camps.
This elite guard was originally set up as Hitler's
personal protection service. Under Himmler, the organisation
expanded enormously, from 280 men in 1929 to
240 000 in 1939. Their activities and powers included
the administration of the concentration camps and
the suppression of Jewish uprisings such as in the
A person, group or object that is assigned the blame for the mistakes or
crimes of others.
The physical isolation or separation of a group or groups, especially racial
groups; and their exclusion from society.
Hebrew word which specifically denotes the Nazi effort to annihilate the
Jewish people, as distinct from other instances of genocide against other
peoples throughout history.
Death camp in the Lublin region of Poland, erected in 1942. Its prisoners
were Jews from Poland, the U.S.S.R., Austria, Czechoslovakia, France and Holland.
The SS gassed some 250 000 people to death here. On October 14 1943 about
150 inmates staged an uprising which was quickly suppressed.
German for "Special Detachments" of Jewish prisoners in the death camps who
were assigned to deal with the corpses. Sonderkommandos
had to extract gold teeth from the corpses and transfer
the bodies from the gas chambers to crematoria ovens,
among other horrendous tasks. They sometimes found
themselves handling the bodies of their own family
members and friends.
A fixed image or idea of a person or group; to assign the characteristics
observed in a few members to a whole group.
Called Hakenkreuz in German. An ancient symbol used in India, Persia,
Greece and elsewhere as a religious emblem to ward
off evil spirits. By using it as their official symbol,
the Nazis corrupted the holy meaning of this insignia.
The "Third Empire", the name of Hitler's administration
of Germany 1933 - 1945. The Nazis regarded their regime
as the successor to two previous empires: the Holy
Roman Empire (962 - 1806) and the Second German Reich,
founded by Otto von Bismarck (1871 - 1918). It appears
that Hitler adopted the name Third Reich from the
title of a book written in 1923 by the German nationalist
Moeller van den Bruck, entitled Das Dritte Reich.
Hitler boasted that his Reich was the most glorious
to date, and would last 1000 years.
A government or doctrine in which one political party or group has complete
control, by force, over all social, economic, political and military activities.
Nazi death camp in Poland, where from 1940 to 1943, 750 000 persons, mostly
Jews from Warsaw and its environs, were gassed to
death. Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, aware that that
they would be sent to certain death at Treblinka,
were spurred to rebel against German troops and police
in the famous Warsaw Ghetto Revolt of April 1943.
On August 2 1943 700 prisoners revolted and about
150 - 200 of them escaped. They were all recaptured.
At the end of World War 1 in Versailles, France, the triumphant Allies concluded
the terms of a peace treaty that did more to prolong a spirit of war against
Germany than to promote peace in Europe. The treaty saddled Germany with the
impossible economic burden of reconstructing France, as well as its own demolished
economy. Germany reluctantly accepted the treaty and signed what became known
as the "guilt clause", taking responsibility for starting World War 1. Humiliating
an already defeated nation, the treaty weakened the foundations of the Weimar
Republic and polarised German politics into the Communist Left and the Nationalist
Right. Hitler and the Nazis rejected both the treaty and the Allies who had
authored it, with tremendous support from the German public.
A meeting of high-level Nazis and government officials held in January 1942
in the Berlin suburb of Grossen-Wannsee, where they formulated the practical
details of their decision for the"Final Solution": the plan to annihilate
the Jews of Europe.
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all the ghettos
in wartime Europe. (See Ghetto.)
At its peak, it held 360 000 Jews, crammed into an
area of about 7 square kilometres. On November 15
1940 the SS sealed the ghetto, isolating its inhabitants
from the outside world. Thousands of Jews died of
starvation and disease. By mid-summer 1942 mass deportations
to the gas chambers at Treblinka had begun and by
January 1943 only 60 000 Jews were left in the ghetto.
The ghetto's (illegal) Jewish Fighting Organisation,
using guns that it had purchased from the Polish underground
and smuggled in, staged an uprising. For three weeks,
(April - May 1943), these starved, untrained and practically
unarmed Jews held off the superbly-trained and armed
Nazi enemy, inflicting heavy losses. Eventually, with
increased armaments, the Germans liquidated the final
remnants of Jewish resistance. Fewer than 100 people
survived the ghetto and some of the few who escaped
joined the partisans in the forests to continue the
struggle against the Nazis.
Poison gas used in the gas chambers of death camps.
Chief of Subsection IV B-4 of the Reich Security Office, Eichmann was responsible
for organising the deportation of millions of European Jews. He reported to
Himmler in August 1944 that as a result of his policies, approximately 4 million
Jews had died in the death camps and another 2 million had been killed by
mobile units. In May 1960 the Israel Secret Service smuggled him from his
hiding-place in Argentina to Israel where he was tried and found guilty of
crimes against the Jewish people and all humanity. In May 1962 he was executed.
Reich Minister of the Nazi Party's Department of Propaganda. He controlled
all newspapers and radio broadcasts throughout Germany and Occupied Europe.
Number two Nazi after Hitler. Military and economic chief of the Third Reich.
Hitler named Goering as his successor, but later accused him of treason.
Early supporter and confidante of Hitler, at one point number three Nazi
after Hitler and Goering. Assisted Hitler with the
writing of Mein Kampf. On May 10 1941 Hess
piloted his own plane and parachuted into Scotland
in an unsuccessful attempt "to stop the war" by persuading
England to join Hitler in the fight against the Soviet
Head of the Reich Security Main Office. At the Wannsee Conference in 1942,
Heydrich was chosen to administer the Final Solution. He was assassinated
by three members of the Czech Resistance in Prague on May 29 1942. The Nazis
responded by destroying the entire Czech village of Lidice.
Reichsfuhrer of the SS, chief of the Gestapo and a fanatical racist,
Himmler rose to be arguably the most ruthless man
in Germany behind Hitler. He devised the most systematic
and 'efficient' methods of mass murder.
Leader of the German military in World War 1, he became President of the
Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1920s. In an atmosphere of economic and
political turmoil, Hindenburg eventually used the Weimar constitution to appoint
Hitler Chancellor of Germany.
Fuhrer ("leader") and Chancellor
of the Third Reich from 1933 until his death in 1945.
He built a German regime unparalleled as an instrument
of tyranny, oppression and ruin. His simultaneous
(and to him, equally important) campaigns to annihilate
the Jewish people and conquer Europe brought Western
civilisation to the brink of destruction.
Fascist dictator of Italy 1922 - 1943.
Brutal, sadistic editor of the militant antisemitic
and pornographic Nazi newspaper Der Stuermer