antisemitism: Opposition to and hatred of Jews.
Aryan: 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: /oushvits/ 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. Auschwitz I: The main camp. Auschwitz II (Also known as Birkenau): The extermination center. Auschwitz III (Monowitz): The I.G. Farben labor camp, also known as Buna. In addition, there were numerous subsidiary camps.
Chelmno: Nazi extermination camp in western Poland. Established in 1941. The first of the Nazi extermination camps. Approximately 150,000 Jews were murdered there between late 1941 and 1944, although not continuously. In comparison to the other extermination camps, Chelmno was technologically primitive, employing carbon monoxide gas vans as the main method of killing. The Nazis dismantled the camp in late 1944 and early 1945.
Der Stürmer: Antisemitic newspaper founded by Hitler's friend, Julius Streicher, which reached a peak circulation of 500,000 in 1927.
Einsatzgruppen: /ainzatsgroopen/ Mobile 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.
Final Solution: A Nazi euphemism for the plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
Gestapo: /geshtahpoh/ Acronym for Geheime Staatspolizei /gehaime shtahtspolitsai/, meaning Secret State Police. Prior to 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.
Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945): Reich Propaganda Director of the NSDAP and Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.
Heydrich, Reinhard: (1904-1942) Former naval officer who joined the SS in 1932, after his dismissal from the Navy. He headed the SS Security Service (SD), a Nazi party intelligence agency. In 1933-1934, he became head of the political police (Gestapo) and later of the criminal police (Kripo). He combined Gestapo and Kripointo the Security Police (SIPO).In 1939, Heydrich combined the SD and SIPO into the Reich Security Main Office. He organized the Einsatzgruppen which systematically murdered Jews in occupied Russia during 1941-1942. In 1941, he was asked by Göring to implement a "Final Solution to the Jewish Question." During the same year he was appointed protector of Bohemia and Moravia. In January 1942, he presided over the Wannsee Conference, an meeting to coordinate the "Final Solution." On May 29, 1942, he was assassinated by Czech partisans who parachuted in from England.
Himmler, Heinrich: 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.
Kristallnacht: /kristahlnakht/ Also 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.
Majdanek: Nazi 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. Majdonek was liberated by the Red Army in July 1944, and a memorial was opened there in November of that year.
Mein Kampf: /main kahmpf/ This autobiographical book (My Struggle) by Hitler was written while he was imprisoned in the Landsberg fortress after the "Beer-Hall Putsch" in 1923. In this book, Hitler propounds his ideas, beliefs, and plans for the future of Germany. Everything, including his foreign policy, is permeated by his "racial ideology." The Germans, belonging to the "superior" Aryan race, have a right to "living space" (Lebensraum) in the East, which is inhabited by the "inferior" Slavs. Throughout, he accuses Jews of being the source of all evil, equating them with Bolshevism and, at the same time, with international capitalism. Unfortunately, those people who read the book (except for his admirers) did not take it seriously but considered it the ravings of a maniac.
The Nazi (National Socialist German Workers') Party: The Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei /natsional sotsialistishe doiche abaita patai/ or NSDAP was 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: Hitler passed legislation in 1935 to strip Jews of their civil rights as German citizens and separated them from Germans legally, socially, and politically.
SA (Sturmabteilung /shtoormabtailung/ or Storm Troopers): Also 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.
SD (Sicherheitsdienst /zikherhaitsdeenst/ or Security Service): The SS security and intelligence service established in 1931 under Reinhard Heydrich.
SS (Schutzstaffel /shoots shtahfl/ or Protection Squad): Guard 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 concentrationa camps and occupied Europe.
Sobibór: Extermination camp located in the Lublin district of eastern Poland. Sobibór opened in May 1942 and closed the day after a rebellion by its Jewish prisoners on October 14, 1943. At least 250,000 Jews were killed there.
Treblinka: Extermination camp on the Bug River in the General Government. 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.