Liberators during the Holocaust

Allied soldiers freed the prisoners of the concentration camps. Soviet soldiers were the first to liberate concentration camp prisoners in the final stages of the war. British, Canadian, American, and French troops also freed prisoners from the camps.


Allies: During World War II, the group of nations including the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, and the Free French, who joined in the war against Germany and other Axis countries.

Auschwitz - Birkenau /oushvits - biakenow/ : 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.

Bergen-Belsen /beagen belzen/ : Nazi 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.

Bystander: One who is present at some event without participating in it.

Collaboration: Cooperation between citizens of a country and its occupiers.

Concentration camp (Konzentrationslager abbreviated as KZ)/kontsentrationslahga/: 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.

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 was 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 death camp.

Eisenhower, Dwight D.: As Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, General Eisenhower commanded all Allied forces in Europe beginning in 1942.

Final Solution (The final solution to the Jewish question in Europe): A Nazi euphemism for the plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

Führer /fewra/ : Leader. 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.

Genocide: The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, cultural, or religious group.

Holocaust: Derived from the Greek holokaustonwhich 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.

International Military Tribunal: The United States, Great Britain, France, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics charted this court to prosecute Nazi war criminals.

Nuremberg Trials: Trials of twenty-two major Nazi figures in Nuremberg, Germany in 1945 and 1946 before the International Military Tribunal.

Perpetrators: Those who do something that is morally wrong or criminal.

Revisionists: Those who deny that the Holocaust ever happened.

Stalin, Joseph: Secretary General of the Communist party 1922-1953 and Premier of the USSR from 1941-1953 during the Second World War. Life under Stalin's brutally oppressive regime was hard and often dangerous.

Display vocabulary list on a separate page suitable for printing. NOTE: You will have to use your browser's back button to return to this page.

Discussion Questions/Research Topics

Lesson Plans from the Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust

ACTIVITY Deliberate Acts of Kindness. Students recognize and honor the kind acts of Holocaust liberators and rescuers, cultivate their ability to do kind acts, and realize the importance of those acts to others.

ACTIVITY Holocaust Rescue. This activity from The Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust will help students understand the perspective of a survivor and/or liberator.

ACTIVITY Human Nature. Students discuss a list of questions related to human nature.

ACTIVITY Liberation and Return to Life. This activity is designed to familiarize students with survivors and their lives after liberation.

ACTIVITY The Lily Cupboard. This activity is based on The Lily Cupboard by Shulamith Ley Oppenheim.

Testimony: A Lesson in Creating Poetry. Students create poetry by reformatting Holocaust testimony.

Florida Resource Manual on Holocaust Education

The following materials from the State of Florida Resource Manual on Holocaust Education, Grades 9-12 will enrich your class's study of this topic. This manual was distributed to all Florida high schools in the spring of 1999 and should be available in your school resource center.

Vocabulary Unit 9 pages 6-8
Content Overview Unit 9 pages 9-11
Suggested Activities Unit 9 pages 28-29
An American Soldier Writes Home Unit 9 pages 33-34
Report On German Murder Mills Unit 9 pages 35-44
TestimoniesUnit 9 pages 73-90

| Victims | Perpetrators | Bystanders | Resisters | Rescuers | Liberators | Survivors | Children |

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 1997-2013.

Timeline People Arts Activities Resources