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.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Click the speaker button to hear the term pronounced.
Anschluss /ahn shlus/ : The annexation of Austria by Germany on March 13, 1938.
Antisemitism: Opposition to and discrimination against Jews.
Aryan: A term for peoples speaking the language 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.
Assimilation: The process of becoming incorporated into mainstream society. Strict observance of Jewish laws and customs pertaining to dress, food, and religious holidays tends to keep Jewish people separate and distinct from the culture of the country within which they are living. Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86), a German Jew, was one of the key people working for the assimilation of the Jews in the German cultural community.
Auschwitz - Birkenau /oushvits - bia ke now/ : 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.
Axis: Germany, Italy, and Japan, signatories to a pact signed in Berlin on September 27, 1940, to divide the world into their spheres of respective political interest. They were later joined by Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.
Babi Yar /bahbi yahr/ : A ravine in Kiev, where tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews were systematically massacred.
Bar-Mitzvah /bahr mits va/ /Bat-Mitzvah /baht mits va/ : A term referring to a religious "coming of age" in Judaism, when a Jewish boy or girl turns thirteen. On this day, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah leads the congregation in the service and rightfully enters the congregation as an "equal" member.
Beer Hall Putsch /pootch/ : On November 8, 1923, Hitler, with the help of SA troops and German World War I hero General Erich Ludendorff, launched a failed coup attempt in Bavaria at a meeting of Bavarian officials in a beer hall.
Belzec /bel zets/ : Nazi 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.
Bergen-Belsen /bea gen bel zen/ : 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.
Blitzkrieg /blits kreeg/ : Meaning "lightning war," Hitler's offensive tactic using a combination of armored attack and air assault.
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.
B'richa: The organized and illegal mass movement of Jews throughout Europe following World War II.
British White Paper of 1939: British policy of restricting immigration of Jews to Palestine.
Brüning, Heinrich /broo ning hain rikh/ : Appointed by President von Hindenburg in 1930, he was the first chancellor under the new presidential system which ruled by emergency decree rather than laws passed by the Reichstag.
Buchenwald /boo khen vald/ : Concentration camp in North Central Germany.
Bund /boond/ : The Jewish Socialist Party founded in 1897. It aspired to equal rights for the Jewish population. During World War II the Bund was active in the underground resistance and some Bund members were also part of some Judenrat councils. They took part in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Bystander: One who is present at some event without participating in it.
Cabaret: Large restaurant providing food, drink, music, a dance floor, and floor show.
Cantor: Leader of chanted prayers in a Jewish service; the congregational singer.
Chancellor: Chief (prime) minister of Germany.
Chamberlain, Neville (1869-1940): British Prime Minister, 1937-1940. He concluded the Munich Agreement in 1938 with Adolf Hitler, which he mistakenly believed would bring "peace in our time."
Chelmno /khelm no/ : 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.
Collaboration: Cooperation between citizens of a country and its occupiers.
Communism: A concept or system of society in which the collective community shares ownership in resources and the means of production. In theory, such societies provide for equal sharing of all work, according to ability, and all benefits, according to need. In 1848, Karl Marx, in collaboration with Friedrich Engels, published the Communist Manifesto which provided the theoretical impetus for the Russian Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
Concentration camp (Konzentrationslager, KZ) /kon tsen tra tions lah ga/ : 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.
Contra fact: A musical technique that places new lyrics into melodies of old songs. This technique was used during the Holocaust, when lyrics were being written faster than composers could generate the music.
Dachau /da khou/ : Nazi 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 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.
Degenerate art (Entartete Kunst) /ent a tet e koonst/ : Art which did not fit the Nazi ideal.
Dehumanization: The Nazi policy of denying Jews basic civil rights such as practicing religion , education, and adequate housing.
Desecrating the Host: Jews were accused of defiling the Host, the sacred bread used in the Eucharist ritual, with blood. The red substance that can grow on bread which has a blood-like appearance is now known to be a mold. This allegation was used as the reason for a series of antisemitic attacks.
Diaspora: From the Greek word meaning dispersion, the term dates back to 556 B.C.E. when Nebuchadnezzar exiled the Judeans to Babylonia and refers to the Jewish communities outside Israel.
Displacement: The process, either official or unofficial, of people being involuntarily moved from their homes because of war, government policies, or other societal actions, requiring groups of people to find new places to live. Displacement is a recurring theme in the history of the Jewish people.
DP: Displaced Person. The upheavals of war left millions of soldiers and civilians far from home. Millions of DPs had been eastern European slave laborers for the Nazis. The tens of thousands of Jewish survivors of Nazi camps either could not or did not want to return to their former homes in Germany or eastern Europe, and many lived in special DP camps while awaiting migration to America or Palestine.
Displaced Persons Act of 1948: Law passed by U.S. Congress limiting the number of Jewish displaced persons who could emigrate to the United States. The law contained antisemitic elements, eventually eliminated in 1950.
Drancy : The camp at Drancy was a transit camp not far outside of Paris. In 1939 the camp was used to hold refugees from the fascist regime in Spain. In 1940 these refugees were given over to the Nazis. In 1941 the French police, under the authority of the Nazi regime, conducted raids throughout France that imprisoned French Jews. Many victims of these raids were taken to Drancy.
Eichmann, Adolph (1906 - 1962) /aihk mahn ah dolf/ : SS Lieutenant Colonel and head of the Gestapo department dealing with Jewish affairs.
Einsatzgruppen /ain zats groop en/ : 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.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.: As Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, General Eisenhower commanded all Allied forces in Europe beginning in 1942.
Euthanasia: Nazi 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.
Fascism: A social and political ideology with the primary guiding principle that the state or nation is the highest priority, rather than personal or individual freedoms.
Final Solution (The final solution to the Jewish question in Europe): A Nazi euphemism for the plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
Flossenburg /flos en boorg/ : Bavarian camp established in 1938/39 mainly for political, particularly foreign, prisoners.
Frank, Hans /frank hans/ : Governor-General of occupied Poland from 1939 to 1945. A member of the Nazi Party from its earliest days and Hitler's personal lawyer, he announced, "Poland will be treated like a colony; the Poles will become slaves of the Greater German Reich." By 1942, more than 85% of the Jews in Poland had been transported to extermination camps. Frank was tried at Nuremberg, convicted, and executed in 1946.
Führer /few ra/ : 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.
Generalgouvernement (General Government): An administrative unit established by the Germans on October 26, 1939, consisting of those parts of Poland that had not been incorporated into the Third Reich. It included the districts of Warsaw, Krakow, Radom, Lublin, and Lvov. Hans Frank was appointed Governor-General. The Germans destroyed the Polish cultural and scientific institutions and viewed the Polish population as a potential work force.
Genocide: The deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, cultural, or religious group.
German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) /doi che a bai ta pa tai/ : As the precursor to the Nazi Party, Hitler joined the right-wing Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP) in 1919. The party espoused national pride, militarism, a commitment to the Volk, and a racially "pure" Germany.
Gestapo /geshtahpoh/ : Acronym for Geheime Staatspolizei /ge haim e shtahts po li tsai/ , 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.
Ghettos: The 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) /poul yo sef go bles/ : Reich Propaganda Director of the NSDAP and Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.
Goering, Hermann (1893-1945) /go ring hea man/ : Leading Nazi promoted to Reichsmarshal in 1940.
Great Depression: A deep, worldwide, economic contraction beginning in 1929 which caused particular hardship in Germany which was already reeling from huge reparation payments following World War I and hyperinflation.
Guerrilla warfare: Fighting in which small independent bands of soldiers harass an enemy through surprise raids, attacks on communications and the like.
Gypsies: A collective term for Romani and Sinti. A nomadic people believed to have come originally from northwest India. They became divided into five main groups still extant today. By the sixteenth century, they had spread to every country of Europe. Alternately welcomed and persecuted since the fifteenth century, they were considered enemies of the state by the Nazis and persecuted relentlessly. Approximately 500,000 Gypsies are believed to have perished in the gas chambers.
Hess, Rudolf /hes roo dolf/ : 1894-1987) was 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.
Heydrich, Reinhard /hai drikh rine hart/ : 1894-1987) was 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) /him la hain rikh/ : 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.
Von Hindenburg, Paul /fon hin den boorg poul/ : General Field Marshal who became a German national hero during World War I and was Reich president from 1925 to 1934.
Hitler, Adolf (1889-1945) /hit la ah dolf/ : Nazi party leader, 1919-1945. German Chancellor, 1933-1945. Called Führer, or supreme leader, by the Nazis.
Hitler Youth Hitler Jugend /hit la yoo gend/ : was a Nazi youth auxiliary group established in 1926. It expanded during the Third Reich. Membership was compulsory after 1939.
Holocaust: Derived 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.
Homophobia: Fear of homosexuals.
International Military Tribunal: The United States, Great Britain, France, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics charted this court to prosecute Nazi war criminals.Jehovah's Witnesses: Religious sect that originated in the United States and had about 2, 000 members in Germany in 1933. Their religious beliefs did not allow them to swear allegiance to any worldly power making them enemies of the Nazi state.
Judenrat /yoo den raht/ : Council of Jewish "elders" established on Nazi orders in an occupied area.
Judaism: The 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.
Kapo /kah poh/ : A concentration camp inmate appointed by the SS to be in charge of a work gang.
Kippah /kippa/ : The skull cap worn by Jewish men. A Kippah is worn to symbolize that man exists only from his Kippah down; God exists above the Kippah.
Korczak, Dr. Janusz (1878-1942) : Educator, author, physician, and director of a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw. Despite the possibility of personal freedom, he refused to abandon his orphans and went with them to the gas chamber in Treblinka.
Kristallnacht /krish tahl nakht/ : Also known asThe 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.
League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Mädel) /boond doi cha may del/ : Female counterpart of the Hitler Youth formed in 1927 but not formerly integrated by Hitler until 1932.
Lebensraum /ley benz roum/ : Meaning "living space," it was a basic principle of Nazi foreign policy. Hitler believed that eastern Europe had to be conquered to create a vast German empire for more physical space, a greater population, and new territory to supply food and raw materials.
Madagascar Plan: A Nazi policy that was seriously considered during the late 1930s and 1940s which would have sent Jews to Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa. At that time Madagascar was a French colony. Ultimately, it was considered impractical and the plan was abandoned.
Majdanek /mai dah nek/ : 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.
Marranos : Jews who professed to accept Christianity in order to escape persecution during the Spanish Inquisition. Marrano comes from the Spanish word "swine."
Mathausen /mat how zen/ :
Mein Kampf /mine kahmpf/ : 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, Joseph (1911-1979) /yo zef men ge le/ : 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.
Mitzvah /mits va/ : Hebrew word meaning "a good deed."
Muselmann /moo zel mahn/ : German term meaning "Muslim," widely used by concentration camp prisoners to refer to inmates who were on the verge of death from starvation, exhaustion, and despair. A person who had reached the Muselmann stage had little, if any, chance for survival and usually died within weeks. The origin of the term is unclear.
Napolas /nah po las/ : Elite schools for training the future government and military leadership of the Nazi state.
Nationalism: A movement, as in the arts, based on the folk idioms, history, aspirations, etc., of a nation.
National Socialist Women's Association: The NS Frauenschaft /frou en shahft/ was an organization intended to recruit an elite group of women for the Nazis.
National Socialist Teachers' Association: Established in 1929, it assumed responsibility for the ideological indoctrination of teachers.
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.
Neuengamme /noi en gah me/ : Concentration camp located just southeast of Hamburg opened in 1940.
Night of the Long Knives: On June 30, 1934, Hitler murderously purged the ranks of the SA.
Nuremberg Trials: Trials of twenty-two major Nazi figures in Nuremberg, Germany in 1945 and 1946 before the International Military Tribunal.
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 by imprisonment.
Operation Barbarossa: The code name for the German invasion of the Soviet Union which began on June 22, 1941.
Operation Reinhard (or Aktion Reinhard) /ak tsion rine hart/ : The code name for the plan to destroy the millions of Jews in the General Government, within the framework of the Final Solution. It began in October, 1941, with the deportation of Jews from ghettos to extermination camps. The three extermination camps established under Operation Reinhard were Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka.
Pale of Settlement: The area in the western part of the Russian Empire in which Russian Jews were allowed to live from 1835-1917.
Partisans: Irregular forces which use guerrilla tactics when operating in enemy-occupied territory. During the Holocaust, partisans operated secretly in their efforts to assist Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis.
Passover: The Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jew's liberation from slavery in Egypt. The holiday, which lasts for eight days, requires all Jews to place themselves spiritually in the shoes of their ancestors and remember the era of bondage in order to never allow such oppression to happen again.
Perpetrators: Those who do something that is morally wrong or criminal.
Plaszow : Concentration camp near Kracow, Poland opened in 1942.
Pogrom: An organized and often officially encouraged massacre of or attack on Jews. The word is derived from two Russian words that mean "thunder."
Porrajmos /paw rye mos/ : A Romani term referring to the Holocaust that means, "the devouring."
Prejudice: A 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.
Propaganda: False or partly false information used by a government or political party intended to sway the opinions of the population.
Protectorate: Any state or territory protected and partially controlled by a stronger one.
Rabbi: Leader of a Jewish congregation, similar to the role of a priest or minister.
Ravensbrück /rah venz brook/ : Concentration camp opened for women in 1939.
Reich /raikh/ : German word for empire.
Reichskammern /raiks ka man/ : Reich government departments.
Reichstag /raikhs tag/ : The German Parliament. On February 27, 1933, a staged fire burned the Reichstag building. A month later, on March 23, 1933, the Reichstag approved the Enabling Act which gave Hitler unlimited dictatorial power.
Resettlement: German euphemism for the deportation of prisoners to killing centers in Poland.
Revisionists: Those who deny that the Holocaust ever happened.
Riefenstahl, Leni (b. 1902) /ree fen shtahl le nee/ : Nazi film director chosen personally by Hitler to make propaganda films for the Nazi regime, which include The Triumph of the Will (1935), Olympia (1938), and Reichsparteitag (1935).
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.
SA (Sturmabteilung /shtooam ab tile ung/ 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.
Sachsenhausen /zakh sen how zen/ : Concentration camp outside of Berlin opened in 1936.
Scapegoat: Person or group of people blamed for crimes committed by others.
SD (Sicherheitsdienst /zi kher hites deenst/ or Security Service) : The SS security and intelligence service established in 1931 under Reinhard Heydrich.
Hannah Sennesh /hana se nesh/ : 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.
Shoah /sho a/ : The 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 or Holocaust.
Shtetl /shte tl/ : A small Jewish town or village in eastern Europe.
Shull /shool/ : Yiddish word for synagogue, or Jewish house of prayer.
Siddur /si door/ : The Hebrew name for the Jewish prayerbook.
Sobibór /so bi bor/ : 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.
Social Darwinism: A concept based on the idea of "survival of the fittest." Based on Social Darwinism, Nazis created a pseudo-scientific brand of racism which was most virulent when directed against the Jews, but others, particularly Slavs, were not exempt.
Socialism: A theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of land, capital, industry, etc. by the community as a whole. In Marxist theory it represents the stage following capitalism in a state transforming to communism.
Sonderkommando /zon der ko man do/ (Special Squad) : SS or Einsatzgruppe detachment. The term also refers to the Jewish slave labor units in extermination camps that removed the bodies of those gassed for cremation or burial.
SS (Schutzstaffel /shoots shtah fl/ 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 concentration camps and occupied Europe.
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.
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.
Stereotype: Biased generalizations about a group based on hearsay, opinions, and distorted, preconceived ideas.
Streicher, Julius /strai kha yoo li us/ : Hitler's friend and founder of the antisemitic newspaper Der Stürmer.
Stroop, Jurgen /stroop jooa gen/ : (1895-1951) was the SS major general responsible for the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. Later that year, as Higher SS and Police Leader in Greece, he supervised the deportation of thousands of Jews from Salonika. He was sentenced to death and executed in Poland in1951.
Der Stürmer /shtoo a ma/ : Antisemitic newspaper founded by Hitler's friend, Julius Streicher, which reached a peak circulation of 500,000 in 1927.
Stutthof /shtoot hoff/ : Concentration camp founded in 1939 in what is now northern Poland.
Sudetenland /zoo dey ten lahnt/ : Formerly Austrian German-speaking territories in Bohemia which were incorporated into Czechoslovakia after World War I.
Swastika (Hakenkreuz/haa ken kroits/) : An ancient symbol appropriated by the Nazis as their emblem.
Synagogue /sin a gog/: Jewish house of worship, similar to a church.
Tallis /tallis/: Jewish prayer shawl with fringes on four sides. These fringes represent the four corners of the world and symbolize God's omnipresence.
Theresienstadt /te rey si en shtat/ (Terezín/te re zeen/) : Nazi 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 /raich/: 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.
Torah /tora/ : A scroll containing the five books of Moses.
Treaty of Versailles /versai/ : 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.
Treblinka /tre blin ka/ : 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.
Umschlagplatz /oom shlag plats/ : Place 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."
Underground: Organized group acting in secrecy to oppose government, or, during war, to resist occupying enemy forces.
Volk /folk/ : The 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.
Vught: Concentration and transit camp in the Netherlands opened in January 1943.
Waffen-SS /vafen es es/ : Militarized units of the SS.
Raoul Wallenberg: A Swedish diplomat who deliberately stationed himself in Hungary during the war to save Hungarian Jews from their deaths.
Wannsee Conference /van zey/ : 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.
Wehrmacht /ver makht/ : The combined armed forces of Germany from 1935-1945.
Weimar Republic /vai mahr/ : The German republic, and experiment in democracy (1919-1933), was established after the end of World War I.
Westerbork // : Transit camp in the Netherlands
Yiddish: A language that combines elements of German and Hebrew.
Zionism: Political and cultural movement calling for the return of the Jewish people to their Biblical home.
Zyklon B: (Hydrogen cyanide) Pesticide used in some of the gas chambers at the death camps.
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A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2005.