Chelmno /khelmno/ : 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.
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 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.
Dachau /dakhou/ : 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.
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 (The final solution to the Jewish question in Europe): A Nazi euphemism for the plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
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.
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.
Himmler, Heinrich (1900-1945) /hainrikh himla/ : 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.
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.
Majdanek /maidahnek/ : 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.
Mengele, Joseph (1911-1979) /yozef mengele/: 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.
Muselmann /moozelmahn/ : 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.
Reich /raikh/: German word for empire.
Reichstag /raikhstag/ : 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.
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.
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 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.
Theresienstadt /tereysienshtat/ (Terezín /terezeen/) : 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.
Treblinka /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.
Umschlagplatz /oomshlagplats/ : 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."
Zyklon B: (Hydrogen cyanide) Pesticide used in some of the gas chambers at the death camps.
Lesson Plans from the Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Anne Frank (1). Students create timelines of Anne Frank's life and history.
Anne Frank (2). Ideas for research and discussion on Anne Frank's Diary
Bioethics of Eugenics. Students consider and discuss the ethical aspects of Nazi racial ideology, including sterilization, marriage prohibitions, and euthanasia
David Olère. Students analyze the artworks of David Olère and compare them to Holocaust photographs on the site.
Map Studies. An interdisciplinary unit for middle school.
Research Jansuz Korczak. Research children in the ghetto and discuss why Jansuz Korczak gave his life to march to his death with the children.
Lesson Plans on Other Sites
The "Final Solution" from Gary M. Grobman's "The Holocaust--A Guide for Teachers."
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 6 pages 6-8 Content Overview Unit 6 pages 9-23 Suggested Activities Unit 6 page 24 Correlation to Sunshine State Standards Unit 6 pages 25-26 Activities Unit 6 pages 29-81 Photographs Unit 6 pages 85-89 Testimonies Unit 6 pages 93-116
| Nazi Party | Nazification | Ghettos | Camps | Resistance | Liberation | Aftermath |
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2005.