Antisemitism: Opposition to and discrimination against Jews.
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.
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.
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.
Final Solution (The final solution to the Jewish question in Europe): A Nazi euphemism for the plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Judenrat /yoodenraht/: 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.
Kristallnacht /krishtahlnakht/: 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.
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.
Resettlement: German euphemism for the deportation of prisoners to killing centers in Poland.
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 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.
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."
Underground: Organized group acting in secrecy to oppose government, or, during war, to resist occupying enemy forces.
Wannsee Conference /vanzey/: 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.