"Final Solution" is a shortened version of the Nazi term, "the Final Solution of the Jewish Question," (die Endlösung der Judenfrage), which refers to the systematic mass destruction of Europe's Jews.
German word for the roll call square where prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were forced to assemble.
This German word is translated into English literally as "special action groups." Einsatzgruppen are also often referred to in English as "mobile killing units." They were special units of the German Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei, SiPo) and the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst, SD), created as early as 1938. Einsatzgruppen were assigned for duty in territories newly seized by the German armed forces. Their task was to carry out various security measures, such as identifying and neutralizing potential enemies of German rule, seizing important sites and preventing sabotage, and recruiting collaborators and establishing intelligence networks. They are best known for their role in the murder of more than a million Jewish victims during the German-Soviet war (beginning in June 1941), usually in mass shootings.
A euphemism is an apparently inoffensive word or phrase substituted for one that would be considered offensive or hurtful. It is a "nice way" of saying something unpleasant.
Nazi officials often used euphemisms when speaking about acts of violence and terror and their goal to murder all Jews. For example, the phrase "special treatment" (Sonderbehandlung, in German) was used to refer to killings.
The General Government (Generalgouvernement) was a German zone of occupation in Poland. It included the part of German-occupied Poland that was not directly annexed to Germany, attached to German East Prussia, or incorporated into the German-occupied Soviet Union.
From "génocidaires," the French word for people who commit a genocide. The term generally refers to perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.
Kapos (singular; Kapo) were concentration camp prisoners selected to oversee other prisoners on labor details. The term Kapo is often used to describe any concentration camp prisoner to whom the SS gave authority over other prisoners.
German word for detachment, such as a detachment of concentration camp prisoners at forced labor.
Russian word meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.” Historically, the term refers to violent attacks, usually planned, by local non-Jewish populations on Jews.
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, commonly referred to as the Red Army, was the official name of the army of the Soviet Union from 1917 until 1946.
Roma are a European ethnic group whose ancestry can be traced to modern-day India and Pakistan. Many Romani groups refer to themselves by different names, such as Sinti, Kalderashi, or Lalleri. Sinti are Roma with historical roots in German-speaking lands. In many languages, Roma are often referred to by exonyms (names or labels assigned to a group or place by outsiders). In English, this word is “Gypsy,” which is generally considered derogatory. During the Nazi period, German authorities and their allies throughout Europe subjected entire Romani communities to systematic racial persecution. Romani communities across the continent were decimated.
Star of David
Six-pointed star often used as a symbol of the Jewish religion. The Nazis transformed this religious and cultural symbol into a badge for identifying, segregating, and humiliating Jews.
A procedure that destroys the ability of a person to reproduce. During the 1930s, around 400,000 Germans were sterilized in the name of improving the German nation and purifying “Aryan” racial stock. Sterilizations were also performed on thousands of concentration camp inmates in the 1940s.
eastern region of Czechoslovakia until March 1939, when it was immediately annexed by Hungary following the dismemberment of the Czechoslovak state. In 1946 it was incorporated into the Soviet republic of Ukraine.
Territory comprising the western, northern, and southern border regions of the former Czechoslovakia, long inhabited by ethnic Germans. The goal of annexing this contested region became central to Adolf Hitler's foreign policy in the 1930s. A negotiated settlement between Great Britain, France, Italy, and Nazi Germany in September of 1938—known as the Munich Agreement—ceded control of the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in exchange for Hitler's guarantee that he would seek no further territorial gains in Europe.
In Judaism, a house of worship and learning.
Transit camps functioned as temporary holding facilities for Jews awaiting deportation. These camps were usually the last stop before deportation to a killing center.
The German term "Volksgemeinschaft" can be translated literally as "folk community." The Nazis used this term to refer to race-conscious “Aryan” Germans who accepted, obeyed, and conformed with Nazi ideology and social norms.
The Reichsgau Wartheland (the Warthegau) was a territory of Poland occupied by Nazi Germany in September of 1939 and incorporated directly into the Third Reich. Taking its name from the Warta River in what is today western Poland, the province had previously formed part of the German state of Prussia, covering almost 17,000 square miles. Its 4,922,000 inhabitants included approximately 385,000 Jews and 325,000 ethnic Germans. In November 1939, the industrial city of Lodz, renamed Litzmannstadt by the German occupation authorities, was incorporated into the territory. In December 1941, the first functioning Nazi killing center, Chelmno (Kulmhof) was set up in the Warthegau to carry out the mass murder of the Jews and Roma (Gypsies) from the Lodz ghetto.
The yellow star was a badge featuring the Star of David (a symbol of Judaism) used by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust as a method of identifying Jews.
A highly poisonous insecticide originally used to kill rats and insects. When exposed to air, Zyklon B pellets converted into lethal gas. This proved to be the quickest gassing method and was chosen as the means of mass murder at Auschwitz.
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