<p>Scene during the deportation of Jews in occupied Poland. Place and date uncertain. </p>

Glossary

More information about this image

Find Glossary Terms:

"Final Solution"
"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.
Agudat Israel
<p>Agudat Israel (in Yiddish, Agudas Yisroel) was a political party founded in Kattowitz in Poland in 1912 to represent Orthodox Jews. Although the founding conference of the primary political part of Orthodox Jewry took place in May of 1912, the serious organization of Agudat Israel in Poland began in 1916. It was internal Jewish developments, rather than external factors, which spurred the anti-Zionist Orthodox to organize politically for the first time. Agudat Israel represented Jews who wished to regulate all aspects of life according to tradition, with the assumption that this obligated Jews to manifest strong loyalty and peace toward the state in which they lived. Agudat Israel, therefore, felt threatened by Zionist activity (including that of the religious Zionist party, Mizrachi), its culture and nationalism, as well as by the Bund's secularist understanding of its mission.</p>
Aliyah
<p>Word meaning "ascent." It refers to Jewish immigration to the land of Israel.</p>
Appellplatz
German word for the roll call square where prisoners in Nazi concentration camps were forced to assemble.
Betar
<p>Youth group affiliated with Revisionist Zionism established in 1923 in Riga. The name <em>Betar</em> was formed from the initials of Brit Yosef Trumpeldor, Joseph Trumpeldor Alliance.</p>
Bund
<p>"Bund" is the abbreviation in Yiddish for "Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeter Bund in Lite, Poyln un Rusland". The General Workers' Union was the Jewish Socialist party. Founded in 1897 in Vilna, it soon solidified its ideology: for autonomism, devoted to Yiddish language and culture, and secular nationalism. It proclaimed for Jews to live in "Doykeit" ("hereness"), an ideological perspective that supported changes in the place where Jews had lived for a millennium. The Bund embraced three major groups: parts of the working class, the radical intelligentsia and the semi- intelligentsia, and those Jews that lacked sufficient general education but were steeped in Jewish culture. It took on formidable battles against the Zionists, but occasionally collaborated in educational efforts with the Poalei Tzion, a socialist and Yiddish-based Zionist party. It helped spread many educational institutions and organizations for adults and youth, as well as important training in self-defense.</p>
Crematorium
<p>A facility containing a furnace for reducing dead bodies to ashes by burning.</p>
Einsatzgruppen
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.
Euphemism
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.
General Government
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.
Genocidaires
From "génocidaires," the French word for people who commit a genocide. The term generally refers to perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.
Gestapo
<p>The Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) was the German Secret State Police, which was under SS control. It was responsible for investigating political crimes and opposition activities.</p>
Kapos
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.
Kommando
German word for detachment, such as a detachment of concentration camp prisoners at forced labor.
Pogrom
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.
Preventive Arrest
<p>"Preventive arrest" (<em>Vorbeugungshaft</em>) was an instrument of detention that permitted criminal police detectives to take persons suspected of engaging in criminal activities into custody without warrant or judicial review of any kind. Preventive arrest usually meant indefinite internment in a concentration camp.</p>
Protective Custody
<p>"Protective Custody" (<em>Schutzhaft</em>) was an instrument of detention that permitted secret state police detectives to take persons suspected of pursuing activities hostile to state interests into custody without warrant or judicial review of any kind. Protective custody most often meant indefinite internment in a concentration camp.</p>
Red Army
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.
Reich Commissariat Ostland
<p>Reich Commissariat Ostland (<em>Reichskommissariat Ostland</em>) was a German civilian occupation region that included the Baltic States and most of Belarus.</p>
Reich Law Gazette
<p>The Reich Law Gazette (<em>Reichsgesetzblatt</em>) was the legal register for the Reich since 1871. Since 1922 the Gazette had two parts: Part I contained laws, decrees, and rulings having the force of law, and Part II contained international treaties and agreements between the German Reich and other states.</p>
Reichsgericht
<p>The Reichsgericht was the National Supreme Court of Justice (the highest tribunal in Germany), established in Leipzig, Germany, by the Court Organization Act of 1877.</p>
Resettlement
<p>"Resettlement" was a Nazi euphemism for deportation and murder. </p>
Roma
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.
Special Court
<p>The Special Court (<em>Sondergericht</em>) or tribunal for minor political crimes was established in each Superior Court district by federal law on March 21, 1933. Defendants convicted for offenses before the special courts had no right of appeal.</p>
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.
Sterilization
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.
Subcarpathian Rus
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.
Sudetenland
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.
Synagogue
In Judaism, a house of worship and learning.
Transit camp
Transit camps functioned as temporary holding facilities for Jews awaiting deportation. These camps were usually the last stop before deportation to a killing center.
Volksgemeinschaft
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.
Volksgericht
<p>The People's Court (<em>Volksgericht</em>) was a Nazi court with jurisdiction over treason and other politically motivated crimes. It dealt summary justice without right of appeal to all those accused of crimes against the Führer, Adolf Hitler, and against the government of the Third Reich.</p>
Warthegau
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.
Yellow star
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.
Zyklon B
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.

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.