• Holocaust Glossary

    Adolf Hitler: born in Austria in 1889. Wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle), the story of his life, while in prison. Became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, and committed suicide in 1945.

    Auschwitz:the largest concentration camp and death camp near the city of Cracow, Poland. It consisted of three main camps and dozens of smaller camps. The original camp was called Auschwitz I; Auschwitz II was the death camp, called Birkenau; and Auschwitz III was a slave labor camp. Over one million Jews were murdered there.

    Bergen-Belsen: a concentration camp in northern Germany. It was originally a prisoner-exchange camp and became a concentration camp in 1944. There were many deaths here due to poor sanitary conditions, epidemics, and starvation. Anne and Margot Frank died of typhus here in March, 1945, a month before it was liberated.

    Buchenwald:a concentration camp in north central Germany, established in 1937. More than 65,000 or about 250,000 prisoners died here. It was liberated in April of 1945 by the U.S.

    Concentration camp:  Immediately after Hiltler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, the Nazis established concentration camps for the imprisonment of "enemies" of the state.  Beginning in 1938, Jews were targeted for internement solely because they were Jews.  Before that such groups as political dissidents, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other "asocials" were interned.  The first three camps established were Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen.

    Dachau: first concentration camp established in 1938 near Munich, Germany. It was originally set up for political opponents. U.S. troops liberated Dachau in April, 1945.

    Der Giftpilz: a German storybook, meaning "The Poisonous Mushroom" in English, used to create anti-Semitic feelings among the youth in Nazi Germany. It appeared in Germany in 1938.

    Displaced Person: a refugee with no home to which to return

    Displaced Persons Camp: compound administered by the Allies at the end of World War II where former concentration camp inmates lived for several years. Some displaced persons camps were former concentration camps.

    Emmanual Ringelblum: a historian and teacher, who kept a careful record of everything he witnessed while he was in the Warsaw Ghetto.

    General Juergen Stroop: Nazi commander during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. He attempted to raze the ghetto and deport the remaining inhabitants to Treblinka.Gestapo: the secret police set up by the Nazis in 1933 to eliminate opposition to Hitler and the Nazi party. Acronym for Geheime Staatspolizei

    ghetto: a section of a city where a particular group of people are forced to live. Characterized by overcrowding, starvation, and forced labor. During the Holocaust, Jews were forced to live in ghettos until they were transported to either concentration or extermination camps.

    Hitler Youth: The Nazi Party youth group for indoctrinating children and preparing them for leadership. The Hitler Youth was for boys and the League of German Maidens was for girls.Holocaust: the systematic, planned extermination of six million European Jews by the Nazis during World War II

    Janus Korczak:Known as the "father of orphans" because he operated an orphanage. He voluntarily deported with the orphans in his care from the Warsaw Ghetto on August 6, 1942. He died at Treblinka.

    Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB): Also known as the Jewish Combat Organization or Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa . A Jewish resistance group.

    Lodz Ghetto:  Located in central Poland.  It was the longest existing Polish ghetto from 1940-1944.  It was blocked off on April 30, 1940 and was comprised of 1.54 sq. miles.  Approximately 164,000 Lodz Jews were forced in.   Deportations: to Chelmo, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poznan, and Stutthof.  Approximately 5,000-7,000 survived.

    Kristallnacht: an event, also known as the "night of the broken glass" or "Crystal Night", that occurred on the night of November 9-10, 1938, in Germany and Austria. Nazis openly destroyed over 7,000 Jewish businesses, burned over 300 synagogues, and destroyed homes. Over 30,000 Jews were arrested, 91 killed, and thousands beaten and tortured.

    Mordechai Anielowicz: A major leader of the Jewish resistance who helped to initiate the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. He was born in 1919 in Warsaw, Poland and was killed on May 8, 1938. Nazi Party: abbreviation for Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party, a political party formed in 1919. Adolf Hitler became head of this party in 1921. Their ideology was anti-Communist, anti-Semitic, racist, nationalistic, imperialistic, and militaristic.

     Primo Levi: Born in Italy in 1919. Joined the Italian resistance, but was captured and sent to Auschwitz. He was a survivor at Auschwitz.

     propaganda: information spread to influence or mislead people.

     resistance: an underground organization engaged in a struggle for liberation.

     Righteous Gentile: a non-Jew who helped to save Jews from Nazi persecution, risking their own life.
    Sophie Scholl: once a member of the Hitler Youth, but then became a member of the White Rose resistance group. She was found guilty of treason with her brother Hans, and executed on February 22, 1943. She was 21 years old.
    Thereseinstadt (Terezin): a ghetto established in November 1941, located in Terezin, Czechoslovakia. It was set up to be a "model Jewish settlement" to show the outside world, especially the Red Cross, how well Jews were being treated. However, thousands died from disease and starvation, and thousands were deported and killed in extermination camps.
    Vladka Meed: Born in Poland in 1922. Her actual name was Feigel Peltel-Miedzyrzecki, but she took the "Aryan" name of Vladka Meed when she left the Warsaw ghetto. She served as a courier, helping Jews escape and smuggling guns into the ghetto. Her "Aryan" appearance helped her to be an effective member of the underground.

    Warsaw Ghetto: Established in November, 1940, surrounded by a wall and contained about 500,000 Jews. 45,000 Jews died there in 1941. A revolt (Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) took place in April, 1943, which lasted 28 days and ended with the destruction of the Ghetto. White Rose:an underground youth movement of non-Jewish teens and young adults dedicated to defying the Nazi regime. They wrote, published, and distributed leaflets to make others aware of the immorality of the Nazi regime.

    Yad Vashem: a Holocaust memorial and museum created in 1953 in Jerusalem, Israel. A special memorial to the nearly 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust is located here. Also, the "Avenue of the Righteous", which honors over 10,000 non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. More information can be found at www.yad-vashem.org.il