Abegg, Elisabeth (Germany)
Elisabeth Abegg was a Quaker who taught history at the Berlin Luisen girls' school until she was dismissed in 1933 by the Nazi school director for her anti-Nazi views. In 1942, at age 60, she began using her home as a temporary shelter and assembly point for rescuing many Jews. She then expanded her activities to create a rescue network made up of friends and former students. They sheltered Jews in and around Berlin , Alsace and East Prussia and provided false identities, money and provisions. She even sold her jewelry and other valuables to finance her rescue operations.
The code name of the operation that had as its goal the annihilation of the entire Jewish population of the Generalgouvernement, the portion of Poland occupied by Germany. The operation was dubbed "Aktion Reinhard" by SS men in honor of Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect of the Final Solution, who was assassinated by members of the Czech underground in June 1942. Three death camps were built to accomplish the mass murder: Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. Aktion Reinhard began in mid-March 1942 and ended in November 1943, during which more than two million Jews were killed.
Feelings of separation from others or from meaningful activity; confusion about life and the future.
France , Great Britian, the Soviet Union and the United States which were the four major opponents of the Axis countries, Germany , Italy and Japan , during World War II.
The annexation of Austria by Germany on March 13, 1938.
Prejudice against and fear of Jews. Traditionally based on religion, anti-Semitism became political in the 19th century and racial in the 20th century under Hitler. The term "anti-Semitism" was first applied to a movement in opposition to the Jews in the second half of the 19th century. Under Hitler, Jews were considered biologically inferior and thus beyond redemption. Even conversion, which satisfied anti-Semites in earlier times, could not save them. The Jews, and only the Jews, were subjected to a widespread and orchestrated propaganda smear campaign; forcibly rounded up into ghettos; and murdered in specially designed death camps.
Roll call in the camps.
Roll call area in concentration, labor and death camps.
Peace; calling a halt to armed hostilities.
"Aryan" was a 19th-century linguistics term used to describe the Indo-European languages. The term was subsequently perverted to refer to the people who spoke those languages, which the Nazis deemed superior to those people who spoke Semitic languages. Thus, Aryan came to describe people of "proven" non-Jewish and purely Teutonic "racial" background.
The expropriation of Jewish businesses, enterprises, and property, by German authorities and their transfer to "aryan" ownership or control.
To absorb or become alike. Both German and Dutch Jews had become assimilated into the non-Jewish culture around them.
Cruel or brutal acts
Concentration and extermination camp in Upper Silesia , Poland . Established in 1940 as a concentration camp, it became an extermination camp in early 1942. Eventually, it consisted of three sections: Auschwitz I was the main camp; Auschwitz II, Birkenau, was an extermination camp; and Auschwitz III, Monowitz, was the I.G. Farben labor camp, also known as Buna. Auschwitz also operated a number of subsidiary camps. The Polish government and the Auschwitz State Museum officially estimate that 1.1 million people died at the camp: one million Jews, 70,000 to 75,000 Poles, 21,000 Gypsies, 15,000 Soviet POWs, and 5,000 others. Other estimates reach 1.6 million murdered at Auschwitz , 1.35 million being Jews.
The event that took place in Munich , Germany , in 1923, when Hitler led an attempt to seize the government (a putsch). The putsch failed and resulted in a jail sentence as well as a lesson for Hitler, that in order to gain power he would have to work within the system.
One of three killing centers in eastern Poland (the other two were Sobibor and Treblinka). It was established in 1942 and was closed in January 1943. During that time, more than 600,000 people were killed there, nearly all of them Jews.
Benders, Johan (Netherlands)
Johan Benders was a teacher at the Amsterdam Lyceum and encouraged the students to manufacture false papers for Jews. He and his wife, Gerritdina, gave shelter to Jews, including several children. In 1943, the Benders were betrayed by one of their neighbors. Johan was brutally tortured during his interrogation and twice tried to commit suicide. On April 6, 1943 , he jumped to his death from the third floor of the prison. Gerritdina was pregnant and left with their two young daughters. In a heart-rending requiem for their dead teacher, many of Johan's former students marched passed the jail whistling the school tune. Despite the tragedy, Gerritdina continued to shelter Jewish refugees. A street in Amsterdam has been named in memory of Johan Benders. On March 27, 1997, Yad Vashem recognized Johan Benders and his wife, Gerritdina Benders-Letterboer, as Righteous Among the Nations.
Bielski Brothers (Belarus)
The Bielski Brothers Brigade was a most effective and feared resistance group which operated in the Novogrudok area Naliboki forest. Tuvia Bielski, commander, was exceptional in that he actively sought to shelter all fellow Jews in his camp--men, women and children, the elderly and the sick. He sometimes forced unwilling and frightened ghetto internees to go with him against what they thought was better judgment. He and his group were in constant danger, yet he never lost sight of his ultimate goal to save as many of his fellow Jews as possible. At war's end, more than 1,200 Jews were saved.
Borkowska, Anna (Poland)
Anna Borkowska was the Mother Superior of a small cloister of Dominican sisters in Kolonia Wilenska near Vilna. During the summer 1941 Ponary massacres, she concealed a number of Jews in the convent and later smuggled weapons into the Vilna ghetto. The Nazis gres suspicious of her activities and arrested her and closed the convent. She survived the war and was honored by Yad Vashem in 1984.
To boycott is to refuse to do business with a specific group. The Nazis boycotted Jewish businesses and kept all Germans from buying from or selling to Jewish merchants.
One of the first concentration camps in Germany , formed in 1937, near Weimar .
Immediately after their assumption of power on January 30, 1933, the Nazis established a complex network of facilities and camps, called Lager, in Germany and German-occupied territory, for the imprisonment of enemies of their regime. These enemies included actual and potential political opponents (Communists, Socialists, and Monarchists, for example), Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and other so-called asocials. The general roundup of Jews did not start until 1938. Before then, only Jews who fit one of the above categories were interned in concentration camps. The first three concentration camps were Dachau (near Munich ), Buchenwald (near Weimar ), and Sachsenhausen (near Berlin ).
The Lager system essentially consisted of the following kinds of camps:
When preceded by "Frauen," the camp was designated for women.
- Arbeitserziehungslager : Workers education camp
- Arbeitshaus : Work house
- Arbeitslager : Labor camp
- Aussenkommando : Satellite camp
- Durchgangslager : Transit camp
- Gemeinschaftslager : Civilian workers camp
- Haftlager : Custody camp
- Internierungslager : Civilian internment camp
- Jugendschutzlager : Protection camp for youths
- Jugendverwahrungslager : Detention camp for youths
- Julag (Judenlager) : Camp for Jews
- Kriegsgefangenenlager : Prisoner of war camp
- Konzentrationslager : Concentration camp
- Polizeihaftlager : Police custody camp
- RAD (Reichs Arbeits Dienst) Lager : National Labor Service camp
- Schutzhaftslager : Security camp
- Sonderlager : Special camp
- Strafgefangenenlager : Penal or punishment camp
- Straflager : Penal or punishment camp
- Vernichtungslager : Extermination camp
- Vorzugslager : Preferential camp
- Wohnlager : Housing units
- Zwangsarbeitslager : Forced (slave) labor camp
A death camp at a village near the Polish town of Kala . Chelmno was equipped with gas chambers and five crematoriums. It was established in 1941 and 370,000 people were murdered there, 365,000 of whom were Jews.
During a war, to collaborate means to aid or cooperate with the enemy.
The first concentration camp in Germany , established near Munich in March 1933 immediately after Hitler's assumption of power.
The forced marches of Jewish prisoners over great distances. During these marches the Jews were starved, brutalized, and killed. Relatively few survived the experience; the paths traveled were literally littered with bodies. Although death marches occurred throughout the war, the largest and deadliest occurred during the last phase of the war when the Nazis were retreating to Germany during the Soviet offensive in 1944. It is estimated that 250,000 died in death marches between the summer of 1944 and the end of the war.
The Danish Government (Denmark)
The Danish Government reached an understanding with the occupying Nazis that the Jewish population would not be harmed, but in 1943, it was discovered that the Nazis planned to rescind this agreement. Many quarters of Danish society joined in a vast rescue effort: Danish fishermen transported Jews to Sweden ; educational, economic, religious and social organizations protested to the Nazis including King Christian X. The Danish police not only allowed the rescue campaign to continue without disturbance, but participated in it. Within three weeks 7,200 persons "the majority of Danish Jews" and hundreds of their non-Jewish relatives, had been sent to safety in Sweden .
To discriminate can mean to make a distinction, but it also means to act on the basis of prejudice or unfairness.
To deport a person is to exile or remove that person from a country.
Lieutenant-colonel and head of the "Jewish Section" of the Gestapo. Instrumental in implementing the Final Solution, organizing the transportation of Jews from all overt Europe to the death and concentration camps. He was a participant at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, during which the program for the extermination of the Jews was organized. Eichmann was arrested at the end of World War II in the American zone, but escaped, went underground, and disappeared. On May 11, 1960, members of the Israeli Secret Service discovered him living in Argentina , captured him, and smuggled him to Israel . Under intense international scrutiny, he was tried in Jerusalem (between April and December 1961), convicted, and sentenced to death. He was executed on May 31, 1962.
Eicke joined the Nazi party and the SA in 1928. He transferred to the SS in 1930. Appointed commandant of Dachau in 1933, Eicke later became the inspector of concentration camps. He was known for his cruel treatment of prisoners, which became the norm in concentration camps. In 1939 Eicke was given command of the Death's Head division of the Waffen-SS. He was killed on the eastern front on February 16, 1943.
The four (A, B, C, D) mobile units of the Security Police and SS Security Service, composed of up to six "Einsatzkommandos, that followed the German armies into the Soviet Union in June 1941 for "special missions in occupied territory". Their charge was to kill all Jews, as well as Soviet commissars and "mental defectives." They were supported by units of the uniformed German Order Police and used local Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian volunteers for the killings. The victims were shot and buried in mass graves. At least 1.3 million Jews were killed in this manner.
A detachment of an Einstazgruppe.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
American general and 34th president of the United States between 1953-61. In 1942 he was name U.S. Commander of the European Theater of Operations. He commanded the American landings in North Africa and in February 1943 became chief of all the Allied forces in North Africa . After successfully directing the invasions of Sicily and Italy , he was called to England to become chief commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. He was largely responsible for the cooperation of the Allied armies in the battle for the liberation of the European continent.
The original meaning of this term was quick and painless death for the terminally ill. However, euthanasia under the Nazis took on quite a different meaning: practicing eugenics in order to improve the quality of the German race. This was the beginning of a development that culminated in the killing of the incurably insane, permanently disabled, deformed and those people deemed superfluous. In due course, three major classifications were developed: 1) euthanasia for incurables; 2) direct extermination by "Special Treatment" (gassing); and 3) experiments in mass sterilization.
The program under which the Nazis murdered the people they deemed socially and genetically inferior. It was carried out under the code name "T4" (from the address "4 Tiergartenstrasse" of the Euthanasia Program's headquarters).
I. G. Farben
A German conglomerate of eight chemical companies, including BASF, Bayer, and Hoechst, that made extensive use of slave labor. In close partnership with Hitler, I. G. Farben established factories near concentration camps to take advantage of the large pools of forced laborers. Its Buna works near Auschwitz manufactured synthetic rubber from coal or gasoline. I. G. Farben was an important contributor to Hitler's rearming of Germany and the actual war effort.
Father Marie-Benoit/Padre Benedetti (France)
Father Marie-Benoit turned the local monastery of Bourg d'ire, Maine-et-Loire, into a rescue agency where Jews could obtain false papers. He established ties in Nice with representatives of the Union of French Jews and with Italian officials in an effort to transport Jews into Italy . The Gestapo forced him to flee to Italy where he accepted the leadership of the Committee to Assist Jewish Immigrants. He established contact with Italian, Swiss, Hungarian, French, and Romanian officials for the sole purpose of helping Jews, and became known as the "Father of the Jews".
The cover name for the German plan to murder all the Jews of Europe. Beginning in 1941, Jews were rounded up all over Europe and sent to extermination camps in Poland . The transports to the camps were disguised as part of a program for the Jews' "resettlement in the East."
The legal expert of the Nazi party and Hitler's personal lawyer, Frank was an early supporter of Hitler and participated in the beer hall putsch in 1923. He served as the head of the Generalgouvernement in Poland from 1939-45 and as such he controlled Europe 's largest Jewish population and oversaw the Nazis' major killing centers. He was tried at Nuremberg , where he admitted his guilt."A thousand years will pass" he said, "and still this guilt of Germany will not have been erased." Frank was sentenced to death and hanged in 1946.
Fry, Varian (United States)
Following the occupation of France by the Germans, the Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC) was established in the US primarily to assist Jewish intellectuals stranded in France to come to the US . Fry's role was to find a way to get these refugees out of France . He employed an array of schemes most of which were illegal. He was arrested but was able to continue his activities for a further 13 months, before being deported from France back to the US . In all he helped approximately 4,000 Jews among them a number of well-known figures, including Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Siegfried Kracauer and Leon Feuchtwanger.
The state secretary of the Reich Transportation Ministry from 1942-45, Ganzenmüller was responsible for overseeing the German railway system during the period in which approximately three million Jews were transported to the death camps by rail. After the war, he escaped to Argentina , but returned to Germany in 1955. In 1973 Ganzenmüller was brought to trial, but died of a heart attack during the proceedings.
A construction unit made up of an anteroom, gas chamber, and crematorium. Victims, told that they were to take a shower, undressed in the anteroom and then moved into a large room (the largest could hold up to two thousand people) with shower heads in the ceiling. The door to the "shower room" was hermetically sealed and poisonous Zyklon B gas was released from the shower heads. When all the victims were dead, the corpses were wheeled to the crematorium and burned. This method of disposal hid the evidence of the crime and was efficient and cheap.
The Government General, the German civilian government of German occupied Poland , with headquarters in Krakow . Classified as appended territory.
The deliberate murder of an ethnic, religious, racial, or national group. The term was first coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944 to describe the Nazis' systematic annihilation of the Jews of Europe. Lemkin, a Polish Jew, lost 72 of the 74 members of his family in the Holocaust.
The Nazi Secret State Police. The name was created from the first letter of the German name Ge heime Sta ats Po lizei. Established in Prussia in 1933, its power spread throughout Germany after 1936. The Gestapo's chief purpose was the persecution of Jews and dissident political parties. Under Himmler's direction, the Gestapo was a prime force in the murder of the six million Jews.
The Nazis revived the medieval term "ghetto," designating a walled community, to describe their compulsory Jewish quarters. These ghettos were created in the poor sections of cities. Non-Jews were evicted from these sections, and all the Jews living in the surrounding areas were transported there and forced to live there. Surrounded by barbed wire or walls, these ghettos were sealed, and no one could legally leave. Established mostly in eastern Europe (in Lodz , Warsaw , Vilna, Riga , and Minsk , for example), the ghettos were vastly overcrowded. Food was scarce and sanitation poor; disease and starvation killed hundreds daily. These ghettos served as collection centers and facilitated subsequent deportations to the death camps.
In 1936 Glücks became chief aide to Theodor Eicke and eventually succeeded Eicke as the inspector of concentration camps. Glücks was responsible for the construction of Auschwitz and the creation of the gas chambers. In 1942 he was made head of an SS Wirtschafts-Verwaltunghauptamt unit. He died in May 1945, presumably a suicide.
Goebbels joined the Nazi party in 1924 and became the party's chief of propaganda in 1930. He was responsible for garnering support for the Nazis among the general population. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Goebbels became the minister of propaganda and public information. He controlled the media and oversaw the "Nazification" of public discourse and written materials. He supervised the publication of Der Stürmer and conducted the propaganda campaign against the Jews. He was responsible for the book burning of May 10, 1933. On the day following Hitler's death, Goebbels and his wife committed suicide in Hitler's bunker, after first ordering the murder of their six children, all under the age of thirteen.
Göring joined the Nazi party in 1922 and took part in the beer hall putsch of 1923. He was one of the men responsible for creating the Gestapo and was the commander of the German Luftwaffe (air force). Göring also supervised the confiscation and administration of Jewish wealth. He was tried and sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials, but he poisoned himself in his cell before the sentence could be carried out.
A close aide to Hitler, he was one of the first to join the Nazi party in 1920. He was arrested and imprisoned along with Hitler after the November 1923 beer hall putsch. He helped Hitler compose Mein Kampf while they were both in prison. In May 1941 Hess flew to Britain in the hope of persuading the British to make peace with Germany . Hess was arrested upon landing and spent the rest of his life in prison. He committed suicide in 1987, the only inmate of the Spandau Prison in West Berlin .
Head of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police, or Sipo), the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, Security Service), and Reichssicherheitsdienst, Security Service), and the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office, RSHA). He was the main planner and executor of the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazis. In June 1942 he was attacked by Czech resistance fighters and died of his wounds. In retaliation the Germans destroyed the Czech town of Lidice and killed all its male inhabitants.
Reich leader of the SS, Gestapo, and the Waffen-SS and German minister of the interior from 1943-45. The most powerful man in Germany after Hitler, Himmler was instrumental in establishing the concentration camp system and overseeing the implementation of the Final Solution. After Germany 's surrender he tried to escape but was captured by the British. He committed suicide in May 1945 before he could be brought to trial for his war crimes.
Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor of Germany, Hitler was born in Austria , but settled in Munich in 1913. At the outbreak of World War I, he enlisted in the Bavarian army, in which he became a corporal and received the Iron Cross First Class for bravery. Returning to Munich after the war, he joined with a few nationalist veterans in the German Works' party. In 1920 the party was reorganized under his leadership and became the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP, or Nazi party). In November 1923 Hitler attempted the Beer-Hall Putsch in Munich , which was supposed to bring Germany under nationalist control. When the coup failed, he fled but was arrested and sentenced to five years in the Landsberg fortress. He served only nine months, but during that time he dictated to Rudolf Hess the text of Mein Kampf, which became the bible of National Socialism.
In 1938 Hitler implemented his dream of a "Greater Germany" by first annexing Austria , then (with the agreement of the Western democracies) the Sudetenland (the German province of Czechoslovakia ), and finally Czechoslovakia itself. On September 1, 1939, Hitler's army invaded Poland. By then the Western democracies realized that no agreement with Hitler could be valid, and World War II had begun. In the blizkrieg (lightning war) he defeated France , invaded Belgium and Holland , and occupied Denmark and Norway . In June 1941 he invaded the Soviet Union but although the Germans occupied extensive territory, they did not succeed in conquering it. England continued to fight the Germans despite significant losses. When the United States joined the war in December 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor , the tide slowly began to turn. Although the war was obviously lost by early 1945, hitler insisted that the Germans fight to the death. He remained in his bunker in Berlin when the city was stormed by the Red Army. On April 29, 1945, he married his longtime girlfriend, Eva Braun. On April 30 he committed suicide with her in the underground shelter of the Chancellery. Their bodies were burned by supported at Hitler's request.
Ho, Feng-Shan (China)
Feng-Shan Ho was the Chinese consul general in Vienna during 1938-1940. After the Anschluss, the Nazis required that Austrian Jews have entry visas or boat tickets to another country before being allowed to leave. Unlike most of his fellow-diplomats, he issued visas to Shanghai to all who requested them. Thanks to him, hundreds of Jews were able to escape to China , or to use their visas to reach alternate destinations. He ignored the instructions of the Chinese ambassador in Berlin and was given a demerit in 1939. After a long diplomatic career, Ho retired in 1973, and died in 1997, at the age of 96.
A member of the SS, Höss held various positions in Dachau under Theodor Eicke before he was assigned to Auschwitz in May 1940. He became the camp's first commandant. At Auschwitz Höss oversaw the operation that murdered more than one million people. At the end of the war, he adopted the name Franz Lang and escaped detection by the Allies. In March 1946, however, he was recognized and arrested. He was tried in Poland and sentenced to death. Höss was hanged in Auschwitz on April 16, 1947.
IKL (Inspektor der Konzentrationslager)
Inspector of concentration camps.
The Jewish council (government) in ghettos. The council of Jewish elders, the official body of Jewish representatives organized by the Germans in the ghettos and camps to administer the occupied Jewish communities. They were established in September 1939 by the order of Reinhard Heydrich to provide a link to the Jewish Community and to furnish the personnel for labor assignments and deportations.
An Austrian, Kaltenbrunner was the head of the SS in Austria from 1935-38, when Germany formally annexed the country. After the takeover he became undersecretary of state for public security. After Reinhard Heydrich's death, Kaltenbrunner became chief of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police, Sipo) and the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, Security Service). He, along with Heinrich Himmler, was responsible for Aktion Reinhard. After the war, Kaltenbrunner was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to death. He was hanged on October 16, 1946.
Karski, Jan (Poland)
Jan Karski was a Polish courier for the Armia Krajowa, Polish Home Army, assigned to report on the Polish situation, particularly the Jewish plight. To accomplish this he was smuggled into the Warsaw ghetto twice and entered the Belzec concentration camp, posing as a guard, and witnessed the mass murder program. He escaped to England and the United States where he personally informed, among many others, Winston Churchill, Rabbi Stephen Wise and Franklin D. Roosevelt of the Final Solution. He tried to arouse public awareness of the massacres in Europe . Fearing arrest by the Soviet Secret Police, he remained in the United States and continued to speak out at every opportunity.
The Criminal Police
"The Night of the Broken Glass" in English, Kristallnacht was the name for the pogroms carried out November 9-10, 1938, in Germany . Hundreds of synagogues and Jewish-owned stores were burned and looted. Many Jews were beaten and killed, and about 30,000 were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The name was derived from the glass fragments from broken windows that littered the streets after the pogrom.
Korczak, Janusz (Poland)
Janusz Korczak was a famous pediatrician, author, champion of childrens' rights and beloved director of the Jewish orphanage on Krochmala Street in the Warsaw ghetto. When the Germans arrived, he continued caring for his charges in as normal a manner as possible. Although he was offered asylum many times, he refused to abandon the children. On August 5, 1942 the Germans rounded up Korczak and his 200 children. With Korczak at the head, they marched three miles, silently and calmly in rows of four to the Umschlagsplatz from where they were all shipped to Treblinka
A German family firm that manufactured armaments for the Nazis. Krupp extensively used slave labor in its factories and operated a facility at Auschwitz .
Kutorgiene-Buivydaite, Elena (Lithuania)
Elena Kutorgiene-Buivydaite was an ophthalmologist by profession and worked in medical institutions in Kovno. She was active in the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, a Jewish welfare organization for children and was in contact with Jewish doctors. During the German occupation, she concealed Jews in her home and established ties with the underground. She obtained arms, sought hiding places, distributed anti-Nazi literature and scheduled underground meetings in her home. Following the war, she was a member of the Special Government Commission for the investigation of War Crimes and in 1982 was awarded the title "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem.
This camp, located at Lublin-Maidanek in eastern Poland (Generalgovernement), was opened in late 1941. At first a labor camp for Poles and a POW camp for Russians, it was classified as a concentration camp for Jews in April 1943. Like Auschwitz , it was also an extermination camp, holding large numbers of Jews, all of whom were killed in November 1943. Maidanek was liberated by the Red Army in July 1944.
A concentration camp for men opened in August 1938 in Austria , near Linz Established to exploit the nearby quarries, it was classified by the SS as a camp of utmost severity, and conditions were brutal, even by concentration camp standards. Many inmates were killed by falling or being pushed into the quarries.
Mein Kampf The autobiographical book Hitler wrote while he was imprisoned in 1924 for his role in the beer hall putsch. All his ideas, beliefs, and plans for the future of Germany , including his foreign policy, are outlined in the book. His racial ideology is also clearly defined. The Germans, belonging to the "superior" Aryan race, have a right to living space ( Lebensraum ) in the East, which is inhabited by "inferior" Slavs. Throughout the book, Hitler accuses the Jews of being the source of all evil. He compares them to the communists but at the same time claims they control international capitalism. Unfortunately, most of the people who read Mein Kampf (except for Hitler's admirers) did not take it seriously and believed it to be the ravings of a maniac.
Mendes, Aristedes de Sousa (Portugal)
This Portuguese minister in Bordeaux followed his conscience and, contrary to his government's orders, granted entry visas to thousands of homeless and defenseless Jews. He lost his position and forfeited his career, but remained faithful to his principles and his sense of humanity. He died in exile in the United States.
The SS physician at Auschwitz , notorious for his pseudo-medical experiments on camp inmates and especially on twins and Gypsies. Inmates called him the Angel of Death because he was the one who determined if new arrivals would live or die immediately in the gas chambers. A simple gesture of his hand pointing to the left or right would seal an arrival's fate. Those considered too weak or too old were sent to the gas chambers; those who he considered able to work were sent to the concentration or labor camps. After the war Mengele spent some time in a British internment hospital but disappeared and escaped, presumably to Argentina . With the assistance of government authorities in Brazil and Portugal , Mengele succeeded in avoiding arrest and trial for his crimes. He is reported to have died in Brazil in 1985.
A seven-branched candelabrum that was used in the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and is now used in synagogues and Jewish homes all over the world. There are several interpretations of what the menorah symbolically represents. One holds that the seven branches represent the creation of the universe in seven days, with the center light symbolizing the Sabbath. Another interpretation is that the seven branches represent the seven continents of the world and the seven heavens guided by the light of G-d.
Nacht und Nebel
"Night and Fog," the code name given to the decree of December 12, 1941, by the German High Command of the Armed Forces which directed that persons in occupied territories guilty of activities against Germany 's armed forces were to be deported to Germany for trial by special courts and held in concentration camps.
NSDAP (National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei)
The National Socialist German Workers Party, the party led by Adolf Hitler.
Another name for the National Socialist German Workers' Party, which Hitler reorganized in 1920.
Nevejean, Yvonne (Belgium)
Yvonne Nevejean headed the Oeuvre Nationale de l'Enfance (ONE), a Belgian government subsidized agency supervising children's homes. She rescued more than 4,000 Jewish children by providing them with new identities, ration cards and permanent places of refuge. She received help from many lay and religious persons and, with few exceptions, managed to outwit the suspicious Germans. At one point, she arranged the release of a group of children from the Mechelen camp. Children under her protection were nicknamed "Yvonne's children".
During the Nazi party rally in Nuremberg in the fall of 1935, the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor was promulgated. It prohibited marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and "citizens of German or related blood"; employment in Jewish households of female citizens of "German or related blood"; employment in Jewish households of female citizens or "German or related blood" under the age of 45; and the raising of the Reich flag by Jews. In November 1935 a second law was enacted, the Reich Citizenship Law, which stated that only persons of "German or related blood" could be citizens. Jews from that point on were regarded as "subjects," not citizens, of Germany .
The "NV Group" (Netherlands)
Most Dutch Jews were rounded up and sent to the Dutch Theater in Amsterdam before being sent to Westerbork Camp. Their children were separated from them and sent across the street to a nursery known as the "Creche". Non-Jewish Dutch citizens formed a cell known as the "NV Group", and managed to rescue over 200 Jewish children. The organization's leaders, Joop Woortman, and Jaap Musch, were arrested. Musch was tortured to death and Woortman died in Bergen-Belsen.
Underground fighters against Nazi occupation forces, operating mainly in the forests. There was a general partisan movement that included Jews. Jewish partisan groups operated in White Russia , Poland , and Lithuania .
The Yiddish word for "devastation," pogroms were violent riots against Jews in villages, towns, and large urban areas in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. While usually spontaneous attacks perpetrated by hooligans, they were supported by anti-Semitic elements. Often rumors, such as blood libels (in which the Jews are accused of stealing a Christian child for sacrifice in their rituals), were circulated to create trouble. Typically, the policeoften bribedturned a blind eye.
Anyone committing an act which is contrary to the anti-Semitic edicts of the Nuremberg Laws, or of other anti-Semitic or racial orders by the German government.
Literally Empire, as in Third Reich; also meaning Federal or National.
The National Central Security Department formed in 1939 combining the existing Security Police (Gestapo and Kripo) and the SD. It was the central office of the Supreme Command of the SS and the National Ministry of the Interior.
The Stormtroopers, or "brownshirts," the original shock troops of the Nazi party founded in 1921.
Sauckel joined the Nazi party in 1921 and held senior honorary ranking in both the SA and the SS before World War II. In 1942 he was appointed plenipotentiary-general for labor mobilization in which he oversaw the seizure of millions of workers for the armaments and munitions production program. His harsh treatment of slave laborers caused the deaths of thousands of Jews in Poland . Sauckel was tried and convicted of his crimes at Nuremberg and was hanged on October 16, 1946.
The Security Service of the SS, formed in 1932 under Reinhard Heydrich, as the sole intelligence organization of the Nazi party.
Sendler, Irena ("Jolanta") (Poland)
In 1939 Irena was employed by Warsaw 's Social Welfare Department and worked in special canteens, providing meals, finanical aid, and other services for orphans, the elderly, and the poor. She also served Jews, who were in great need, and helped many to obtain false papers. When the Jews were placed in the ghetto, Irena managed to get permission to go and work there, and provided a vital connection with the outside world. When the deportations began in 1942, "Jolanta" did all she could to help people escape. She was betrayed and sentenced to be executed, but one of her colleagues bribed a Gestapo man and saved her life. The Jewish Historical Institute asserted that she was one of the most dedicated and active workers in aiding Jews during the Nazi occupation.
The Security Police composed of the Gestapo and the Kripo.
Death camp established in 1942 and located in Poland 's Lublin district. The total number of victims killed at the camp is estimated at between 225,000 and 250,000. All of the victims were Jews, The camp was closed in 1943 after an inmate uprising in which 300 prisoners escaped.
The Nazi euphemism meaning that Jewish men, women, and children were to be methodically killed with poisonous gas. In the exacting records kept at Auschwitz , the cause of death of Jews who had been gassed was indicated by "SB," the first letters of the two words that form "Sonderbehandlung," the German term for "Special Treatment."
Hitler's architect and the German minister of armaments from 1942-45. Speer was appointed minister of armaments after Fritz Todt was killed in 1942. In this position, Speer dramatically increased armaments production through the use of millions of slave laborers. After the war, Speer was tried at Nuremberg , found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to twenty years in prison. At his trial Speer admitted his guilt and took responsibility for the actions of the Nazi regime.
Star of David
In Hebrew, the star is called Mogen David, the Shield of David. A long-standing symbol of Judaism, it was used by the Nazis on badges to identify Jews. After September 1, 1941, all Jews in Germany over the age of six had to wear this badge whenever they appeared in public. Being caught without it could mean death. The Nazis imposed badges on the Jews in all the countries they occupied.
Abbreviation for Schutzstaffel (Protective Squad), the Nazi paramilitary blackshirted stormtroops. Formed in 1925 as the security force of the Nazi party. It was built into a giant organization by Heinrich Himmler and included, among others, the police, camp guards, and the Waffen-SS. It became the most powerful organization of the Nazi party, virtually a state within a state.
A special detention camp of the SS.
The State Police.
Sugihara, Sempo (Japan)
Sempo Sugihara was the Japanese counsel in Kovno , Lithuania who risked his life and the lives of his wife and children. He defied explicit diplomatic orders and issued transit visas to Polish and Lithuanian Jews, including the students of the Mir Yeshiva, who were trying to escape both German and Soviet clutches. He worked day and night signing papers for Jews waiting in long lines around the consulate building. His hands became stiff and numb distributing these life saving documents in a race against time. Even as he was leaving Kovno, he was signing papers and shoving them through the train window. "I should follow my conscience. I cannot allow these people to die."
Sanskrit name for a hooked cross (Hakenkreuz in German) used by ancient civilizations as a symbol of fertility and good fortune. It has been found in the ruins of Troy , Egypt , China , and India. It was adopted by the Nazis and transformed into a symbol of Aryan supremacy.
Death camp in Poland that was established in May 1942. Between 700,000 and 900,000 people perished in this camp, nearly all of them Jews. The camp was closed in mid-1943.
Ulkumen, Selahattin (Turkey)
Selahattin Ulkumen was the Turkish consul-general on the Greek island of Rhodes . In late July 1944, the Germans began the deportation of the islands 1,700 Jews, but Ulkumen managed to save about 50 of them by issuing them documents declaring their Turkish nationality. In many cases this was a false claim and Ulkumen lied many times to suspicious Gestapo agents, claiming that under Turkish law the spouses of Turkish citizens were considered to be citizens themselves.
Militarized units of the SS.
Wallenberg, Raoul (Sweden)
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who arrived in Budapest in July 1944. He was responsible for rescuing more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews from July to December 1944. He designed, issued and personally distributed "Schutzpasse", protective passports, which gave the impression that Jewish holders were on their way to Sweden under the protection of the royal Crown. He also housed the Jews in "safe houses" flying the Swedish flag. He personally went to collection points and convinced the Nazi authorities in perfect German that the Jews who were about to be deported had to be released to his custody. He moved fearlessly with determination at great personal risk. On January 17, 1945 , Wallenberg and his driver were arrested by the Soviets never to be seen again. In December, 2000, the Russians finally admitted Wallenberg was wrongfully imprisoned. He is presumed dead.
Meeting held at a villa in Wannsee , Germany , on January 20, 1942, to coordinate the implementation of the Final Solution. Chaired by Reinhard Heydrich and attended by Adolf Eichman and many other civiian and military leaders, the meeting established the administrative apparatus for accomplishing Hitler's dream of a Europe free of Jews.
Germany 's political structure following World War I. The Constitution called for an elected President, a Chancellor (Prime Minister) appointed by the President, a Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the Chancellor, and an elected house of representatives, i.e. Parliament, called the Reichstag. The governing powers rested with the Chancellor through the ministry, with the President retaining veto powers and performing ceremonial duties. The Reichstag provided more of an advisory role than an actual legislative one.
The anniversary of the death of a loved one. A candle is lit in memory of the departed and the prayer for the dead, the Kaddish, is recited.
The commercial name for hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas used in the Euthanasia Program and at Auschwitz . The poison was produced by the firm DEGESCH, which was controlled by I. G. Farben. Zyklon B was delivered to the camps in the form of pellets in air-tight containers. When the pellets were exposed to the air they turned into a deadly gas that would asphyxiate victims within minutes.