Glossary

Anti-Semitism: The Anti-Defamation League, an organization committed to the elimination of all forms of bigotry throughout the world, defines anti-Semitism as:
“The belief or behavior hostile towards Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.” (See ADL website www.adl.org)
Asylum: Protection given by a country to people escaping from persecution in their own country.
Apprenticeship: An agreement set up to allow a person, usually a young man or woman, to work for little money in return for learning a trade, craft or business. Apprenticeships last for a limited amount of time – in Germany usually three years.
Chancellor: The chancellor, in some European countries, is the chief official of a government, similar to a prime minister or president. S/he is the head of the political party in power.
Concentration camp: A specially designed prison camp where political dissidents, criminals, and some prisoners of war were detained and forced to work under harsh conditions. In World War II, Nazis forced Jews and other groups to live and work in such camps. Later, they became death camps for six million Jews and five million others who were tortured, murdered, gassed or died of starvation and sickness.
Burgher: A citizen of a town; a comfortable member of the middle or upper class. Burghers may be involved in town or city government.
Depression: A period of time when a country’s economy collapses and thousands of people lose their jobs, savings, homes, and property. Food and goods are not available or are too costly to buy. In the 1930s, the Great Depression was worldwide.
Discrimination: Treating a person or a group of people unfairly, for no reason other than their skin color, religion, language or country of origin; excluding people or denying them same rights as all members living in a community; to show prejudice and intolerance because of race, ethnic origins, beliefs or religion.
Gestapo: A feared, secret internal security police specially organized by the Nazi regime, known for its terrorist methods and brutal attacks on people suspected of treason or questionable loyalty. They were not bound to any law and were even allowed to kill anyone thought to be an enemy of the Nazis.
Genocide: Acts committed with the sole intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethic, racial or religious group or people.
Hitler Jugend: A Nazi paramilitary youth organization existing from 1922–1945. In 1939, all Germans between ten and eighteen years of age were conscripted into the Hitler Youth. Their organized propaganda activities throughout Germany in the early years helped the Nazi party grow in strength.
Holocaust: Unprecedented genocide. The systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators with the aim of annihilating the Jewish people. They succeeded in murdering about half of them. “Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire”.
Inflation: An increase in prices of goods and services, when even the most basic items needed for living food, clothes, housing become expensive relative to the worth of country’s money. When a country’s currency is inflated, it is worth less. More money, rather than less, is needed to pay for simple things, like bread or milk.
Immigration: The act of settling in another country and often become a citizen. Permission to immigrate is required by the government of the new country. (See Visa below.)
“Kristallnacht”: The night of November 9–10, 1938, when the Nazi government coordinated an attack on Jewish people in Germany and in German-controlled countries. Synagogues and properties were destroyed. Thirty thousand Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The Nazis then forced Jewish communities to pay for the damages. It is now called Pogromnacht.
Menorah: A sacred candelabra with seven branches used in the Temple in Jerusalem and refered to in the Bible. It is used in Jewish worship in synagogues and homes. Menorahs and other symbols of Jewish worship were systematically destroyed by the Nazis.
Nazi: Member of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), which was founded in 1919 and seized political power in January 1933.
Nordic superiority: A false, racist myth spread by the Nazis that Northern Europeans or Nordic (Aryan) people, described as genetically tall, light-skinned and blond-haired, were regarded as higher in rank and status than those people from other regions or countries. The Nazis stated they were a superior race of human beings.
Propaganda: Information, claims or ideas with specific messages that are widely presented as being true. A “one-sided” presentation of carefully selected facts using speakers, print and media. A way to convince others to accept a religious, social or political point of view.
Reparations: Money used to pay for damages and loss of life. After losing World War I, Germany was forced to pay enormous sums of money to the victorious Allied Forces, France, Great Britain, Italy, and the United States. The last installment for World War I was paid by Germany in 2010. Hitler’s defiant stand against reparation payments made him popular.
SS (Schutz-Staffel): An elite paramilitary organization within the Nazi party that later included police and specialized military units. Members of the SS served as Hitler’s personal bodyguard, worked as security forces alongside the Gestapo, and ran the concentration camps. The SS carried out torture and mass killings of Jews, but also Eastern Europeans, Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, the mentally ill or disabled (including babies and children), Communists, Socialists, and Hitler’s political opponents.
SA (Sturm-Abteilung): A member of the Nazi militia (an army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers) noted for brutality and violence. Storm troopers were not members of the German armed forces or of the local police but they supported the police.
Swastika: An ancient symbol consisting of a cross with the arms bent at right angles. In the 1920s, the swastika became a symbol of aggression, hatred and death after it was adopted as the emblem of the Nazi party. In ancient times it was a religious symbol of happiness.
Synagogue: A building where Jewish people gather to worship and participate in religious study.
Visa: A written document or passport stamp showing that the holder of the document or passport has official permission from the government to enter its country.

 

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Glossary Copyright © 2017 by Margaret A. McQuillan and Geschichtswerkstatt Lüneburg e.V.. All Rights Reserved.

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