• Allies

    The nations – Canada, Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States – that joined together in the war against Germany and its partners – Italy and Japan (known as the Axis powers). Later, the Axis was joined by Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

  • Anschluss

    (German word, meaning ''connection'') The annexation of Austria by Germany on March 13, 1938.

  • Antisemitism

    Hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. The hatred of Jews dates back to ancient times, but the word “antisemitism” was coined in the late 19th century. Jews were accused of conspiring to dominate the world, an idea perpetuated through false publications such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A new dimension was added to traditional hatred of Jew with the emerging “pseudo-science” of racial stereotyping. The Nazis drew from these “theories” in their war against the Jews, which culminated in the murder of two-thirds of European Jewry.

  • Concentration Camp

    Any internment camp for holding “enemies of the Third Reich”. The construction of concentration camps began almost immediately after Hitler came to power. Thousands of camps were established during the war.

  • Death March

    Trapped between the Soviets in the East and the Allies in the West, the Nazis emptied concentration camps, forcing inmates to march long distances toward camps in Germany. Facing intolerable conditions and brutal treatment, thousands died on route as a result of mistreatment, starvation and shootings.

  • Deportation

    The removal of people from their homes for purposes of “resettlement”. The Jews of Europe were designated for deportation to ghettos, concentration camps and extermination centres.

  • Displaced Persons Camp

    Camps established after World War II for those who had been liberated but could not to return to their former homes. Tens of thousands of Jews remained in the displaced persons (DP) camps for a number of years until they were able to immigrate to other countries.

  • Einsatzgruppen

    (German word, literally “operational squads”) Mobile killing units of the Nazi SS.

  • Genocide

    (from Greek genos, “race”, and Latin caedes, “killing”): A word coined by Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin in 1943 to describe the official government policy for the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, cultural, or religious group. The term ‘genocide' is defined by the United Nations in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948). Genocide is defined as an act committed with the intention to exterminate a national, ethnic, racial or religious group (in whole or in part). Its current legal definition does not include the extermination of political opponents. Members of the group are murdered or systematically persecuted through various means to reach this goal: murder, “measures intended to prevent births within the group”, “the transfer of children of the group to another group”, etc. Genocide is committed by those in power, in their name or with their open or implied consent. Genocide is considered a crime against humanity.

  • Ghetto

    The Nazis revived the medieval term to describe their device of concentration and control, the compulsory “Jewish Quarter”. Established in poor areas, Jews were forced to live in overcrowded and desperate conditions.

  • Holocaust

    Systematic, state-sponsored murder of approximately six million Jews between 1933 and 1945, committed by the Nazis and their collaborators. The word “holocaust” is a Greek word meaning sacrifice, especially by fire.

  • Internment camp

    A camp for the imprisonment or confinement of enemy aliens, prisoners of war, and political prisoners.

  • Judaism

    The monotheistic religion of the Jews, whose spiritual and ethical principles are embodied chiefly in the Torah (Old Testament, or the five books of Moses) and in the Talmud (Jewish law and ethics). Judaism first appeared in the territory of Judea (today Israel) in the Middle East. Jewish communities later appeared at varying times in almost all parts of the world, as a result of migrations, forced exiles, and expulsions.

  • Killing centre

    Also named "death camps" or ''extermination camps'', they were established in occupied Poland after 1942 to perpetuate the mass murder of Jews and other victims, primarily by poison gas. The six killing centres were Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka.

  • Kindertransport

    About 10,000 children were saved from the Holocaust by the Kindertransport, the ''transport of children'' organised by Great Britain between 1938 and 1940. Children were evacuated by train or boat and rescued by Jewish organisations or families in England. After the war, many children rescued by the Kindertransport never saw their parents again, most of whom had died during the Holocaust.

  • Kristallnacht

    Often referred to as ''The Night of Broken Glass'' in English, Kristallnacht is the name given to violent attacks (pogrom) against the businesses, places of worship and homes of the Jews throughout Germany and in the annexed countries (Austria and Sudetenland) on November 9 and 10, 1938. The violence was implemented by the Nazi leaders. The sound of broken glass explains the name given to the event.

  • Nazi

    The National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), mostly known as the ''Nazi Party'', was established in 1919. In 1933, lead by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party achieved political control of Germany through democratic election. It was violently antisemitic, and it believed in the supremacy of the “Aryan race.” The Nazi ideology included the following motives of discrimination: origin, ethnicity, skin colour, sex, handicap, religion, language, sexual orientation, political convictions. It was characterised by strong authoritarianism and “leader cult” (Führerkult). The Nazi objective was to purify the race and expand the “vital space” needed for the German race. This was to be attained by exterminating the Jews of Europe and invading the neighbouring countries.

  • Nuremberg Laws

    A series of laws promulgated in 1935, which defined who was Jewish and which introduced their systematic discrimination and persecution.

  • Partisans

    Groups operating in enemy-occupied territory using guerrilla tactics. Some partisan groups were Jewish or included Jewish members, while others were made up entirely of non-Jewish resistance fighters.

  • Pogrom

    (Derived from Russian, literally meaning “devastation”) An organised, often officially encouraged massacre or persecution of Jews.

  • Shoah

    The Hebrew word for Holocaust, a biblical term meaning “catastrophe”, “destruction”, “disaster”.

  • Shtetl

    A small Jewish town or village in Eastern Europe.

  • SS

    (schutzstaffel: protection squad): Guard detachments originally formed in 1925 as Hitler's personal guard. From 1929, under Himmler, the SS became the most powerful affiliated organisation of the Nazi Party. By mid-1934, they had established control of the police and security systems, forming the basis of the Nazi police state and the major instrument of racial terror in the concentration camps and in occupied Europe.

  • Third Reich

    The Nazi designation of Germany and its regime from 1933 to 1945. Historically, the First Reich was the medieval Holy Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806. The Second Reich referred to the German Empire from 1871 to 1918.

  • Yiddish

    The language of Eastern European Jews and their descendants. Yiddish is based on middle-high German, infused with many Hebrew words and expressions and using the Hebrew script.

  • “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”

    Nazi euphemism for the extermination of European Jewry.