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Volume 18, No.1 / Fall 2004             
Yehuda Bauer, Historian of the Holocaust (Part 1)


Section 1
Memory of a Boyhood
A History of the Holocaust
Section 2
Portrait of an Historian
Second Issue

ANTI-SEMITISM:  This term refers to the hatred of Jews, which goes back to before Christian times.


ARYANIZATION:  During the Nazi period Jews gave up their businesses for minimal compensation.  At first, this was voluntary; it became mandatory in 1937-8.


AUSCHWITZ:  A Nazi concentration camp and death camp 37 miles west of Cracow, in Upper Silesia, Poland.  Established in 1940 as a concentration camp, it became a death camp in early 1942.  It consisted of three sections:  Auschwitz I, the main camp and administrative center; Auschwitz II (Birkenau), a combination of a concentration camp and a death camp; Auschwitz III (Monowitz) the labor camp also known as Buna.  Auschwitz also had many subsidiary camps.


“CANADA”:  This was the term given to the unit responsible for sorting the clothing and other possessions of the murdered victims at Auschwitz.


EINSATZGRUPPEN:  This term referred to the special military SS units used in Eastern Europe to round up and murder large numbers of Jews, supported by units of German police and local volunteers.  They executed over a million Jews through shootings and mass grave burials such as Babi Yar in the Ukraine.


EUGENICS:  This term refers to a pseudo-science that sought to better the race.   In 1883, Francis Galton defined eugenics as follows: “the science of improving stock, which is by no means confined to questions of judicious mating, but which . . . takes cognizance of all influences that tend in however remote a degree to give the more suitable races of strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had.”  The Nazis would carry out such policies in the extreme with their sterilizations measures and eventually their “euthanasia” program (killing of disabled Germans and Jews).


GHETTO:  This term refers to urban areas where Jews were concentrated.  These were poor sections of a city where all Jews from surrounding areas were forced to reside.  The sections were mostly surrounded by barbed wire or walls.  They were primarily established in Eastern Europe and were characterized by overcrowding, starvation and heavy labor.  Eventually, the ghettos were dissolved and their inhabitants were deported to death camps or murdered on the spot.  In Western Europe, Jews were often concentrated in transit camps before deportation to the death camps in the East.


HEYDRICH, REINHARD.  He was the Chief of the Security Police for the Nazis.  He formulated policies for the creation of ghettos in Eastern Europe and was a principal architect of the “Final Solution.”


HOLOCAUST:  Literally, this means completely burned sacrifice.  It has come to refer to the genocide of the Jewish people organized and implemented by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.  Genocidal policies against the Gypsies (Roma) and the Poles were also pursued by the Nazis; they also murdered handicapped people, and they persecuted groups such as the homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses. 


JUDENRAT:  Committee of Jewish representatives in ghettos, areas and countries, established by the Nazis (but very often selected also by the Jews to represent them towards the German authorities).  The Nazis saw them as aides in administering their policies and doing their bidding.  The Jews saw in them often a leadership that would attempt to ease the persecutions.  Judenräte is the plural.


KRISTALLNACHT:  This term refers to the “Night of Broken Glass” or the November Pogrom.  This was a display of Nazi violence against the Jewish stores and synagogues on November 9-10, 1938.  In addition to the widespread looting and destruction of Jewish property throughout Germany and Austria, approximately 26,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to labor camps.


LODZ:  A Polish city that became the site of the first major ghetto in April 1940.  Many Jews from other lands were also sent to Lodz.  At first, approximately 144,000 Jews lived in 1.6 square miles.


mischlingThis was an official term used by the Nazi regime to describe individuals who had mixed German Jewish ancestory.


NUREMBERG LAWS:  These were a series of laws adopted by the Third Reich to restrict the political, social and economic life of German Jews.  These laws also led to the discrimination of people who only had one or two Jewish grandparents.  These laws were introduced in all areas occupied by the Nazis before and during World War II.


PALESTINE:  Between 1920 and May 15, 1948 this area was a mandate under British control.  In May 1948 this area was divided between the state of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan.


PALMACH:  These were elite troops of the Haganah (the Jewish underground in Palestine).  After the war, these volunteers helped Jews in Europe make the illegal journey to Palestine despite the danger of being discovered and arrested by the British.


PARTISANS:  During World War II, this term referred to resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Europe.  They were irregular military troops engaged in guerrilla warfare behind the enemy lines.  Jews were not accepted in all these units.  In rare cases such as the Bielski Brigade, Jews formed their own units. 


SCHNELLBRIEF:   This refers especially to an express letter prepared by Reinhard Heydrich on September 21, 1939 before the fall of Warsaw.  It outlined plans for concentrating Jews in urban areas and the establishment of Jewish councils to carry out the Nazi directives in Jewish communities. 


SDSicherheitsdienst  This organization was the SS Security Service, controlled by  Heydrich.


SHOAH:  Originally a biblical term meaning widespread disaster.  In modern times it is the Hebrew equivalent for the Holocaust.


SHOAH: The Film:  A nine and a half hour film on the Holocaust by Claude Lanzmann.  Yehuda Bauer and Franklin H. Littell were consultants for the film.


SSSchutzstaffel.  Originally, this was the elite guard for Hitler.  It became the main Nazi terror organization, and included all police functions, including the political police.


WANNSEE CONFERENCE: High-ranking Nazis attended this meeting on January 20, 1942.  The meeting worked out the details for carrying out the “Final Solution.”  The decision to implement the ‘Final Solution’ had been made several months earlier.

Dimensions Online
Volume 18, No. 1, Fall 2004
Yehuda Bauer

Volume 17, No. 2, Fall 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust--Part II

Volume 17, No.1, Spring 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust-- Part I

Volume 16, No. 1, Fall 2002
Remembrance and Commemoration of Two Catastrophes: September 11th and the Holocaust

Articles from the Print Editions of Dimensions
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The Hidden Child Foundation®
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