Yehuda Bauer, Historian of the Holocaust (Part 1)
ANTI-SEMITISM: This term refers
to the hatred of Jews, which goes back to before Christian
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.
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
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
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.
This 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
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.
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.
This organization was the SS Security Service, controlled
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
Originally, this was the elite guard for Hitler. It
became the main Nazi terror organization, and included all
police functions, including the political police.
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.