In this Glossary there are a lot of terms that might give you a better idea of what the rest of the blog is all about.

(Waffen) SS: The Waffen-SS were the armed units of the Schutzstaffel, better known as the SS. The SS were the protective guards of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), better known as the Nazis with at the head of the organization Heinrich Himmler.

Gestapo: Is a shorting for Geheime Staatspolizei, what can basically be translated as the Secret Service department of the Third Reich.

Einsatzgruppen: The official name is Einsatzgruppen der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, were mobile SS paramilitary death squad task forces, that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting.

Luftwaffe: The German Luftwaffe, or airforce, was formed in May of 1935. It was formed after the passing of the “Law for the Reconstruction of the National Defense Forces”. This law brought back into existance a free standing German army, navy and airforce, something that had been essentially banned after the end of World War I.

Holocaust: The term holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holokauston, meaning a “completelyholos burnt kaustos” sacrificial offering to a god. Since the late 19th century, “holocaust” has primarily been used to refer to disasters or catastrophes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word was first used to describe Hitler’s treatment of the Jews from as early as 1942, though it did not become a standard reference until the 1950s. By the late 1970s, however, the conventional meaning of the word became the Nazi genocide.

Ghetto: The ghetto was not a Nazi invention. Its origins can be traced back to medieval times, when restrictions on the places where Jews were allowed to reside were commonplace throughout Europe. Although this restriction is usually perceived as relating to towns or cities, it even applied in certain cases to entire countries. Today, the term “ghetto” has acquired a somewhat different meaning. It is no longer applied solely, if at all, to Jews. Any ethnic minority residing near to each other in a specific area of a city creates what is often described as a “ghetto.” It may be that the choice of accommodation is forced upon them for economic reasons, but by and large, these communities congregate for the same reasons that Jews once did.

Abwehr: The Abwehr was a German intelligence organization from 1921 to 1944. The term Abwehr(German for defense) was used as a concession to Allied demands that Germany’s post-World War I intelligence activities be for “defensive” purposes only. After February 4, 1938, its name in title was Foreign Affairs/Defense Office of the Armed Forces High Command (Amt Ausland/Abwehr im Oberkommando der Wehrmacht in German).

Judenrat: The name Judenrat refers to the Jewish Councils established on German orders in the Jewish Communities of Nazi occupied Europe.

Appellplatz: Meaning  “place for roll call” (German) – Location within the camps where the Appell was carried out.

Concentration camp: The term concentration camp refers to a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy. In Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, concentration camps (Konzentrationslager) were an integral feature of the regime.
At first, these concentrations camps were meant to hold political prisoners; however, by the beginning of World War II, these concentration camps had transformed and expanded in order to house vast numbers of non-political prisoners whom the Nazis.

Labour camp: A type of concentration camp where the prisoners who were strong enough were exploited through forced labor. Many concentration camp prisoners died from the horrible living conditions or from being literally worked to death.

Death camp: By 1941, the Nazis began building the first extermination camp, Chelmno, (also called death camp), in order to “exterminate” both Jews and Gypsies. In 1942, three more death camps were built (Treblinka, Sobibor, and Belzec) and used solely for mass murder, by gas and body disposal through cremation. Around this time, killing centers were also added at the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek.

Auschwitz: The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. It included three main camps, all of which deployed incarcerated prisoners at forced labor. One of them also functioned for an extended period as a killing center. The camps were located approximately 37 miles west of Krakow, near the prewar German-Polish border in Upper Silesia, an area that Nazi Germany annexed in 1939 after invading and conquering Poland.

Gross-Rosen: The Gross-Rosen concentration camp was originally established in 1940 as a subcamp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The camp was named for the nearby village of Gross-Rosen. Now called Rogoznica, the village is approximately 40 miles southwest of Wroclaw in present-day western Poland. In 1941, Gross-Rosen was designated an autonomous concentration camp.

Reichsmark: Nazi coins with face side with Nazi Reichseagle and swastika on the reverse. With the advent of war silver was needed elsewhere, so both the Reichsmark silver coins ceased production.

Zloty: The ancient association between gold and money is reflected as a zloty, the name for the basic unit of currency in Poland. In Polish zloty is a simple adjective meaning “golden.”

Cracow: The city where most of the story is taking place.The American spelling is Cracow. The Poles write their city as Krakow.

Montlupich: This prison was between 1940 and 1944 under the supervision of the Gestapo. In this period there were approximately 50.000 people imprisoned (mostly Poles and Jews). In this prison there have been executions and massively tortures. After imprisoning in Montlupich there was often deportation to Auschwitz-Bikenau or Plaszow.

Golezów people: In Keneally’s book they refer to those people as the people who arrived at Schindlers camp, Brinnlitz, with the train, with the 10 days without food travel. Their name is based on the work they did; the name refers to a quarry and cement pland inside Auschwitz 3.

Zablocie: Name of Oskar’s first camp within Cracow.

Brinnlitz: Name of Oskar’s second camp in Moravia, Czechoslovakia.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s