anti-semitism- Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism, also known as judeophobia) is prejudice and hostility toward Jews as a religious, racial, or ethnic group. Not specific to the Third Reich.
Arbeit adelt "Labor ennobles" – Motto applied to the blades of uniform daggers worn by officers of the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD, the State Labor Service).
Arbeitnehmerschaft – workforce. The Nazis took this word to mean both manual and mental workers.
"Arbeitertum der Faust und der Stirn" – "Workers of both manual and mental labor"; the Nazi Party self description as an "all-inclusive workers' party" (a term originally designed to carry anti-Communist overtones).
Ariernachweis - a Certificate of Descent (to show "Aryan" heritage)(popular name).
Blitzkrieg – lightning war – quick army invasions aided by tanks and airplanes;
Blockleiter – lowest official of the NSDAP, responsible for the political supervision of a (city) block, usually 40 to 60 households.
Blutfahne "Blood flag" – An SA flag bloodied in the attempted Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, November 9, 1923, and revered by the Nazi Party, used in ceremonies. It disappeared towards the end of the War and is presumed to have been destroyed.
Cyclon B – Alternative spelling of Zyklon B, tradename of a cyanide-based insecticide used to kill over one million people (total number of deaths in the Holocaust total about six million people) in Nazi gas chambers.
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP) – German Workers’ Party, started by railway workers in Bohemia, Austria and Munich, Germany. These were the starter groups that evolved into the DNSAP and the NSDAP in their respective countries.
Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF) – The 'German Labour Front' was the Nazi's substitute organisation for trade unions, which had been outlawed on May 2, 1933.
"Die Juden sind unser Unglück" – A Nazi slogan: "The Jews are our misfortune."
Drang nach Osten – "Drive to the east", the historic German desire to expand eastward.
Drittes Reich – Third Reich or third empire. Arthur Moeller van den Bruck coined this term for his book Das dritte Reich published in 1923. The term "Third Reich" was a reference to the "First Reich" (the Holy Roman Empire, beginning with Charlemagne), and the "Second German Reich" (the German Empire, 1871–1918)
Eher Verlag – the Nazi Party's official publishing house run by Max Amann.
Ehrendolch – lit. "honor dagger", a presentation dagger awarded for individual recognition, especially by the SS
Ehrenliste der Ermordeten der Bewegung – Nazi honor roll of those who fought and died for the party before it came to power in January 1933.
Ehrenwaffe - Nazi honor weapon worn by NSDAP party leaders who qualified to carry them.
Einsatzgruppen – "Special-operation units" that were death squads under the command of the RSHA and followed the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front to engage in the systematic killing of mostly civilians, including: Jews, communists, intellectuals, and others.
Endlösung – "final solution", short for "final solution to the Jewish question" (or "... problem"), a Nazi euphemism for the Holocaust; use of the phrase, even in non-Nazi contexts, e.g., "the final solution of a mathematics problem" is frowned upon in modern Germany.
Entartete Kunst – degenerate art; term used as the title of an art show consisting of modern and other "degenerate" art.
Erbhofgesetz – the 1933 NSDAP hereditary farm law; it guaranteed family farm holdings of three hundred acres (1.2 km²) or less.
Ermächtigungsgesetz – "Law to Relieve the Distress of the People and State"; Enabling Act of March 23, 1933
Ersatz – a substitute product. Germany did not have an easy access to some strategic materials. German scientists had to research how to produce artificial rubber (Buna), and coffee made from roasted acorns, for example.
Gau, pl. Gaue – territory divided into NSDAP regional districts.
Bezirke – districts
Kreise – counties or subdistricts; smaller units of the Bezirk
Ortsgruppen – Party branch or local branches. It took a minimum of fifteen members to be recognized.
Hauszellen – tenement cells
Straßenzellen – street cells
Stützpunkte – strong points
Gauleiter – leader of a Gau. They had to swear personal loyalty to the Führer.
Gau-Uschla - the level of the four-tiered Uschla system immediately below the Reichs-Uschla and immediately above the Kreis-Uschla.
Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) – Originally the Prussia secret state police and later (as part of the SiPo then mergered into the RHSA) the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Gestapo was derived as follows: Geheime Staatspolizei.
Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz – "The common good before the private good"; Rudolf Jung popularized it in his book Der Nationale Sozialismus, 1922, 2nd edition. This became Hitler's basic stance on the subordination of the economy to the national interest. (6)
Genocide - the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group. Not specific to the Third Reich.
Gleichschaltung – the restructuring of German society and government into streamlined, centralized hierarchies of power, with the intention of gaining total control and co-ordination of all aspects of society.
Goldfasanen ("golden pheasants") – derogatory term Germans used for high-ranking Nazi Party members. The term derived from the brown and red uniforms with golden insignia worn at official functions and rallies by party members that resembled the brilliant colours of a male pheasant.
Goosestep (Stechschritt) – a ceremonial marching form of many countries especially of the ones in cold climates (Germany and Russia). The vigorous marching helps keep the participants warm. The form consists of stepping forward without bending the knees. After the Nazis' use of it in their parades it was later used when referring to other totalitarian governments. Still used by some countries today.
Gottgläubiger, those who broke away from Christianity. The term implies someone who still believes in God, although without having any religious affiliation. Like the Communist Party in the USSR, the Nazis were not favorable toward religious institutions, but unlike the Communists, they did not promote or require atheism on the part of their membership.
Gröfaz – mocking acronym for Größter Feldherr aller Zeiten ("greatest general of all time"), an appellation of Hitler
Großraumwirtschaft – continental economic zone similar to Lebensraum
Gruppenführer "group leader" - an SA and SS rank, equivalent to Major General.
HIAG (German: 'Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit der Angehörigen der ehemaligen Waffen-SS, literally "Mutual Help Association of Former Waffen-SS Members") was an organization founded in 1951 by former members of the Waffen-SS.
HIB-Aktion – "Into-the-Factories Campaign"; a part of the Nazi campaign to recruit factory workers.
Hitlerism is another term for Nazism used by its opponents.
Hitlerproleten – "Hitler's proletariat"; what the Berlin working class Nazis called themselves (to distinguish themselves from the rest of the proletariat). (8)
Hitler salute (Hitlergruß) – Used when addressing Hitler, higher ranking officers or the Empire.
Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend) – The German male youth organization founded by the Nazis.
Kameradschafts- und Gemeinschaftsstärkung – strengthening of comradeship and community; Nazi party Gleichschaltung of social institutions
Kapo (Cabo) – Privileged inmates of concentration camps, mostly common criminals. They had to oversee the work of the other inmates and were responsible for the results. Mainly brutal and mean criminals like murderers were assigned as Kapo.
Kinder, Kuche, und Kirche - children, kitchen, church (part of Hitler's co-ordination of every aspect of life to a state-sponsored orthodoxy), the role of women in the Nazi State
Konzentrationslager often abbreviated KZ for concentration camp. The correct abbreviation would be KL, but KZ was chosen for the tougher sound.
Kraft durch Freude (KdF) – "strength through joy", state-sponsored programs intended to organize people's free time, offering cheap holidays, concerts, other leisure activities, and (unsuccessfully) a car (Kdf-Schiff, Kdf-Wagen). It was initially called Nach der Arbeit.
Kreditschöpfungstheorie – Gregor Strasser's idea for government spending and credit creation.
Kreis-Uschla - an intermediate level of the four-tiered Uschla system, immediately below the Gau-Uschla and immediately above the lowest-level Ort-Uschla.
Kriegserlebnis – (myth of the) war experience
Kriegsmarine, "War Navy", one of the three official branches of the Wehrmacht
Kristallnacht or Reichskristallnacht – Crystal Night; refers to the "Night of Broken Glass", November 9–10, 1938, when mob violence against Jewish people broke out all over Germany.
Landwirtschaftliche Gaufachberater – NSDAP agricultural conventions; first one held in February 8, 1931. They held Bauernkundgebung (farmer's rallies).
Landwirtschaftliche Vertrauensleute (LVL) – NSDAP agrarian agents; used to infiltrate other agricultural/husbandry/rural organizations to spread Nazi influence and doctrine.
Landwirtschaftlicher Fachberater – expert consultant on agriculture that was assigned to every NSDAP Gau and Ort unit.
Lebensborn – "Fountain of Life"; an SS organization founded by Himmler and intended to increase the birth rate of "Aryans" by providing unmarried mothers shelter in nursing homes so that they would not seek (illegal) abortions.
Lebensraum – "Living space", specifically living space for ethnic Germans and generally referring to territories to be seized in Eastern Europe; see Drang nach Osten
Lebensunwertes Leben – ("Life unworthy of life") Term used for people with incurable mental health problems, serious birth defects and other health issues.
Leistungsgemeinschaft – performance community; part of the Nazi Gleichschaltung of social institutions
Mann - lowest rank in the SA and Allgemeine-SS, equivalent to Private
Männerbund – bond of men; it was a distinctly masculine mystique which became an essential part of SA ideology.
Mehr sein als scheinen "Be more than you appear to be." – Motto applied to blades of uniform daggers worn by the Nationalpolitsche Erziehungsanstalten, or NPEA, the National Political Educational Establishment
Mein Kampf – "My Struggle", Adolf Hitler's autobiography and political statement
Meine Ehre heißt Treue "My honor is loyalty" – Motto applied to the belt buckles and the blades of uniform daggers worn by the Schutzstaffel, or SS.
Militärbefehlshaber – military Governor, who was the (single) head of the executive in an occupied country (when no Reichskommissar was appointed)
Mischling – used in reference to an individual with alleged partial Jewish ancestry; some were treated as full-blooded Jews, other as "Aryans" but subject to various restrictions.
Muselmann – "an inmate who had resigned himself to death and lost the will to do anything to help himself survive". (1)
Mutterkreuz – a special cross awarded on three levels to all mothers "of favorable standing" who fulfilled the baby quota. A bronze medal was bestowed on mothers with four or five children, a silver one for six or seven children, and finally a gold one for eight or more children.
Nazi is a short term for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (“German National Socialist Workers’ Party”). It is not an acronym; it is a phonetic spelling of the beginning of the party’s name (“nati-”). By extension, it is sometimes used to mean “a supporter of fascist ideology”. As an adjective, this short form is used more often in English language than in German.
denazification (Entnazifizierung) – the process by which the Allied occupiers attempted to purge post war Germany of remnants of the Nazi regime and Nazi philosophy
Nazism; the ideology of the NSDAP (generally considered to be a variant of Fascism with racist and antisemitic components).
NSDAP Zentralkartei – master file, containing approx. 7.2 million original and official individual German Nazi Party membership cards. Comprises two separate files. It is housed in the Berlin Document Center (BDC).
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) – the National Socialist German Workers’ Party of Adolf Hitler
Nationalsozialistische Frauenschaft (NSF) – "National Socialist Women's League" headed by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink; founded in October 1931 as a fusion of several nationalist and national-socialist women's associations. It was designed to create women leaders and supervise indoctrination and training. It had 2 million members by 1938.
Night of the Long Knives - A/K/A "Operation Hummingbird", or more commonly used in Germany "Röhm-Putsch". It was the action that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934 where Hitler and the SS murderously purged the ranks of the Sturmabteilung (SA).
Quisling – A pejorative meaning "traitor" during World War II, commonly used as an insult directed at a citizen who collaborated with the Germans in one of the conquered nations. The term was taken from Vidkun Quisling, the pro-Nazi Norwegian leader.
Rassenschande – (literally "racial shame"); a Nazi term for sexual relations between an Aryan and a "non-Aryan" (including Jews, Slavs, and persons of African ancestry) which were banned by the Nuremberg laws.
Rednerschule der NSDAP – National Socialist Speaker's School
Reichsführer-SS - title held by Heinrich Himmler, head of SS Schutzstaffel. Equal on paper to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall, but in fact more akin to Reichsmarschall from 1942, onward. Himmler amassed even greater power thereafter.
Reichsmordwoche, Nacht der langen Messer – "State Murder Week, Night of the Long Knives" of June–July 1934 during which Hitler assassinated hundreds of party-internal opponents, especially the SA, which was decapitated of its leadership.
Reichsparteitage – "State Party Days", Nazi party rallies, held annually in Nüremberg before the outbreak of war in 1939.
Reichsstatthalter – "imperial Stadtholder", i.e. Reich Governor; after the seizure of power in 1933, local governments were dissolved and the Gauleiters were appointed to govern the states with full powers.
Reichstrunkenbold – "Reich drunkard", derogative name secretly given to Robert Ley whose alcoholism was widely known.
Reichs-Uschla - the highest level of the four-tiered Uschla system, venued in Munich.
Reichswasserleiche – "Reich water corpse", nicknake given to Swedish film actress Kristina Söderbaum due to a tendency of her characters in NS propaganda films such as Jud Süss to commit suicide by drowning.
Revolution der Gesinnung – revolution of attitude; the concept that the German people would not only develop a purified race but also a new mind and spirit. It was about, in Hitler's words, "to create a new man". (5)
Righteous Gentiles- In secular usage, the term is used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust in order to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The secular award (discussed below) by the same name given by the State of Israel has often been translated into English as "Righteous Gentile."
Rottenführer "team leader" - an SA and SS rank, equivalent to Lance-Corporal.
SS-Schütze "rifleman" - lowest rank in the Waffen-SS, equivalent to Private
Schutzstaffel (SS) – "Protection Squadron"; Hitler's personal body guard units which grew militarily into what was in practical terms the fourth branch of the Wehrmacht but was not legally a part of the military (and therefore wore the national emblem on the left sleeve instead of over the right breast pocket). "SS" is formed from (S)chutz(s)taffel.
Allgemeine-SS – "General SS", general main body of the Schutzstaffel made up of the administration, security, intelligence and police branches of the SS; consisting of full-time, part-time and honorary members.
SS-Totenkopfverbände – "Death's Head Units", responsible for the concentration camps.
Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd.Kfz.) – Special purpose motor vehicle; all tanks and other military vehicles were assigned an Sd.Kfz number.
Sprachregelung – a special language that masked the camp conditions and the policy of extermination. It took the words "extermination", "killing", "liquidation"; and substituted for them, the euphemisms: "final solution", "evacuation", "special treatment", "resettlement", "labour in the East". It was developed to deceive victims and to assist SS officials and others to avoid acknowledging reality. (2)
Sprechabend – closed Nazi party meetings
Stabsscharführer "staff squad leader" - a Waffen-SS position (not a rank): the senior NCO in a company, functionally equivalent to a US First Sergeant or UK Company Sergeant Major.
Stahlhelm "Steel Helmet" - right-wing World War I veterans' organization; merged into the SA in 1934.
Standarte - regiment-sized unit of the SA, Allgemeine-SS and Totenkopfverbände.
Totenkopf "death's head" – human-skull emblem worn by members of the SS, and also by Heer (German Army) and Luftwaffe panzer crews, thought to symbolise loyalty beyond death. Not specific to the Third Reich, and previously used by Prussian cavalry units.
Totenkopf-Standarten - Regiment-sized field formations of the Totenkopfverbände. They were merged into the Waffen-SS in August 1940.
V-1 and V-2 – "Vergeltungswaffen" weapons of repayment, Used to attack Britain and other countries controlled by the Allies. The V-1 was the world's first operational cruise missile. Other "V-Waffe" were planned but did not become operational.
Verbotzeit - the time between the Beer Hall Putsch (9 November 1923) and the effective date of the lifting of the ban on the Nazi Party in Bavaria (16 February 1925) in which the NSDAP was officially banned in Bavaria.
Vernichtungslager – death camps. This word was never used by the Nazis themselves.
Volk – People, folk-community, or nation. It is extremely difficult to convey the full meaning of this word in English
Wannsee Conference – a conference held on January 20, 1942 beside Lake Wannsee in Berlin in which it was decided and made official Nazi policy that the total annihilation of European Jews was the only rational means of a "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question.
Wehrbauern – soldier-peasant settlements that were to be established in the East to act as a defensive shield against the inroads of Slav barbarianism.
Wehrkraftzersetzung – a crime invented by the Nazis. It meant "negatively affecting the fighting forces". People who expressed doubts about Germany's chances of winning the war, or about Hitler's leadership were sometimes put to death for Wehrkraftzersetzung.
Wehrmacht "Defence force" – the name of the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. Prior to that time, the Reichswehr. Consisted of the Heer (Army), Kriegsmarine (Navy) and Luftwaffe (Air Force), but not the Waffen-SS or the Police even though they both fielded combat units during the war.
Weltanschauungskrieg – war of ideologies
Winterhilfe – Winter Relief Program and annual fundraising drive by the Nazi Party to support impoverished German victims of the Great Depression and of World War II. The successor to the similar program in existence during the Weimar Republic (1919–1933).
Wirtschaftspolitische Abteilung – 1931 WPA; A NSDAP proposed program
Wirtschaftliches Sofortprogramm – 1932 Economic Program; A NSDAP proposed program
Wirtschaftliches Aufbauprogramm – 1932 Economic Reconstruction Plan; A NSDAP proposed program
Wolfsangel "Wolf's hook" – runic emblem adopted by several military units of Nazi Germany
Wunderwaffe – "silver bullet" (literally, "wonder weapons), referring to weapon systems developed at the end of World War II (such as the V-1 and the V-2) that were supposed to turn around Germany's desperate situation on the battlefields.
Zwischenstaatliche Vertretertagungen – interstate meetings of representatives; DNSAP and NSDAP party congresses of the early years; first one held in Salzburg, Austria.
Zyklon B Also spelled Cyclon B – tradename of a cyanide-based insecticide used to kill more than one million Jews, Gypsies, communists, and prisoners of war in Nazi gas chambers (total number of deaths in the Holocaust total about six million people; the others were killed by other means).
SS – Schutzstaffel – "Protection Squadron" was a major Nazi organization under Heinrich Himmler. It grew from a small paramilitary unit that served as the Führer's "Praetorian Guard" to a powerful police and military force.