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AKTION Operation involving the mass assembly, deportation, and murder of Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Immediately after their assumption of power on January 30, 1933, the Nazis established concentration camps for the imprisonment of all "enemies" of their regime: actual and potential political opponents (e.g. Communists, Socialists, Monarchists), Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals and other "asocials" were included later on. The general round-up of Jews did not start until 1938. Before then, only Jews who fit one of their earlier categories were interned in camps. The first three concentration camps were Dachau (near Munich), Buchenwald (near Weimar) and Sachsenhausen (near Berlin).
Nazi camps for the mass killing, by gas, of Jews and others (e.g. Gypsies, Russian prisoners-of-war, ill prisoners). Known as "death camps," these were: Auschwitz, Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. All were located in Eastern Europe.
FINAL SOLUTION The cover name for the plan to destroy the Jews of Europe, the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". Beginning in December 1941, Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps in the East. The program was deceptively disguised as "resettlement in the East".
GENOCIDE The partial or entire destruction of religious, racial or national groups.
GHETTO The Nazis revived the medieval ghetto to describe their compulsory "Jewish Quarter" (Wohnbezirk). These were poor sections of a city where all Jews from the surrounding areas were forced to reside. Established mostly in Eastern Europe (e.g. Lodz, Warsaw, Vilna, Riga, Minsk), the ghettos were characterized by overcrowding, starvation and heavy labor. All were eventually dissolved and the Jews deported to death camps.
HOLOCAUST The destruction of some 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their followers in Europe between the years 1933-1945. Other individuals and groups suffered grievously during this period, but only the Jews were marked for complete and utter annihilation. The term "Holocaust" - literally meaning "a completely burnt sacrifice" - tends to suggest a sacrificial connotation to what occurred. The word Shoah, originally a Biblical term meaning widespread disaster, is the modern Hebrew equivalent.
Council of Jewish representatives set up in communities and ghettos under the Nazis, to carry out their instructions.
JUDENREIN German for "clean of Jews," denoting areas where all Jews had been either murdered or deported.
UMSCHLAGPLATZ German word meaning "transshipment place." It was a square in the Warsaw Ghetto where Jews were herded together for deportation to Treblinka.
WARSAW GHETTO Established in November 1940, the Ghetto was surrounded by a wall confining almost 500,000 Jews. Nearly 45,000 Jews died there in 1941 alone, due to over-crowding, forced labor, lack of sanitation, starvation, and disease. A revolt took place in the Ghetto in April 1943, when the Germans, commanded by General Jrgen Stroop, attempted to raze the Ghetto and deport the remaining inhabitants to Treblinka. The uprising, led by Mordecai Anielewicz, lasted 28 days.

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