Aktion (plural: Aktionen)
Nazi term for an operation in which members of a Jewish community were forcibly assembled and then either deported to an extermination camp or shot locally.
Code name for the largest killing operation of the Holocaust in which at least 1.7 million Jews (mainly from Poland) were murdered in the General Government between March 1942 and November 1943. Most victims were murdered in Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka extermination camps but at least 300,000 were shot.
German annexation of Austria on 13 March 1938.
Term originally applied to speakers of Indo-European languages. The Nazis and other racists used it to describe people of white European origin, especially northern Europeans.
Concentration and extermination camp in the Polish town of Oświęcim. Created as a concentration camp for Polish political prisoners in 1940, it became an extermination camp in early 1942. Eventually, it consisted of three main sections: Auschwitz I, the concentration camp; Auschwitz II (Birkenau), an extermination and slave labour camp; Auschwitz III (Monowitz), a slave labour camp. Auschwitz also had numerous sub-camps. More than 1.1 million people lost their lives in Auschwitz-Birkenau, including approximately 1 million Jews, 75,000 Poles, 21,000 Sinti and Roma, and 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war.
Ravine on the edge of Kiev in which 33,771 Jews were murdered on 29-30 September 1941.
Extermination camp in the General Government region of Poland which operated between March and December 1942. According to German figures, 434,508 Jews were deported to Bełżec; two survived.
Concentration camp in north-western Germany, originally established in 1940 for prisoners of war. From 1943 so-called ‘privileged’ Jews, such as holders of non-European passports, were sent to Belsen. Tens of thousands of Jewish prisoners were evacuated from Auschwitz and other camps to Belsen in 1944-45, leading to catastrophic overcrowding, starvation and a typhus epidemic. An estimated 50,000 lost their lives, mainly in the very last months of the war.
Four Jewish brothers (led by the eldest, Tuvia) who formed a partisan group in forests near Nowogródek in Poland (now Belarus) in early 1942. The Bielski partisans sheltered more than 1,200 Jews who had escaped from ghettos in a so-called ‘family camp’ until liberation.
City in eastern Germany (now Wrocław in Poland) which was home to the country’s second largest Jewish population.
Extermination camp in the Warthegau region of Poland which initially operated between December 1941 and March 1943. Reactivated in June 1944 for the liquidation of the Łódź Ghetto. Victims were killed in gas vans. At least 152,000 Jews, along with around 5,000 Roma from Austria, were murdered in Chełmno; six people survived.
Prison camp in which inmates were forced to undertake hard labour. The first Nazi concentration camps, with the exception of Dachau (created March 1933), were generally small and temporary. From 1936 onwards larger camps such as Sachsenhausen (1936), Buchenwald (1937) and Mauthausen (1938) were established, usually linked to economic enterprises run by the SS. Most inmates were political opponents of the Nazis or so-called ‘asocials’ (such as gay men, beggars and habitual criminals). Although more than 30,000 Jews were held in camps after Kristallnacht in 1938, the concentration camps in Germany and Austria (unlike those in Poland) had a limited role in the Holocaust until late 1944 when they began to receive tens of thousands of prisoners evacuated from the camps in the East. This led to catastrophic conditions in which huge numbers of Jews and others died.
Name given to the forcible movement of prisoners (especially Jews) from the concentration and labour camps in the East to camps in Germany from the autumn of 1944 onwards. Thousands died on these marches from cold, hunger and shootings by the guards.
Displaced Persons camp
Camp established by the Allies after the Second World War, mainly for survivors of Nazi persecution and refugees from eastern Europe whilst they awaited repatriation to their home countries or resettlement in a new destination. Most DP camps were in Germany.
Eichmann, Adolf (1906-1962)
SS and SD official who was instrumental in perpetrating the Holocaust by organising the deportation of Jews from across Europe to the extermination camps. Escaped to Argentina after the war but was captured by the Israeli secret service in 1960. Tried and convicted in Jerusalem in 1961; executed in 1962.
Mobile SS killing squads made up of members of the Gestapo, criminal police and SD (SS intelligence service). During the invasion of Poland, Einsatzgruppen shot thousands of members of the Polish elites and, in some cases, Jews. Larger units were formed for Operation Barbarossa and shot hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews in the course of 1941. Similar massacres were also perpetrated by police battalions, other German units and local collaborators.
Literally ‘Harvest Festival’ (German). Code name for the largest single massacre of the Holocaust in which approximately 42,000 Jewish prisoners were shot in Majdanek and forced labour camps in the Lublin region of the General Government on 3-4 November 1943.
Term normally used to describe a painless, voluntary death for the terminally ill. The Nazis used the term for the programme of state-sponsored murder of around 200,000 people with mental and physical disabilities in Germany and Austria: 70,000 were victims of the gas chambers of the T4 programme; others (including disabled children) were killed through deliberate starvation or lethal injection. The Nazis also murdered an unknown number of disabled people in Poland during the war.
Meeting of 32 countries in France in July 1938 to discuss the question of German Jewish refugees. Accomplished little as most countries were reluctant to accept large numbers.
Nazi camp for the mass murder of Jews, primarily by poison gas. Four camps were created in Poland in 1941-42 which existed solely for the murder of Jews: Bełżec, Chełmno, Sobibór and Treblinka. Almost every person brought to these camps was murdered immediately: only a small number of Jews from each transport were selected to work in the camp (e.g. sorting the property of victims, disposing of the bodies) and most of them were soon murdered. In addition, the already existing Auschwitz-Birkenau camp became an extermination camp in spring 1942. Because Birkenau was also a slave labour camp, larger numbers of Jews were selected to work, giving them a slightly higher chance of survival. A number of other camps, notably Majdanek and Maly Trostenets, have sometimes also been described as extermination camps.
‘Final Solution’ (German: ‘Endlösung’)
Nazi euphemism for the plan to murder all European Jews.
Forced labour camp
Nazi camp, usually for Jews, in which inmates were used as slave labour. The first forced labour camps were established in Poland in 1940. As Nazi policy evolved to systematic mass murder in late 1941 and early 1942, new forced labour camps were created in Poland and the Soviet Union which held Jews who had been selected for work rather than transport to killing sites. It was instead intended that these Jews would be worked to death. Most forced labour camps were liquidated in 1943 although a small number survived into 1944.
Vehicle whose exhaust was redirected to its rear compartment. Originally developed to kill psychiatric patients in Poland in 1940, from 1941 gas vans were used for the murder of Jews at Chełmno as well as in Belgrade and several locations in the Soviet Union.
Political unit, essentially a German colony, created in 1939 by the Nazis from those areas of Poland which were not directly incorporated into Germany or the Soviet Union. Included many of Poland’s major Jewish communities such as Warsaw, Kraków and Lublin.
Term first coined during the Second World War by the lawyer Raphael Lemkin to describe the deliberate and systematic destruction of a religious, racial, national or cultural group.
Nazi secret police force created in 1933. Controlled by Himmler from 1934.
Section of a town or city where Jews were forced to live. Ghettos had existed in many parts of Europe in the Medieval and the Early Modern periods. They were revived by the Germans following the invasion of Poland: the first Nazi ghetto was created in Piotrków Trybunalski in October 1939. More ghettos were established in 1940 although widespread ghettoisation only began in 1941. Ghettos were also created in the Soviet Union from late 1941 onwards, usually for Jews of working age who had survived the Einsatzgruppen massacres. Many, though not all, ghettos were ‘closed’: i.e., surrounded by walls with exit forbidden. Ghettos were characterised by overcrowding, hunger, disease and exploitation for slave labour. All were eventually liquidated with the Jews deported to extermination camps or shot.
Globocnik, Odilo (1904-1945)
SS and Police Leader in the Lublin district of the General Government. A fanatical racist, Globocnik was devoted to Himmler, who had saved his career after an earlier corruption scandal. Working closely with Himmler, Globocnik initiated and implemented Aktion Reinhard. Committed suicide in 1945 after capture by the British.
Goebbels, Joseph (1897-1945)
Nazi Minister of Propaganda and leader of the Nazi Party in Berlin. Organised the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938 and was instrumental in persuading Hitler to begin the deportation of German Jews to the East in September 1941. Committed suicide in Berlin in 1945.
Göring, Hermann (1893-1946)
Second most important man in the Nazi Party in the 1930s and the early stages of the Second World War although his influence later waned. Held many offices including, from 1936, Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, making him virtual dictator of Germany’s economy. As such he was heavily involved in economic measures against German Jews. In 1941, acting on Hitler’s behalf, he instructed Heydrich to prepare a ‘total solution to the Jewish question’. Captured at the end of the war and sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials; committed suicide the night before he was due to be hanged.
Commonly used term, often considered pejorative, to describe the Romani people, an ethnic group who trace their origins to northern India. Although Romani are stereotypically seen as nomadic, many ‘Gypsies’ lived in settled communities. The principal Romani groups were Roma and Sinti. The Nazis regarded ‘Gypsies’ as racially inferior and a danger to ‘Aryan’ society. Although policy varied from country to country, around 220,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered by the Nazis. This genocide is referred to by the Romani term Porajmos (‘devouring’).
Heydrich, Reinhard (1904-1942)
Head of the SD (SS intelligence agency) and later of the Gestapo and criminal police. As Himmler’s deputy, and also under orders from Hitler and Göring, Heydrich oversaw the development of the ‘Final Solution’ in the key 1941-42 period and chaired the Wannsee Conference. In 1941 he was also appointed Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. On 27 May 1942 he was shot in Prague by members of the Czech resistance and died on 4 June; Aktion Reinhard was named in his honour.
Himmler, Heinrich (1900-1945)
Leader of the SS and, from 1936, chief of all police forces in Germany. Himmler used his positions to control racial policy, especially once war broke out. As a result, he worked closely with Hitler to take the decisions which led to the Holocaust, and the SS and police became the principal, though not only, organisers of the murders. Committed suicide in 1945 after capture by the British.
Hitler, Adolf (1889-1945)
Leader of the Nazi Party and, from 30 January 1933, of Germany. Although Hitler’s laziness and dislike of routine meant that he largely avoided day-to-day government business, he was responsible for key decisions with regard to Jewish and foreign policy. Committed suicide in Berlin in 1945.
Hoess, Rudolf (1900-1947)
Career SS officer who was appointed as first commandant of Auschwitz in May 1940. Hoess oversaw the camp’s expansion and its development into an extermination camp. Transferred in late 1943, he returned to Auschwitz in spring 1944 to oversee the murder of the Jews of Hungary. Sentenced to death by a Polish court in 1947 and subsequently hanged at Auschwitz.
Literally ‘completely burnt sacrifice’ (Greek). Term most commonly used to describe the mass murder of approximately 6 million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. Although certain other groups were victims of Nazi persecution and genocide, only Jews were targeted for complete destruction. Thus, when used by historians, the term refers specifically to the murder of Europe’s Jews rather than to Nazi persecution in general.
The Nazis regarded homosexuality as a threat to the survival of the supposed ‘master race’ because it meant that there were men who were not fathering children. Consequently, approximately 50,000 gay men in Germany were sent to prison or concentration camps.
Forced labour camp in Lwów. Created in late 1941, it became a killing site during Aktion Reinhard. Around 70,000 Jews were murdered in Janowska. Most were shot; others died from the appalling living and working conditions.
Concentration camp, nicknamed ‘the Auschwitz of the Balkans’, created and run by the Ustaše regime in Croatia between 1941 and 1945. At least 70,000 people, most of them Serbs but also including Jews and Roma, were murdered in Jasenovac and its sub-camps.
Religious group which originated in the USA. Witnesses refuse to salute the flag, serve in the army or participate in politics. As a result, they were persecuted by the Nazis and several thousand, mostly from Germany, were sent to prison or concentration camps.
A distinctive sign, usually a Star of David, which Jews were forced to wear in most countries under Nazi control, beginning with Poland in 1939. Depending on the country, it took the form of an armband or a badge.
Jewish Combat Organisation (ŻOB)
Name of the principal resistance group in the Warsaw Ghetto; commanded by Mordechai Anielewicz. Created in 1942, the ŻOB played the leading role in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Similar resistance groups in a number of other ghettos, such as Kraków, took the same name.
Judenrat (plural: Judenräte)
Jewish council established by the Nazis to carry out their instructions. Most Judenräte tried to balance this role with caring for the welfare of their communities.
Prisoner chosen by the SS to oversee a group of prisoners in a concentration camp.
Karski, Jan (1914-2000)
Polish resistance activist. On behalf of the Polish underground, Karski visited the Warsaw Ghetto and the Izbica transit ghetto in 1942. He then travelled to the UK and the USA where he brought news of the Holocaust in Poland to political leaders such as President Roosevelt.
City in Lithuania which served as the country’s capital between the wars. More than 15,000 local Jews were shot in Kaunas in 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The remainder were held in a ghetto; most of its inmates were shot in 1943 or 1944, when the ghetto was finally liquidated. The mass shootings in Kaunas mostly took place in a series of forts around the city, notably the Ninth Fort. The victims of the Ninth Fort also included German and French Jews who were deported there and shot on arrival.
Literally ‘children’s transport’ (German). Programme whereby the British government allowed the admission of almost 10,000 mostly Jewish child refugees from central Europe following Kristallnacht until the outbreak of war curtailed the operation. Because of immigration restrictions, most of the children were unaccompanied and they had to be sponsored by welfare agencies.
Korczak, Janusz (1878?-1942)
Pseudonym of Henryk Goldszmit, a Polish-Jewish educator, paediatrician and children’s author. Korczak established an orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw in 1911. The orphanage was relocated with the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto in November 1940. Korczak, his co-workers and the children were deported to their deaths at Treblinka in August 1942.
Polish city which was a major centre of European Jewish culture. Kraków was chosen by the Nazis as the capital of the General Government, which contributed to the decision in 1940 to expel most of the city’s almost 60,000 Jews. The remainder – around 15,000 – were forced into a ghetto in March 1941; most were murdered at Bełżec in 1942. The ghetto was liquidated in March 1943 when inhabitants were either shot or sent to Płaszów forced labour camp on the edge of the city.
‘Night of Broken Glass’ (German). Nationwide pogrom, organised by the Nazis, on the night of 9-10 November 1938 in which Jewish businesses and homes were attacked and looted, synagogues burned, and 91 people killed. More than 30,000 Jews were held in concentration camps until they agreed to leave Germany. The pretext for the pogrom was the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a young Jewish man whose parents had been deported by the Nazis; in reality, a violent action against Jews had been planned for months.
Levi, Primo (1919-1987)
Italian Jewish chemist who was deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His scientific background meant that he was eventually selected to work in the IG Farben chemical factory attached to Auschwitz III. His memoir If This is a Man (also published as Survival in Auschwitz) was one of the earliest and best-known survivor accounts. Committed suicide in 1987.
Polish city which was home to Europe’s second largest pre-war Jewish population. A ghetto was created in April 1940, containing 164,000 people. From October 1941 transports of German, Austrian and Czech Jews were brought to the ghetto. Most inhabitants were murdered at Chełmno in 1942. The ghetto was finally liquidated in the summer of 1944 with deportations to Chełmno and Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Polish city which was both a major Jewish cultural centre and the headquarters of Aktion Reinhard. More than 30,000 Jews were forced into a ghetto in March 1941; almost all were murdered a year later, through deportation to Bełżec or shooting locally, when the city became the first target of Aktion Reinhard. The few thousand survivors were transferred to a new ghetto which was liquidated in November 1942. Lublin was also the site of Majdanek concentration camp and a network of forced labour camps.
City in eastern Poland (now L’viv in Ukraine) which was home to the country’s third largest Jewish population (more than 100,000). Thousands of Jews were shot in the summer of 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Most of the remainder were forced into a ghetto later that year. Almost all of Lwów’s Jews were murdered in 1942, either through deportation to Bełżec or shooting at Janowska. The few thousand who survived that year were murdered, mostly at Janowska, when the ghetto was liquidated in the summer of 1943
Nazi plan, developed in the summer of 1940, to deport all Jews from German-occupied Europe to the French colony of Madagascar. Abandoned because Germany’s failure to defeat Britain meant that it lacked the naval resources and security to carry out transports.
Concentration camp, created in Lublin in 1941, which predominantly held Jews and Poles. Jewish prisoners were those selected for labour rather than deportation to Bełżec, Sobibór or Treblinka. However, Majdanek itself became a killing site in late 1942. Approximately 78,000 prisoners died, 59,000 of them Jewish. Although Majdanek had gas chambers, many victims were shot, including 18,000 Jews on one day (3 November 1943) during the Erntefest.
Camp originally created to hold Soviet POWs on a former collective farm outside Minsk in the summer of 1941. Maly Trostenets became an extermination camp for Jews in the summer of 1942. Victims included both Belarusian Jews and German Jews deported to Minsk. Some were murdered in gas vans; others were shot. It is estimated that around 60,000 were murdered.
Mengele, Josef (1907-1979)
SS officer and doctor who served in Auschwitz-Birkenau where he conducted pseudo-medical experiments on prisoners and was amongst the doctors who performed selections for the gas chambers when new transports of Jews arrived. Escaped to South America after the war.
Abbreviation, originally coined by political opponents, for the National Socialist German Workers Party and its members. Founded as the German Workers Party by Anton Drexler in 1919, it took its more familiar name in 1920 and was led by Hitler from 1921 onwards. From the beginning, the party espoused a radical antisemitic ideology.
Treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed on 23 August 1939. Officially a non-aggression agreement, the pact and the subsequent German-Soviet Friendship Treaty (28 September 1939) contained secret clauses which provided for the division of Poland and much of the rest of eastern Europe between the two countries. When Hitler broke the pact by invading the USSR in June 1941, all of the territory in Poland, the Baltic States and Romania which had been occupied by the Soviets came under the control of Germany or its allies.
Two anti-Jewish laws enacted in September 1935 during the Nazi Party conference in Nuremberg which provided the basis for removing Jews from all spheres of German life. The Reich Citizenship Law effectively deprived Jews of German citizenship and associated rights. The Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour outlawed marriage and sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews as well as prohibiting Jews from employing non-Jewish female servants of childbearing age and displaying the German flag. Supplementary laws defined who was a Jew, with a range of categories created for Germans of mixed ancestry.
Name given to the trial of major Nazi war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (representing Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the USA) between November 1945 and October 1946 and to subsequent trials of senior Nazis, industrialists, generals and doctors before US judges between 1946 and 1949.
Code name, literally ‘joy of the Sabbath’ (Hebrew), of a project coordinated by the Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum which collected materials – including diaries, statistical questionnaires, essays, posters, and even mundane items such as sweet wrappers – on Jewish life in Warsaw between 1939 and 1943. The archive was buried in metal boxes and milk churns in three caches during the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 and 1943. Two of the caches were discovered after the war and their contents are now held at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
Code name for the German invasion of the Soviet Union which began on 22 June 1941.
Irregular soldiers involved in guerrilla warfare. Many Jewish partisan groups were formed in Poland and the USSR during the war.
Violent attack on a Jewish community, usually condoned or sponsored by the state.
Armed unit of German regular policemen. Along with the Einsatzgruppen, the police battalions played a leading role in mass executions of Jews in eastern Europe.
Ponary (Polish), Ponar (Yiddish)
Forest outside Vilna. Around 70,000 Jews from modern Lithuania and Belarus were shot there between the summer of 1941 and September 1943. Several thousand Poles were also shot.
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Name given to the Czech territory occupied by Germany in March 1939.
Capital of Latvia. Several thousand local Jews were shot in the summer of 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The remainder were forced into a ghetto in the autumn of that year. Almost all – more than 25,000 – were then shot at Rumbula forest outside the city in November and December 1941. The largely empty ghetto was then occupied by Jews who were deported to Riga from Germany, Austria and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; most of them were shot at Biķernieki forest on the edge of the city in 1942. The few thousand survivors were sent to Kaiserwald concentration camp in Riga in 1943, where most died.
Righteous Among the Nations
Title awarded by Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial museum and remembrance authority, to non-Jews who rescued Jews from Nazi persecution and the Holocaust. To date, more than 25,000 Righteous have been honoured. The largest numbers have come from Poland (more than 6,000), the Netherlands (more than 5,000) and France (more than 3,000).
Schindler, Oskar (1908-1974)
German from the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia where he spied for Germany in the 1930s. One of many German businessmen who saw the invasion of Poland as an opportunity to get rich, Schindler took over an enamelware factory in Kraków where he employed Jewish forced labourers. As the factory was deemed essential to the war effort, these workers had some protection from deportation. When the SS decided to close it in 1944, Schindler secured the removal of 1,200 of his workers to a new factory in Czechoslovakia, thereby saving their lives.
Euphemism for the process of choosing victims for death in camps and ghettos by separating them from those considered fit for work.
Literally ‘catastrophe’ (Hebrew). A term for the Holocaust preferred by many Jews.
Extermination camp in the General Government region of Poland which operated between May 1942 and October 1943. At least 170,000 Jews were murdered in Sobibór. On 14 October 1943 the inmates revolted and some 300 escaped; around 50 survived the war.
Jewish prisoners in the extermination camps who were forced to work in and around the gas chambers.
Soviet prisoners of war
During the course of Operation Barbarossa, 5.7 million Red Army soldiers were taken prisoner by Germany. The Nazis regarded them as both ideological and racial enemies. Around 3.3 million died in Nazi captivity, most from autumn 1941 to spring 1942 when they were held in ‘camps’ which were usually fenced off fields with no food or accommodation.
Nazi Party organisation which was originally created as Hitler’s bodyguard. Under the leadership of Himmler, the SS grew to become a ‘state within a state’ which controlled the concentration camps and racial policy, ran its own businesses and had its own armed forces.
Terezín (Czech), Theresienstadt (German)
Garrison town in northern Czechoslovakia which was transformed into a Jewish ghetto in late 1941. Terezín served both as a transit camp for deportations of Czech Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau and as a ‘model ghetto’ to which certain groups of German and Austrian Jews were sent such as war veterans, partners in mixed marriages and prominent community leaders. In this way, Terezín was intended to deceive public opinion and the international community, notably the International Red Cross who inspected the ghetto in June 1944. In reality, 35,000 Jews died in Terezín and more than 80,000 were deported to extermination camps.
Code name for the operation (approved by Hitler in October 1939) in which 70,000 German and Austrian adults with disabilities were murdered in gas chambers at six killing centres, mostly former hospitals, between 1939 and 1941. Officially ended in August 1941, partly because of public protests, although killings of disabled people continued by other means to the end of the war. Many T4 staff were transferred to Poland to run the Aktion Reinhard extermination camps.
Camp in which Jews were held prior to deportation to extermination camps. Examples included Drancy (France), Mechelen (Belgium) and Westerbork (the Netherlands).
Name given to a region of southern Ukraine occupied by Romania following Operation Barbarossa in 1941. From the autumn of 1941 onwards, more than 150,000 Jews from modern Moldova and southern Ukraine were deported by the Romanian government to makeshift ghettos and camps in Transnistria. Tens of thousands lost their lives as a result of mass shootings as well as starvation and disease.
Extermination camp in the General Government region of Poland which operated between July 1942 and August 1943. At least 780,000 Jews were murdered in Treblinka. On 2 August 1943 the inmates revolted and several hundred escaped; around 60 survived the war.
Croatian Fascist movement, led by Ante Pavelić, which took control of the newly-created Independent State of Croatia in April 1941, following the German dismemberment of Yugoslavia. Without prompting from the Nazis, the Ustaše launched its own campaign of genocide in the summer of 1941 which targeted Serbs, Jews and Roma. At least 300,000 people were murdered, most of them Serbs.
Common anglicisation of the Polish city of Wilno (now Vilnius, capital of Lithuania), which was one of the major centres of Jewish culture in Europe. The majority of the city’s almost 60,000 Jews were shot at Ponary in the summer and autumn of 1941 following the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The remainder were forced into a small ghetto which was finally liquidated in September 1943 when its inhabitants were either shot at Ponary or deported to labour camps in Latvia and Estonia, where most subsequently died.
Wallenberg, Raoul (1912-??)
Swedish diplomat who, along with diplomats of other neutral countries, saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in 1944 by issuing passports which exempted them from deportation. After the liberation of Budapest in 1945, he was arrested by the Soviet secret police and later died in Soviet captivity.
Meeting of senior Nazi leaders and officials, chaired by Heydrich, on 20 January 1942 at a villa outside Berlin to discuss the ‘Final Solution’. The conference had two main purposes: to coordinate all institutions involved in the Holocaust and to assert the control of the SS over the process.
Capital of Poland and home to Europe’s largest pre-war Jewish population. A ghetto was created in November 1940 which, at its peak in spring 1941, contained more than 430,000 Jews. More than 70,000 died as a result of starvation and disease. Between 22 July and 12 September 1942 the Nazis carried out the ‘Great Aktion’ in which at least 235,000 Warsaw Jews were deported to their deaths in Treblinka. When deportations resumed in 1943 they were met with resistance, culminating in the ghetto uprising of 19 April to 16 May, the first significant civilian rebellion anywhere in occupied Europe. Survivors of the uprising were sent to their deaths in Treblinka or to labour camps in the Lublin region where most were later murdered in the Erntefest.
Region of western Poland, including Łódź, incorporated into Germany in 1939.
Code name of the Council to Aid Jews, established by the Polish underground in December 1942. Provided money and hiding places for Jews who had escaped from the ghettos. Only organisation of its kind in occupied Europe.