Photo of Jews Bound for Death Camps | The Trial of Adolf Eichmann
Photo of Jews boarding trains bound for death camps Circa 1942.

Eichmann Trial Vocabulary


alias– An assumed name, often for the purpose of deception.

Allies— The nations, including the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union, united against the Axis powers (chiefly Germany and Italy) during World War II.

Aryanization — The compulsory expropriation of Jewish industries, businesses and shops.

Auschwitz — The most infamous and largest of the Nazi death camps, located near Cracow in Southwestern Poland.

concentration camp — A prison with barracks rather than cells, used by the Nazis to house thousands of inmates en masse under intolerably inhuman conditions.

conspiracy–An action by two or more persons to secretly plot to commit an unlawful act.

crematorium— An oven where the bodies of newly murdered prisoners of camps, and those who died from other causes, were incinerated.

death camps — Centers established in mostly rural areas designed specifically for mass murder. Six death camps (Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Maidanek, Chelmno and Belzec) were established solely for the extermination of European Jewry.

death marches — Forced marches under brutal conditions required of death camp and concentration camp inmates by the Nazis to avoid liberation by advancing Allied forces.

deportation — The forced transport of people outside of the area where they live.

Einsatzgruppen — “Special Action Squads” of the S.S. which had as their mission to seek out and murder Jews, Communists and Gypsies.

extermination — Mass murder, in the context of the killing of Jews in a manner which would be no less heinous than the killing of insects.

Final Solution — The term used by the Nazis to describe their program of mass murder of the Jewish people.

Führer — A leader, especially one exercising the absolute power of a tyrant. Hitler’s title as leader of the Nazi party, and Chief of the German state.

gas chambers — Rooms constructed to be air-tight so that poison gas introduced into the room would kill large numbers of people.

genocide — (genos=people, race, kind; cide=murder) The use of deliberate, systematic measures (as killing, bodily or mental injury, unlivable conditions, prevention of births, forcible transfer of children of the group to another group) calculated to bring about the destruction of a racial, political or cultural group or to destroy the language, religion or culture of a group.

Gestapo — (Geheime Staatspolizei) or Secret State Police, was formed in April 1933. It was not accountable to any other civil authority, and was permitted to surveil, question, and imprison “suspects” without due process.

ghetto — A section of a city in which Jews were required to live surrounded by walls. In modern times, the term has come to mean sections or cities predominantly inhabited by minority groups which may have socio-economic rather than physical barriers.

Holocaust — Literally, “fire that causes destruction,” has been used to designate the destruction of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

Indictment–To charge with a crime by the finding or presentment of a grand jury.

Israel–An area in the Middle East along the Mediterranean Sea which became an independent nation in May 1948, almost a year after being designated by the United Nations as a homeland for the Jewish people.

Judenrat (Jewish Councils)— Jewish groups established by the Nazis in occupied territories to represent Jewish interests.

labor camp — A prison camp where the prisoners were used as slave labor for German industry and war machine.

Nazi (National Socialism) — The abbreviation for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, the political party led by Adolf Hitler in Germany from1933-1945.

Nuremberg Trials — A series of trials held in Nuremberg, Germany, conducted by the victorious Allies, which charged high-ranking Nazis and German leaders with war crimes and “crimes against humanity.”

Palestine— Land in the Middle East acquired by the British Empire after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire which, in 1947, was partitioned by the UN between Arabs and Jews, and which provoked an invasion by five Arab Armies in 1948. The defeat of these armies by the Jews led to the establishment of the State of Israel.

S.S. (Schutzstaffel) — The Defense Corps (“black-shirts”) which was the paramilitary organization of the Nazi government which evolved out of the S.A. It was under the direction of Heinrich Himmler.

typhus – A disease transmitted by lice or fleas which was epidemic in Nazi concentration camps.

Wannsee Conference— A 1 1/2 hour meeting on January 20, 1942 in Wannsee, a Berlin suburb, at which the details of the “Final Solution” were worked out. The meeting was convened by Reinhard Heydrich, who was the head of the S.S. main office and S.S. Chief Heinrich Himmler’s top aide.

The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate the Nazi bureaucracy required to carry out the ”Final Solution,” which provided for deportation of Jews to killing centers, immediate death for those who were unable to work (the very young, the old, and the weak), segregation by gender of the remaining Jews, decimation through forced labor with insufficient nourishment, and eventual death for the remnant.

Warsaw Ghetto— A ghetto in Poland which, at its peak, had a half-million residents. By 1943, the ghetto had been depleted by starvation, disease, cold, and deportation, and had just 60,000 remaining.

Residents organized an uprising against the Nazis. Scores of German soldiers were killed. Some historical accounts report that 300 Germans were killed and 1,000 wounded, although the actual figure is unknown.

After four weeks of intense fighting, the ghetto was reduced to rubble following bomber attacks, gas attacks, and burning of every structure by the Nazis. The entire ghetto was razed to the ground and few inhabitants survived.

zyklon B — A cyanide gas developed to kill Jews at Auschwitz in a manner which was more efficient than using carbon monoxide gas.

Zionism — The nationalistic movement of the Jewish people. In modern times, it referred to the establishment of a Jewish state in what is now the modern State of Israel.

by Gary Grobman
copyright © 1997 Gary M. Grobman

Note: Material in all capital letters is copyrighted by other individuals/organizations.

Eichmann Trial Vocabulary

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