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Holocaust Glossary

Allies: A group of 26 nations led by Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union that opposed Germany, Italy, and Japan (known as the Axis partners) in World War II.

Anti-semitism: Prejudice or discrimination against Jews — dislike, fear, and persecution of Jews.

Largest of the Nazi concentration camps, located in southwestern Poland. More than one million Jews were murdered there. All inhabitants of the Secret Annex were sent from Westerbork to Auschwitz in September 1944.

Bergen-Belsen: A concentration camp in northern Germany. Epidemics, overcrowding, and planned starvation in this camp led to the deaths of more than 34,168 people, including Anne and Margot Frank.

Concentration camps: Prison camps that held Jews, Gypsies, political and religious opponents of the Nazis, resistance fighters, homosexual men and women, and others considered enemies of the state. People died of starvation, slave labor, and disease.

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Deportation: Forced removal of Jews in Nazi-occupied countries from their homes.

Final solution: The Nazi plan for the physical destruction of all of Europe's Jewish population.

Forced-labor camps: Camps where prisoners were used as slave labor.

Genocide: Deliberate, systematic murder of an entire political, cultural, racial, or religious group.

Jaundice: A disease, usually of the liver, that turns the skin yellow.*

Mein Kampf (My Struggle): Adolf Hitler's autobiography, written during his imprisonment in 1924. Mein Kampf details his plan to make Europe judenrein or "Jew-free."

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Occupation: Control of a country by a foreign military power. The Netherlands was occupied by the Nazi government of Germany.

Pogrom: Organized violence against Jews, often with the support of the government.

SS: The abbreviation for Schutzstaffel, the black-shirted elite guard of Hitler, later the political police in charge of the concentration and death camps.

Swastika: An ancient religious symbol (a hooked cross) that became the official symbol of the Nazi Party. Now banned in Germany, the swastika is still used by neo-Nazis around the world.

Third Reich: The Nazi name for Germany and the occupied territories from January 1933 to April 1945.

Westerbork: A transit camp in northeastern Holland through which almost 100,000 Jews were deported between 1942 and 1944 to the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibor, Theresienstadt, and Bergen-Belsen concentration and death camps.

Yellow star: The six-pointed Star of David was a Jewish symbol that the Nazis forced Jews above the age of six to wear as a mark of shame and to make Jews visible. In the Netherlands the star carried the word Jood, meaning "Jew," in the middle. From May 1942 until she went into hiding, Anne Frank wore a yellow star, separating her from the rest of the Dutch population.

The glossary words are excerpted from The Reader's Companion to The Diary of a Young Girl. Copyright 1995 Doubleday. All rights reserved. Published by the Anne Frank Center USA and Bantam Doubleday Dell.

*Excerpted from Scholastic Children's Dictionary. Copyright 1996 Scholastic Inc.

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