Glossary

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The following list contains commonly used terms and a brief description of their meaning.

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Anti-Jewish regulations: Regulations introduced from May 1940 by the German occupier in order to deprive Jews of their rights and possessions.

Anti-Semitism: Hatred of Jews.

Arbeitseinsatz: German for labour input. In May 1943 Dutch men between the ages of 18 and 35 had to register for forced labour in Germany, mostly in the war industry.

Aryans: Hitler and his followers thought in terms of ‘races’. According to them the ‘Aryan’ race was superior. Real Germans belonged to this ‘race’.

Aryan declaration: From October 1940 all civil servants had to sign this declaration which enabled the German occupier to establish who was Jewish and who was not. 

Ausweis: German for identity papers.

Betrayal: During the war betrayers were those who told the German police where they could find resistance members or people in hiding. The betrayal of one Jew was rewarded with what was a quarter of a weekly wage for a carpenter.

Blackout: To prevent allied bombers from easily finding their targets windows had to be blacked out so that no lights could be seen.

BS: Abbreviation for the Dutch ‘Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten’. It was officially known as the Dutch Internal Army and by 5 September 1944 was made up of different resistance groups.

Camp Westerbork: Transit camp in the Netherlands where the Nazis ‘held’ more than 100,000 Jews and approximately 250 Roma and Sinti before deporting them in freight cars on to extermination camps in Poland. The people in hiding in the Secret Annex were also deported via Westerbork.

Collaboration: To work together with the enemy. During the war 100,000 members of the NSB (the Dutch Nazi Party) and 20,000 Dutchmen who voluntarily fought with the German army were collaborators.

Communists: Followers of communism, a political doctrine which strives towards a classless society with an economical system based upon collective ownership in which everyone produces according to output and takes according to necessity.

Curfew: Time set when people are not allowed to be on the streets. During the occupation of the Netherlands people were not allowed to be on the streets between midnight and 4 o’clock in the morning. This was not a fixed curfew and could be changed at any time. From February 1942, the curfew was changed and people in Amsterdam had to stay indoors from 8 o’clock in the evening until the following morning.

D-Day: On 6 June 1944 Allied troops landed on Normandy beaches to liberate the occupied countries of Europe. This day was called D-Day.

Deportation: Forced transportation of people from Germany and countries occupied by Germany to transit and concentration camps.

Discrimination: Unequal treatment of people on the grounds of race, belief, politics and gender. The Nazis discriminated against Jews as well as other groups.

Distribution: During the war the Dutch had to show a distribution card in order to obtain ration coupons for food and clothes. In this way scarce items were evenly distributed.

Dolle Dinsdag (Crazy Tuesday): On Tuesday 5 September 1944 the Netherlands was over the moon after hearing (what later appeared to be false) that the city of Breda had been liberated.

Fascists: Followers of fascism. Fascism is the name given to the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s political movement (1922-1944). He believed, just like the Nazis, in one leader and one nation.

February Strike: A strike held in Amsterdam and several other cities on 25 and 26 February 1941. The strike, organized by workers, was a result of outrage about the persecution of the Jews.

Gestapo: Abbreviation for Geheime Staats Polizei, the Nazis’ secret police.

Ghettos: The Nazis forced Jews in eastern Europe to live in ghettos. A ghetto was a closed area, mostly a district in a city. The Jewish neighbourhood in Amsterdam can also be seen as a ghetto.

Hollandsche Schouwburg (Dutch Theatre): Theatre in Amsterdam which the Nazis used to ‘hold’ Jews before deporting them to Westerbork.

Holocaust: Word which refers to the murder of six million Jews during the Second World War. This genocide is also referred to as ‘the Shoah’.

Hongerwinter (winter of starvation): The winter of 1944-1945 is known as the winter of starvation because 20.000 people in the west of the Netherlands died of starvation.

Illegality: Action by resistance groups against the German occupiers. Illegal newspapers were printed, identity papers and rations coupons were stolen and forged and people were helped to find hiding places and with transport. A distinction is made between resistance and illegality: those involved in illegal actions mostly went into hiding while still supporting the resistance.

Immigrants: Immigrants are people who (want to) settle in another country or area.

Jews: This refers to all those with a Jewish mother and/or are of the Jewish faith. Orthodox Jews are strict religious followers, liberal Jews less strict.

Jewish star: A yellow star with six points with the word ‘Jew’ in the middle which all Jews (from six years of age) had to wear from May 1942.

Journeys in search of food: During the hongerwinter (winter of starvation) of 1944 many people from cities in the west of the Netherlands journeyed to the countryside in search of food. They were often given this food but sometimes had to pay large amounts of money or exchange goods to obtain it.

Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass): In the night of 9- 10 November 1938 the Nazis murdered more than 100 Jews in Germany. Hundreds of synagogues and Jewish shops were destroyed. The night got its name because of all the shattered windows.

LO: Abbreviation for the Landelijke Organisatie voor Hulp aan Onderduikers (National organisation for helping people in hiding).

National Socialism: This word refers to the German Nazi Party NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) National Socialist German Workers' Party of which Adolf Hitler was its leader.

NSB: AbbrNazis: Followers of National Socialism were known as Nazis.eviation for the Nationaal Socialistische Beweging. A Dutch wing of the Nazi Party set up on 1931 by Anton Mussert.

NSDAP: Abbreviation for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers' Party) Hitler’s political party which was established in 1920.

PBC: Abbreviation for Persoonsbewijzencentrale (Central office for identity papers). This was an underground organisation during the Second World War which arranged forged identity papers for resistance members and people in hiding.

People in hiding: Those who hid from the occupiers.

Persecution of the Jews: Hitler and his followers persecuted the Jews. They registered, isolated, deported and murdered millions of Jews in Germany and the countries they occupied in Europe.

Pulsen: In Amsterdam most of the houses of deported Jews were ‘emptied’ of possessions by order of the German by the occupier by the Puls Moving Company. The verb used to describe this action was known as ‘pulsen’.

Racism: To differentiate people on the grounds of their ethnicity and to attribute negative characteristics to certain groups.

Radio Orange: A daily radio programme broadcast from London. This Dutch broadcast gave news about the war and was known as Radio Orange.

Razzia (Raid): Raids where streets or whole neighbourhoods were cordoned off, houses searched and people arrested and taken away.

Refugees: People who leave their country because of the political situation or due to war. The Frank family fled from Nazi Germany in 1933 and built up a new life in the Netherlands.Resistance: Civilians who resisted against the Nazis by for example; attacking public registry offices, forging ration coupons, helping people in hiding or by acts of sabotage.

RVV: Abbreviation for Raad van Verzet (Resistance Council) a Dutch umbrella organisation for the resistance organisations.

Sabbath: Also known as Shabbat. The weekly Jewish day of rest which begins on a Friday evening after sunset and ends on Saturday evening when darkness falls.

SD: Abbreviation for the Sicherheitsdienst (German for security service) which was the intelligence service of the SS.

SiPo: Abbreviation for the Sicherheitspolizei (German for security police) The Sicherheitspolizei was made up from the Kriminalpolizei and the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo). These were the state investigation services in Germany after 1933 when the Nazis took over. The Sicherheitsdienst (SD) was the SS intelligence services and a Nazi party organization.

Soup kitchens: A soup kitchen is a simple and cheap place to get food. During the Hongerwinter (winter of starvation) the poor and starving could get a free meal. The food was cooked in large metal tins.

SS: Abbreviation for Schutzstaffel (protection unit) The SS was a special unit of soldiers selected to, amongs other things, guard the camps.

Surrogate: Because products such as coffee, soap and sugar were no longer available they were made from other raw materials. Surrogate coffee was made from the waste from sugar beet.

Swastika: Nazi party symbol.

Synagogue: A synagogue is a room or building where Jews come together to pray, celebrate and study from religious books.

The Allies: Countries who fought during the Second World War against Germany, Italy and Japan. The most important allies were the USA, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and Canada.

Transit camp: A camp where the Nazis brought prisoners together before deporting them to a concentration or extermination camp.

WA: Abbreviation for De Weerbaarheidsafdeling (The Empowerment Dept.) which was a section of the NSB (Dutch Nazi Party) and was responsible for the protection of the movement, its members and leader against any political opponents.

Wehrmacht: The German army under the political leadership of Adolf Hitler in the Third Reich between 1935 and 1945.

Zwarte Front (Black Front): This was a Dutch fascist organization which was active from 1934 to 1941.