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Glossary of Nazi Germany: Wikis


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This is a list of words, terms, concepts, and slogans that were specifically used in Nazi Germany.

Some words were coined by Adolf Hitler and other Nazi Party members. Other words and concepts were borrowed and appropriated. Yet other terms were already in use during the Weimar Republic. Finally, some are taken from Germany's cultural tradition.

Contents: Top · 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


  • agrarpolitischer Apparat (aA) – Agrarian Apparatus; Agricultural Affairs Bureau of the NSDAP.
    • Leadership hierarchy: Reichsleitungsfachberater held by Richard Walther Darré; Gaufachberater; Bezirksfachberater; Kreisfachberater; Ortsgruppenfachberater.
    • Agents: LVL; Landesfachberater (consultants).
    • Administrative: Hilfsreferenten (staff members); Sachbearbeiter (aides); Hilfsreferenten responsible for day-to-day propaganda campaign.
  • Ahnenpass (ancestor passport) allowing to document one's Aryan race lineage.
  • Aktion T4 – code name for the extermination of mentally ill and handicapped patients by the Nazi authorities. (Named after Tiergartenstraße 4, the address of Nazi Central Office in Berlin.)
  • Alles für Deutschland (Everything for Germany) – Motto applied to the blades of uniform daggers worn by the SA and NSKK.
  • Alter Kämpfer (Old fighter) – A Nazi Party member who joined the party before the Beer Hall Putsch.
  • Altreichold state or old country; term used after the annexation of Austria in 1938 to refer to that part of Germany that was within the 1937 (pre-annexation) boundaries.
  • Amtsleiter – convener of NSDAP Party committees. They were personally answerable to Hitler.
  • Anschluss (Anschluß) – annexation, in particular the annexation of Austria in 1938.
  • Anti-Comintern Pact – the agreement by Germany, Japan and Italy to oppose the Communist International (the Comintern) directed by Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union.
  • anti-semitism- Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism, also known as judeophobia) is prejudice and hostility toward Jews as a religious, racial, or ethnic group. Not specific to the Third Reich.
  • Arbeit adelt "Labor ennobles" – Motto applied to the blades of uniform daggers worn by officers of the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD, the State Labor Service).
  • Arbeit macht frei – "Work makes free", an old German peasant saying, not invented by the Nazis. It was placed above the gate to Auschwitz by the commandant Rudolf Höß.
  • Arbeitnehmerschaft – workforce. The Nazis took this word to mean both manual and mental workers.
  • "Arbeitertum der Faust und der Stirn" – "Workers of both manual and mental labor"; the Nazi Party self description as an "all-inclusive workers' party" (a term originally designed to carry anti-Communist overtones).
  • Ariernachweis - a Certificate of Descent (to show "Aryan" heritage)(popular name).


  • Bandenbekämpfung - "Warfare against Bandits" - anti-partisan struggle
  • Bekennende Kirche – "Confessing Church". The groups of the Protestant churches that resisted Nazification.
  • Berufskammern – Nazi's professional organizations
  • Bezirksleiter – NSDAP district leaders
  • Blitzkrieg – lightning war – quick army invasions aided by tanks and airplanes;
  • Blockleiter – lowest official of the NSDAP, responsible for the political supervision of a (city) block, usually 40 to 60 households.
  • Blutfahne "Blood flag" – An SA flag bloodied in the attempted Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, November 9, 1923, and revered by the Nazi Party, used in ceremonies.
  • Blut und Boden – "Blood and soil". Slogan adopted by the Nazis; it was originally coined by the German former Social Democrat August Winnig, cfr. his Das Reich als Republik 1918–1928, (Stuttgart and Berlin: Cotta, 1928), pg 3.
  • Blut und Ehre (Blood and Honor) – Motto applied to the blades of some uniform daggers worn by the Hitlerjugend, or Hitler Youth.
  • bodenständiger Kapitalismus 'capitalism on the ground' – productive capitalism (as opposed to unproductive capitalism) was a Nazi economic concept.
  • Brown Creed – term for Nazism
  • Brown House – national HQ of the NSDAP, opened 1931; Hitler purchased the Barlow Palace which was the old Italian embassy when Bavaria was an independent state.
  • Braunhemden (Brownshirts) – the SA; the leadership obtained khaki shirts that were supposed to be sent to the German troops stationed in colonies in Africa prior to World War I.
  • Brigadeführer 'brigade leader' an SS-rank
  • Bund Deutscher Mädel – NSDAP League of German Girls; It had three million members in 1937.


  • Conservative Revolutionary movement – a Weimar period German nationalist literary youth movement.
  • Cyclon B – Alternative spelling of Zyklon B, tradename of a cyanide-based insecticide used to kill over one million people (total number of deaths in the Holocaust total about six million people) in Nazi gas chambers.


  • Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP) – German Workers’ Party, started by railway workers in Bohemia, Austria and Munich, Germany. These were the starter groups that evolved into the DNSAP and the NSDAP in their respective countries.
  • Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF) – The 'German Labour Front' was the Nazi's substitute organisation for trade unions, which had been outlawed on May 2, 1933.
  • Deutsche Christen – the "de-Judaized" Christian church; those who were "Nazified". They removed the whole Old Testament from the Bible.
  • Deutsches Jungvolk – NSDAP-controlled association for boys before they were old enough to enter the Hitler Youth
  • Deutscher Frauenorden (DFO) – German Women's Order. The leader was Elsbeth Zander.
  • Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei (DNSAP) – the Austrian “German National Socialist Workers’ Party”.
  • Der Dicke – "The fat one", a contemptuous epithet by Germans referring to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring
  • "Die Juden sind unser Unglück" – A Nazi slogan: "The Jews are our misfortune."
  • Drang nach Osten – "Drive to the east", the historic German desire to expand eastward.
  • Drittes ReichThird Reich or third empire. Arthur Moeller van den Bruck coined this term for his book Das dritte Reich published in 1923. The term "Third Reich" was a reference to the "First Reich" (the Holy Roman Empire, beginning with Charlemagne), and the "Second German Reich" (the German Empire, 1871–1918)


  • Eher Verlag – the Nazi Party's official publishing house
  • Ehrendolch – lit. "honor dagger", a presentation dagger awarded for individual recognition, especially by the SS
  • Ehrenliste der Ermordeten der Bewegung – Nazi honor roll of those who fought and died for the party before it came to power in January 1933.
  • Einsatzgruppen – units that followed the Wehrmacht and SS battalions to the Eastern Front to engage in the mass-murder Jewish people and others whom the Nazis hated.
  • Endlösung – "final solution", short for "final solution to the Jewish question" (or "... problem"), a Nazi euphemism for the Holocaust; use of the phrase, even in non-Nazi contexts, e.g., "the final solution of a mathematics problem" is frowned upon in modern Germany.
  • Endlösung der Judenfrage – "final solution to the Jewish question"; see Endlösung, above.
  • Endsieg – "final victory"; referring to the expected victory in World War II
  • Entartete Kunst – degenerate art; term used as the title of an art show consisting of modern and other "degenerate" art.
  • Erbhofgesetz – the 1933 NSDAP hereditary farm law; it guaranteed family farm holdings of three hundred acres (1.2 km²) or less.
  • Ermächtigungsgesetz – "Law to Relieve the Distress of the People and State"; Enabling Act of March 23, 1933
  • Ersatz – a substitute product. Germany did not have an easy access to some strategic materials. German scientists had to research how to produce artificial rubber (Buna), and coffee made from roasted acorns, for example.


  • Fraktur – a fashion of blackletter popularly associated to Nazi Germany, though the blackletter typefaces were banned by Hitler in 1941 on the grounds that it was Jewish.
  • Frontgemeinschaft – front line community. It was termed for the solidarity felt by the German soldiers of World War I in the trench warfare.
  • Führer – leader. Adolf Hitler was called "Der Führer".
  • Führerprinzip – the leader principle, a central tenet of Nazism and Hitler's rule
  • Führerstaat – the concept of Hitler's dictatorship of one-man rule


  • Gau, pl. Gaue – territory divided into NSDAP regional districts.
    • Bezirke – districts
      • Kreise – counties or subdistricts; smaller units of the Bezirk
        • Ortsgruppen – Party branch or local branches. It took a minimum of fifteen members to be recognized.
          • Hauszellen – tenement cells
          • Straßenzellen – street cells
          • Stützpunkte – strong points
  • Gauleiter – leader of a Gau. They had to swear personal loyalty to the Führer.
  • Gau-Uschla - the level of the four-tiered Uschla system immediately below the Reichs-Uschla and immediately above the Kreis-Uschla.
  • Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) – The Nazi Party secret police. Gestapo was derived as follows: Geheime Staatspolizei.
  • Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz – "The common good before the private good"; Rudolf Jung popularized it in his book Der Nationale Sozialismus, 1922, 2nd edition. This became Hitler's basic stance on the subordination of the economy to the national interest. (6)
  • Generalgouverneur – Governor-general
  • Genocide- the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group. Not specific to the Third Reich.
  • Gleichschaltung – the restructuring of German society and government into streamlined, centralized hierarchies of power, with the intention of gaining total control and co-ordination of all aspects of society.
  • Goldfasanen ("golden pheasants") – derogatory term Germans used for high-ranking Nazi Party members. The term derived from the brown and red uniforms with golden insignia worn at official functions and rallies by party members that resembled the brilliant colours of a male pheasant.
  • Goosestep (Stechschritt) – a ceremonial marching form of many countries especially of the ones in cold climates (Germany and Russia). The vigorous marching helps keep the participants warm. The form consists of stepping forward without bending the knees. After the Nazis' use of it in their parades it was later used when referring to other totalitarian governments. Still used by some countries today.
  • Gottgläubiger, those who broke away from Christianity. The term implies someone who still believes in God, although without having any religious affiliation. Like the Communist Party in the USSR, the Nazis were not favorable toward religious institutions, but unlike the Communists, they did not promote or require atheism on the part of their membership.
  • Gröfaz – mocking acronym for Größter Feldherr aller Zeiten ("greatest general of all time"), an appellation of Hitler
  • Großraumwirtschaft – continental economic zone similar to Lebensraum
  • Gruppenführer 'group leader': a rank in the SS


  • Hakenkreuz 'hooked cross' – swastika
  • Herrenvolk/Herrenrasse 'people/race of lords' – master race
  • Heimat – the 'homeland' (greater Germany). Not specific to the Third Reich.
  • Heimatvertriebene – Germans expelled from their homeland
  • HIAG (German: 'Hilfsgemeinschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit der Angehörigen der ehemaligen Waffen-SS, literally "Mutual Help Association of Former Waffen-SS Members") was an organization founded in 1951 by former members of the Waffen-SS.
  • HIB-Aktion – "Into-the-Factories Campaign"; a part of the Nazi campaign to recruit factory workers.
  • Hitlerism is another term for Nazism used by its opponents.
  • Hitlerproleten – "Hitler's proletariat"; what the Berlin working class Nazis called themselves (to distinguish themselves from the rest of the proletariat). (8)
  • Hitler salute (Hitlergruß) – Used when addressing Hitler, higher ranking officers or the Empire.
  • Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend) – A youth organization founded by the Nazis.
  • Hoheitsabzeichen, or more specific Hoheitsadler or Reichsadler – national insignia (eagle and swastika). See Federal Coat of Arms of Germany.


  • Illustrierter Beobachter – NSDAP national tabloid


  • Judenfrei and Judenrein – areas cleansed of Jews and the Jewish bloodline
  • Judenrat – Jewish council. The Gestapo established Judenräte (the plural) in ghettoes to have them carry out necessary duties.
  • Jüdische Grundspekulationsgesellschaften – Hitler's slang term for Jewish property speculation companies


  • Kameradschafts- und Gemeinschaftsstärkung – strengthening of comradeship and community; Nazi party Gleichschaltung of social institutions
  • Kapo (Cabo) – Privileged inmates of concentration camps, mostly common criminals. They had to oversee the work of the other inmates and were responsible for the results. Mainly brutal and mean criminals like murderers were assigned as Kapo.
  • Kdf-Wagen Predecessor to the Volkswagen Beetle, a project of the Kraft durch Freude program
  • Konzentrationslager often abbreviated KZ for concentration camp. The correct abbreviation would be KL, but KZ was chosen for the tougher sound.
  • Kraft durch Freude (KdF) – "strength through joy", state-sponsored programs intended to organize people's free time, offering cheap holidays, concerts, other leisure activities, and (unsuccessfully) a car (Kdf-Schiff, Kdf-Wagen). It was initially called Nach der Arbeit.
  • KreditschöpfungstheorieGregor Strasser's idea for government spending and credit creation.
  • Kreis-Uschla - an intermediate level of the four-tiered Uschla system, immediately below the Gau-Uschla and immediately above the lowest-level Ort-Uschla.
  • Kriegserlebnis – (myth of the) war experience
  • Kristallnacht or ReichskristallnachtCrystal Night ; refers to the "Night of Broken Glass", November 9–10, 1938, when mob violence against Jewish people broke out all over Germany.


  • Landwirtschaftliche Gaufachberater – NSDAP agricultural conventions; first one held in February 8, 1931. They held Bauernkundgebung (farmer's rallies).
  • Landwirtschaftliche Vertrauensleute (LVL) – NSDAP agrarian agents; used to infiltrate other agricultural/husbandry/rural organizations to spread Nazi influence and doctrine.
  • Landwirtschaftlicher Fachberater – expert consultant on agriculture that was assigned to every NSDAP Gau and Ort unit.
  • Lebensborn – "Fountain of Life"; an SS organization founded by Himmler and intended to increase the birth rate of "Aryans" by providing unmarried mothers shelter in nursing homes so that they would not seek (illegal) abortions.
  • Lebensraum – "Living space", specifically living space for ethnic Germans and generally referring to territories to be seized in Eastern Europe; see Drang nach Osten
  • Lebensunwertes Leben – ("Life unworthy of life") Term used for people with incurable mental health problems, serious birth defects and other health issues.
  • Leistungsgemeinschaft – performance community; part of the Nazi Gleichschaltung of social institutions
  • Luftwaffe – military air force
  • Kinder, Kuche, und Kirche - children, kitchen, church (part of hitlers co-ordination of every aspect of life to a state-sponsored orthodoxy) the role of women in the Nazi State


  • Männerbund – bond of men; it was a distinctly masculine mystique which became an essential part of SA ideology.
  • Mehr sein als scheinen "Be more than you appear to be." – Motto applied to blades of uniform daggers worn by the Nationalpolitsche Erziehungsanstalten, or NPEA, the National Political Educational Establishment
  • Mein Kampf – "My Struggle", Adolf Hitler's autobiography and political statement
  • Meine Ehre heißt Treue "My honor is loyalty" – Motto applied to the blades of uniform daggers worn by the Schutzstaffel, or SS.
  • Militärbefehlshaber – military Governor, who was the (single) head of the executive in an occupied country (when no Reichskommissar was appointed)
  • Mischling – used in reference to an individual with alleged partial Jewish ancestry; some were treated as full-blooded Jews, other as "Aryans" but subject to various restrictions.
  • "Mit brennender Sorge" – A letter by the Pope warning against the Nazis.
  • Muselmann – "an inmate who had resigned himself to death and lost the will to do anything to help himself survive". (1)
  • Mutterkreuz – a special cross awarded on three levels to all mothers "of favorable standing" who fulfilled the baby quota. A bronze medal was bestowed on mothers with four or five children, a silver one for six or seven children, and finally a gold one for eight or more children.


  • Nacht und Nebel – "Night and fog", code for some prisoners that were to be disposed of, leaving no traces.
  • Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt – the National Political Educational Establishment, or NPEA
  • National Socialist Teachers Association
  • Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (NSDStB) – Nazi Students League, founded in 1926
  • Nazi is a short term for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (“German National Socialist Workers’ Party”). It is not an acronym; it is a phonetic spelling of the beginning of the party’s name (“nati-”). By extension, it is sometimes used to mean “a supporter of fascist ideology”. As an adjective, this short form is used more often in English language than in German.
    • denazification (Entnazifizierung) – the process by which the Allied occupiers attempted to purge post war Germany of remnants of the Nazi regime and Nazi philosophy
    • ex-Nazis – former Nazis
  • Nazism; the ideology of the NSDAP (generally considered to be a variant of Fascism under a misleading name)
  • NSDAP Zentralkartei – master file, containing approx. 7.2 million original and official individual German Nazi Party membership cards. Comprises two separate files. It is housed in the Berlin Document Center (BDC).
    • Ortskartei
    • Reichskartei
  • Nationalsozialistische Betriebzellenorganisation (NSBO) – National Socialist Factory Cell Organization (Nazi Party labor union) which had a membership of approx. 400,000 workers by January 1933.
  • Nationalsozialistische Briefe – pro-labor publication launched by Gregor Strasser and edited by Joseph Goebbels.
  • Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) – the National Socialist German Workers’ Party of Adolf Hitler
  • Nationalsozialistische Frauenschaft (NSF) – NSDAP Women's Group headed by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink; designed to create women leaders and supervise indoctrination and training. It had 2 million members by 1938
  • National-Sozialistische Landpost – NSDAP agricultural paper started by Richard Walther Darré.
  • Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (NSV) – NSDAP welfare organization founded in Berlin in September 1931. It acquired the official role in welfare and later on the racial policy of the Third Reich.
  • Night of the Long Knives – on June 30, 1934, Hitler murderously purged the ranks of the S.A.
  • Nur für Deutsche – "For Germans Only."


  • Oberführer 'senior leader' an SS-rank
  • Obergruppenführer : an SS-rank
  • Ordensburgen – NSDAP training schools
  • Ordnungsdienstorder service, ghetto police made up of Jewish ghetto residents.
  • Ordnertruppen – first name of the group created in the fall of 1920 by Hitler
    • Sportabteilung – Sports section (SA); the second name of the group.
    • Sturmabteilung (SA) – Storm troopers. NSDAP paramilitary group; the third name in late 1921.
  • Ort-Uschla - the lowest level of the four-level Uschla system
  • Ostmark ("East Mark") – Austria as part of the German Empire after the Anschluß


  • Pan-Germanism – The idea that all Germans should live in one country.
  • Panzerkampfwagen (military) – "armoured fighting vehicle" = tank; not specific to Third Reich, but listed here for its centrality to Blitzkrieg
  • Panzerfaust "armour fist" – An inexpensive, disposable, recoilless anti-tank weapon of World War II
  • Panzerschreck An anti-tank weapon of World War II, similar to the American bazooka.
  • Partei-Statistik – 1935 Nazi Party three volume publication of membership data
  • Planwirtschaft – a limited planned economy; Walther Funk promoted this idea within the Nazi party who thought genuine corporatism too stifling for business growth
  • Plötzensee – a place in Berlin, site of a notorious prison where numerous opponents of Hitler and the Nazi régime were put to death.
  • Putsch – German word meaning coup or revolt; has also entered the English language meaning the same.


  • Quisling – A pejorative meaning "traitor" during World War II, commonly used as an insult directed at a citizen who collaborated with the Germans in one of the conquered nations. The term was taken from Vidkun Quisling, the pro-Nazi Norwegian leader.


  • Rasse – race
  • Rassenhygiene – racial hygiene
  • Rassenschande – (literally "racial shame"); a Nazi term for sexual relations between an Aryan and a "non-Aryan" (including Jews, Slavs, and persons of African ancestry) which were banned by the Nuremberg laws.
  • Rednerschule der NSDAP – National Socialist Speaker's School
  • Regierungspräsident – 'president' of a regional administration, in fact subordinate to the Nazi party's Gauleiter
  • Reich – Empire or state
  • Reichsarbeitsdienst – State Labour Service, or RAD; 1931 formed as an auxiliary labour service, became 1935 obligatory (six month) for all men and women between 18 and 25 years
  • Reichsbauernführer – National Farmers' Leader; title given to Richard Walther Darré
  • Reichsbevollmächtigter – Imperial Plenipotentiary in occupied territory
  • Reichsführer-SS - title held by Heinrich Himmler, head of SS Schutzstaffel
  • Reichskommissar – Imperial Commissioner, a type of Governor in occupied territory
  • Reichskonferenz – National Caucus; national caucuses held by the Austrian Deutsche Arbeiterpartei before World War I.
  • Reichsleitung – national leadership; members of the NSDAP Party Directorate. They all swore personal loyalty to the Führer.
  • Reichsmark (RM) 'Mark of the empire' – German monetary unit. 100 Reichspfennig = 1 Reichsmark.
  • Reichsmarschall – "Marshal of the Empire", the highest rank in the German armed forces during World War II (held only by Hermann Göring).
  • Reichsmordwoche, Nacht der langen Messer – "State Murder Week, Night of the Long Knives" of June–July 1934 during which Hitler assassinated hundreds of party-internal opponents, especially the SA, which was decapitated of its leadership.
  • Reichsparteitage – "State Party Days", Nazi party rallies, held annually in Nüremberg before the outbreak of war in 1939.
  • Reichsprotektor – German representative in the Czech Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia
  • Reichsschrifttumkammer – the Nazi Chamber of Literature. Hanns Johst was president.
  • Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) – an SS subsidiary organization originally led by Reinhard Heydrich and charged with fighting the Reich's ideological and racial enemies.
  • Reichsstatthalter – "imperial Stadtholder", i.e. Reich Governor; after the seizure of power in 1933, local governments were dissolved and the Gauleiters were appointed to govern the states with full powers.
  • Reichstag – "Imperial Diet (or Parliament)"; see Reichstag (building) and Reichstag (institution)
  • Reichstrunkenbold – "Reich drunkard", derogative name secretly given to Robert Ley whose alcoholism was widely known.
  • Reichs-Uschla - the highest level of the four-tiered Uschla system, venued in Munich.
  • Reichswasserleiche – "Reich water corpse", nicknake given to Swedish film actress Kristina Söderbaum due to a tendency of her characters in NS propaganda films such as Jud Süss to commit suicide by drowning.
  • Reinrassig – a zoological term meaning "of pure breed." Applied to human races, persons who could not prove their Aryan ancestry could be considered nicht Reinrassig.
  • Revolution der Gesinnung – revolution of attitude; the concept that the German people would not only develop a purified race but also a new mind and spirit. It was about, in Hitler's words, "to create a new man". (5)
  • Righteous Gentiles- In secular usage, the term is used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust in order to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The secular award (discussed below) by the same name given by the State of Israel has often been translated into English as "Righteous Gentile."


  • Schönheit der ArbeitBeauty of Labor program
  • Schutzstaffel (SS) – Defense Squads; Hitler's personal body guard unit which grew into what was in practical terms the fourth branch of the Wehrmacht but was not legally a part of the military (and therefore wore the national emblem on the left sleeve instead of over the right breast pocket). "SS" is formed from (S)chutz(s)taffel.
    • Allgemeine-SS – general body of the Schutzstaffel consisting of full-time, part-time and honorary members.
    • SS Totenkopfverbände – Death's head units.
    • Verfügungstruppe – "ready" action troops organized by the SS in 1938.
    • Waffen-SS – later name of the Verfügungstruppe.
  • Das Schwarze KorpsThe Black Corps; SS "theoretical" journal of the SS.
  • Selektion – selection of inmates for execution or slave labor at an extermination or concentration camp
  • Sieg Heil! – "Hail to Victory", mass exclamation when bringing the Hitlergruß (Hitler Greeting).
  • Sig Rune "S rune" – The letter from the runic alphabet popularized in the SS emblem and other insignia.
  • Sonderkraftfahrzeug (Sd.Kfz.) – Special purpose motor vehicle; used to refer to half-tracks.
  • Sprachregelung – a special language that masked the camp conditions and the policy of extermination. It took the words "extermination", "killing", "liquidation"; and substituted for them, the euphemisms: "final solution", "evacuation", "special treatment", "resettlement", "labour in the East". It was developed to deceive victims and to assist SS officials and others to avoid acknowledging reality. (2)
  • Sprechabend – closed Nazi party meetings
  • Standartenführer an SS rank
  • Ständesozialismus – corporative (or "corporate") socialism; promoted by O. W. Wagener, sometime head of the political economy section of the party organization.
  • Stoßtrupp – Hitler's body guard unit before the Hitlerputsch; forerunner to the SS.
  • Strasser wing – named after Gregor Strasser who lead the left wing of the Nazi Party.
  • Stücke – pieces. A Sprachregelung term for Jews and other undesirables that dehumanized them. (They were no longer humans or persons but pieces.)
  • Sturmabteilung (SA) – a Nazi paramilitary organisation that was instrumental in bringing Hitler to power.
  • Sturmbannführer: an SS rank
  • Sturmführer an SS rank
  • Der Stürmer – a weekly anti-Semitic newspaper founded by Julius Streicher known for its lurid semi-pornographic content.


  • Thule Gesellschaft – "Thule Society". The Nazis sought themes for their ideology in the occult and the Germanic and Nordic traditions.
  • Totenkopf "death's head" – human-skull emblem worn by members of the SS, and also by Heer (German Army) and Luftwaffe panzer crews, thought to symbolise loyalty beyond death. Not specific to the Third Reich, and previously used by Prussian cavalry units. The 3rd SS Division Totenkopf was formed by drafting men from the units that guarded the concentration camps.
  • Turnvereine – German and Austrian calisthenic leagues. They were identically dressed men and women making identical movements in mass performance.


  • Übermensch – (lit. "higher human", or "over-human") an idea appropriated from the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and used by certain Nazis to describe the racially superior Germanic "Aryan" people.
    • Untermensch – (lit. "lower human" or "under-human") corollary of the term Übermensch, but reversed as a label given to peoples considered racially inferior to the "Aryans".
  • Überwachungsdienst – surveillance service of the aA to protect the organization against Konjunkturritter (financial opportunists).
  • unzuverlässige Elemente – unreliable societal elements (Jews, communists, homosexuals, etc.)
  • U-Boot (abbreviated form of Unterseeboot, lit. "underwater boat") – submarine, anglicized U-Boat
  • Umschlagplatz – (lit. "changing place") place of assembly. Kapos were told to collect Jews and bring them to this designated spot for pick up and transfer to the death trains.
  • Uschla – arbitration committee of the NSDAP Party Directorate, an acronym for Untersuchung und Schlichtungs-Ausschuss (Inquiry and Settlement Committee).


  • V-1 and V-2 – "Vergeltungswaffen" weapons of repayment, Used to attack Britain and other countries controlled by the Allies. The V-1 was the world's first operational cruise missile. Other "V-Waffe" were planned but did not become operational.
  • Verbotzeit - the time between the Beer Hall Putsch (9 November 1923) and the effective date of the lifting of the ban on the Nazi Party in Bavaria (16 February 1925) in which the NSDAP was officially banned in Bavaria.
  • Vernichtungslager – death camps. This word was never used by the Nazis themselves.
  • Volk – People, folk-community, or nation. It is extremely difficult to convey the full meaning of this word in English
  • Völkischer Beobachter – the official Nazi Party newspaper
    • "Deutsche Arbeiterpolitik" – special labor section included in the above party paper.
    • Der Angriff – Nazi Party labor newspaper started by Joseph Goebbels
    • Der Erwerbslose – Nazi Party labor newspaper
    • Arbeitertum – Nazi Party labor newspaper
  • Volksgerichtshof – literally "People's Court", a tribunal which condemned people accused of crimes against the state; verdicts were sometimes directed by Hitler himself.
  • Volkswagen – "people's car". Conceived during the mid-1930s but did not go into production until after 1945. Perhaps the most durable and popular legacy of the Third Reich.
  • Volksgemeinschaft – a concept that means national solidarity; popular ethnic community; classless folk community


  • Waffenamt – arms inspection stamp or mark
  • Wannsee Conference – a conference held on January 20, 1942 beside Lake Wannsee in Berlin in which it was decided and made official Nazi policy that the total annihilation of European Jews was the only rational means of a "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question.
  • Wehrbauern – soldier-peasant settlements that were to be established in the East to act as a defensive shield against the inroads of Slav barbarianism.
  • Wehrkraftzersetzung – a crime invented by the Nazis. It meant "negatively affecting the fighting forces". People who expressed doubts about Germany's chances of winning the war, or about Hitler's leadership were sometimes put to death for Wehrkraftzersetzung.
  • Wehrmacht "Defence force" – the name of the armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. Prior to that time, the Reichswehr. Consisted of the Heer (Army), Kriegsmarine (Navy) and Luftwaffe (Air Force), but not the Waffen-SS or the Police even though they both fielded combat units during the war.
  • Weltanschauungskrieg – war of ideologies
  • Winterhilfe – Winter Relief Program and annual fundraising drive by the Nazi Party to support impoverished German victims of the Great Depression and of World War II. The successor to the similar program in existence during the Weimar Republic (1919–1933).
  • Wirtschaftspolitische Abteilung – 1931 WPA; A NSDAP proposed program
  • Wirtschaftliches Sofortprogramm – 1932 Economic Program; A NSDAP proposed program
  • Wirtschaftliches Aufbauprogramm – 1932 Economic Reconstruction Plan; A NSDAP proposed program
  • Wolfsangel "Wolf's hook" – emblem adopted by several military units of Nazi Germany
  • Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) – codename for Hitler's secret headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia (nowadays Kętrzyn, Poland).
  • Wunderwaffe – "silver bullet" (literally, "wonder weapons), referring to weapon systems developed at the end of World War II (such as the V-1 and the V-2) that were supposed to turn around Germany's desperate situation on the battlefields.


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  • Zwangswirtschaft – forced or compulsion economy
  • Zwischenstaatliche Vertretertagungen – interstate meetings of representatives; DNSAP and NSDAP party congresses of the early years; first one held in Salzburg, Austria.
  • Zyklon B Also spelled Cyclon B – tradename of a cyanide-based insecticide used to kill more than one million Jews, Gypsies, communists, and prisoners of war in Nazi gas chambers (total number of deaths in the Holocaust total about six million people; the others were killed by other means).
  • 25-point program – The Nazi Party platform and a codification of its ideology.
  • 581 Abel autobiography – Weimar period Nazi Party membership data source

List of abbreviations and acronyms

See the glossary above for explanations of the terms.

  • aA – NSDAP Agrarian Apparatus
  • DAP – German Workers’ Party
  • DFO – German Women's Order
  • DNSAP – the Austrian “German National Socialist Workers’ Party”
  • Gestapo – The Nazi secret police, short for Geheime Staatspolizei
  • KdF – Strength through Joy
  • LVL – agrarian agents for the NSDAP
  • Nazi – Portmanteau for "National Socialist"
  • NPEA – Nationalpolitsche Erziehungsanstalten, or National Political Educational Establishment
  • NSBO – National Socialist Factory Cell Organization
  • NSDAP – the National Socialist German Workers’ Party
  • NSKKNationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps, or National Socialist Motor Corps
  • NSF – NSDAP's women's group
  • NSV – National Socialist People's Welfare
  • RAD – Reichsarbeitsdienst, or State Labor Service
  • RBA – National Socialist Factory Cell Division
  • RM – Reichsmark
  • RZM – Reichszeugmeisterei, or National Material Control Office
  • SASturmabteilung, or NSDAP storm troopers
  • SSSchutzstaffel, or Hitler's body guard and extra NSDAP paramilitary group
  • WaA – Waffenamt, arms inspection stamp or mark

See also


  • Brustein, William (1996). The Logic of Evil, The Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925–1933 New Haven, CN: Yale University Press (p. 143).
  • Carsten, F. L. (1969). The Rise of Fascism Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (p. 83).
  • Faye, Jean-Pierre (2004). Langages totalitaires, Hermann, Paris, ISBN 2-7056-6480-7 (French)
  • Faye, Jean-Pierre (2003). Introduction aux langages totalitaires : Théorie et Transformations du récit, Hermann, Paris, ISBN 2-7056-6450-5 (French)
  • Klemperer, Victor (1947). LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii
  • Mitcham, Samuel W., Jr. Why Hitler? The Genesis of the Nazi Reich. Westport, CT: Praeger (p. 120).
  • Neumann, Stan. La Langue ne ment pas, journal écrit sous le Troisième Reich (90' ARTE 2004) (French) (film documentary; short extract here)
  • Payne, Stanley G. (1995). A History of Fascism 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Press (pp 55, 180).
  • Phillips, Peter (1969, 1970). The Tragedy of Nazi Germany. New York: Praeger Publishers (pp. 193, 179).
  • Turner, Henry A. (1972). Nazism and the Third Reich. New York, NY: Quadrangle Books, NY Times Co. (p. 41).

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