The Altered I: a Holocaust Memoir Rough Glossary of Terms

I thought it would be neat to share some of the unfamiliar terms that can be found in The Altered I.  Here is a rough glossary that I put together:

Appell – roll call

Appellplatz – roll call place

Ausweis – identity card

Babcia – Polish for grandmother

Barrackenbau – German word for barrack or hut, bau is German for builder, barrackenbau means barracks builder

Displaced Persons Camp – D.P. Camp was a temporary facility for Jews after the Holocaust who were displaced from their homes.

Ebensee – concentration camp in Austria

Gestapo – Secret police under Heinrich Himmler. They hunted out any person deemed a threat to Nazi Germany.

Intelligentsia – the intellectual class, highly educated people

Jewish Ghetto Police –  established by Germans to police the Jews in the ghettos

Jopka – Polish for fancy coat

Karl May – (1842-1912) last name pronounced “my”. German writer of adventure stories and westerns

Kazimierz – Old Town district for Jews in Krakow

Kazimierz the Great – Polish King who ruled from 1333-1370

Kraków Ghetto – Jewish ghetto in Krakow.

Krankenrevier – sick barrack or infirmary in a concentration camp

Łapanka – roundup to kidnap Jews into forced labor

Mamusia – Polish for mother

Mauthausen – category three camp, concentration camp in Austria

Melk – sub-camp of Mauthausen, concentration camp in Austria

Nazi – a member of the National Socialist Workers Party

Nuremburg Laws – anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany, that excluded Jews from German life and denied them of certain natural rights

O.D. – Jewish Police, in German: Jüdischer Ordnungsdient

Pan – Polish for Mister (Mr.)

Pani – Polish for Missis (Mrs.)

Payos – side curls worn by Jewish men.

Pecak – barley stew

Phylactery – a small box containing Hebrew texts on vellum.Worn by Jewish men at morning prayer.

Pilsudski – Józef Pilsudski, a Polish revolutionary and statesman, (1918-1922) First Marshal (1920), and leader of Second Polish Republic (1926-1935)

Placówka – a special work group made up of the same people each day

Płaszów – initially a forced labor camp for Jews, then became a concentration camp. Located near Krakow, Poland

Prophecy of Wernyhora – a seer who prophesied Polish events

Protekcja – someone who protected you, looked out for your needs, a privileged group

Rakowice – forced labor camp in Poland

Reichsdeutscher – German citizen

Rynek Główny – Main market square in Krakow, Poland

Shtreimel – Jewish fur-trimmed hat

SS – in German Schutzstaffel, originally Hitler’s personal bodyguards, they grew in number under Heinrich Himmler and were divided into two groups: general SS and Waffen SS (armed SS)

Stollen – tunnel

Synagogue – a building where a Jewish congregation meets for worship

Talmud – oral explanation of the Torah

Tefillin – the term for the set of phylacteries, two small leather boxes containing Hebrew texts

Todesstiege – Stairs of Death in the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria

Torah-  the first five books written by Moses in the Hebrew Scriptures

Tzitzit – the fringe or tassels on a four-cornered cloak

UNRRA – United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration

Vergeltungswaffen – V-weapons. V-1 flying bomb, V-2 rocket, V-3 cannon. Used against Britain

Volksdeutscher – “German Folk”, ethnic Germans living outside of Germany or Austria. In this case a Pole of German descent

Waffen – combat branch of the SS. Armed SS

Wehrmacht – German armed forces: army (Heer), navy (Kriegsmarine), and air-force (Luftwaffe)

Yarmulke – skull-cap worn by Jewish men

Zakopane – concentration camp in Poland

Złoty- Polish currency

Sample chapters: Altered I Sample-April Kempler



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