On the Nazi Vocabulary in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume I

Nachman Blumenthal


On the Nazi Vocabulary

The Nazi vocabulary was bombastic and high-sounding. Excessive use was made of words like Opferwilligkeit (readiness for self-sacrifice), Liebe (love), Glauben (faith), Treue (loyalty), Ehrenhaftigkeit (uprightness), Vaterland (fatherland), and Volk (folk, people). Das Volk was the term most commonly used. The purpose of using these idioms and expressions was to conceal criminal acts. Pope Pius XI protested this perversion of the German language. Ultimately, the Nazis succeeded in establishing a religion based on belief in Hitler. Legal terminology was twisted in order to explain and justify the persecution of the Jews. The word ‘Jew’ signified an inferior being. Anyone not subscribing to this doctrine is considered “Jew-blind.” Russians and Negroes are similarly considered inferior. Many synonyms were used for the word ‘murder.’ Sonderbehandlung (SB — special treatment) is the most common. Clearly, linguistic manipulations cannot be separated from the period in which they were created. No human tongue is capable of conveying the horrors and atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis.

מפרט המוצר
Year 1957
Catalog No. 195703
No. of Pages 18 pp.
Format Electronic article in Yad Vashem Studies, Volume I, pp. 49-66, Edited by Benzion Dinur and Shaul Esh
Publisher Yad Vashem