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NAZI-DEUTSCH , specific use of the German language by the National Socialists. The use of language as a tool of psychological warfare against the "enemies" of the regime occupies a special place among the instruments of persecution and extermination. Nazi-Deutsch concealed the real intentions of the governing authorities from the potential victims and lulled them into submissiveness. Unprecedented crimes were masked by the use of "innocent words." It was, in the words of Raul Hilberg, a tool of concealment, not only from the victims but also–at least psychologically–from the perpetrators as well. Aware that words of long-standing usage acquire frightening meanings, the National Socialists dubbed the deportation to the death camps from Central Europe "evacuation to the East" (Evakuierung), from the Netherlands "recruitment for labor in the East" (Arbeitseinsatz), from Eastern Europe "resettlement" (Umsiedlung). The word "shower" was used to lead the unsuspecting victims to the gas chambers. New secret words were coined with prima facie innocent appearance to smooth over ominous meanings. The mass destruction of the Jewish people in Europe was called the "Final Solution" (Endloesung), a neologism. The word "final" was altogether apt; the proposed murder of all Jews was conceived to solve the Jewish problem forever. The actual process of physical destruction was mostly referred to as "Special Treatment" (Sonderbehandlung). The underground gas chambers were special cellars, the surface chambers were bath houses for special actions. In the daily reports at *Auschwitz, the statistics showing the number gassed refer to numbers of "sb" (Sonderbehandelte, "specially treated"). The expression sb was taboo even in interoffice correspondence on the highest level. While no objection was raised by Himmler against the use of the word "Final Solution" by the inspector of statistics, Richard Korherr (author of a November 1943 top secret statistical report on the "progress of the Final Solution"), Himmler ordered the word "special treatment" to be replaced by "transporting." The Ministry of Information gave daily instructions to the press and strictly enforced the proper "use of language" (Sprachregelung). Dictionaries of this language exist.


Blumenthal, in: Yad Vashem Studies, 1 (1957), 49–66; 4 (1960), 57–96; 6 (1967), 69–82; Esh, ibid., 5 (1963), 133–67, incl. bibl.; J. Robinson and P. Friedman, Guide to Jewish History under Nazi Impact (1960), 97; C. Berning, Vom Abstammungsnachweis zum Zuchtwart (1964). add. bibliography: R. Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, vol. 3 (20033), 1028–33.

[Jacob Robinson /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]