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Glossary

     

  • ACHTUNG!

    Attention! Whenever an S.S. man arrived, entered or left a place a deportee had to shout “Achtung!” and the other deportees had to stand at attention.

  • AFRIKA KORPS

    The Wehrmacht's 5th Motorised Division, called the Afrika Korps, was commanded by General Erwin Rommel and sent to Africa in January 1941 to fight with the Italian army against the British, who had entered Libya that month. In the spring of 1942 the 1st Free French Division (1e DFL), commanded by General Koenig, fought the Afrika Korps at Bir-Hakeim.

  • AMGOT

    Allied Military Government of Occupied Territory. Planned interim government (in charge of administration, including issuing of currency) of European territories liberated by the Allies. It was not imposed on France in 1944 in recognition of the provisional government led by General de Gaulle (GPRF).

  • AMT

    Office, administration, a word recurring in Nazi terminology.

  • ANSCHLUSS

    Hitler invaded Austria on the night of 11 to 12 March 1938. He deposed Chancellor Schuschnigg, replaced him with the Nazi Seyss-Inquart and proclaimed Austria a German province. The annexation (Anschluss) violated the Treaty of Versailles, which prohibited it, and ran counter to the wishes of Italy, Germany's ally.

  • AO

    Action ouvrière, or “worker's action”. At first an extension of the Combat movement in the urban working classes, AO because an active instrument of industrial sabotage and kept an organizational position in the MUR but cooperated closely with trade unionists and Socialist and Communist workers

  • APPELPLATZ

    Roll call square. Called Lagerplatz in some camps.

  • ARBEIT MACHT FREI

    “Work makes you free”, a sarcastic slogan that the Nazis displayed at the entrance to concentration camps. The deportees worked 12 hours a day for the German war effort.

  • ARBEITSLAGER

    Labour camp. Not necessarily a concentration camp.

  • ARBEITSSTATISTIK

    Labour office. It implemented S.S. plans for the organisation of labour, planned transports, set up new commandos and kept the list of all the commandos dependant on the camp up to date. Its head was the S.S. Arbeitsdienstführer.

  • ARMÉE D'AFRIQUE

    Army of Africa. Made up of European and North African units, its role was to protect the colonies and help defend mainland France. In August 1943 it merged with the Free French Forces, constituting the army of liberation. The Army of Africa took part in the landings in Italy (100,000 men) and Provence (250,000 men, of whom over half were from indigenous populations).

  • ARMISTICE

    On 16 June 1940 Marshal Pétain, who had become the head of government, asked Germany for an armistice. Signed at Rethondes, in the same spot where the 1918 armistice was signed, it required France to disband its army and pay for the maintenance of German troops based on its soil. It also created a demarcation line, annexed Alsace and Moselle and kept French POWs in captivity.

  • ARROW CROSS

    name of the main Fascist party in Hungary, whose leader, Ferenc Szálasi, advocated an ideology close to that of the Nazis. In 1939 the party sent 31 deputies to parliament. Szálasi was allied with the Nazis, who made him the prime minister of Hungary in March 1944 after the arrest of Admiral Horthy, the royal regent who tried to negociate with the Soviets. In March 1945 he took refuge in Vienna, Austria and later in Germany. Szálasi and three of his ministers were hanged in Budapest in 1946.

  • ARYANISER

    To confiscate property belonging to a Jew and give or sell it at a low price to a non-Jew, or “Aryan”. All the collaborating States “aryanised”. In France the Commissariat General aux Questions juives (CGQJ, General Commisariat for Jewish Affairs) created by a Vichy decree on 29 March 1941, handled “aryanisation” of des Jewish-owned shops and businesses.

  • AS

    Armée secrète (Secret Army). Created in 1941 in the southern zone by Henri Fresnay, head of the Combat movement. In the northern zone the leader was a reserve officer, Jacques Arthuys, who was replaced after his arrest by Colonel Touny, a career officer. They recruited officers, gathered intelligence and organized departures to Free France via Spain. After Prefect Jean Moulin unified the resistance movements, General Delestraint led the Armée secrète from November 1942 to June 1943, when he was arrested. General Dejussieu, who took the alias Pontcarral, succeeded him as head of the AS in the southern zone. In 1944 the AS, ORA and FTP formed the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur (FFI), whose commander in chief was General Koenig. In January 1944 General Dejussieu became the FFI's national chief of staff. The Armée secrète had de 80,000 men in the southern zone and 50,000 in the northern zone.

  • ASO

    Asozial. Nazi classification in the camps: asocial.

  • ASSEMBLEE CONSULTATIVE PROVISOIRE

    Provisional Consultative Assembly. Convened by an ordinance General de Gaulle issued in Algiers on 17 September 1943, it met for the first time on 3 November. It had 84 members: 40 representatives of the homeland resistance, 12 of the resistance abroad, 20 members of parliament (chosen from among those who did not vote to give Pétain full powers on 10 July 1940) and 12 members of the general councils of liberated colonies. On 3 November just 47 members were present; the others were unable to leave mainland France. General de Gaulle delivered a speech announcing elections based on universal suffrage after the liberation of France and spelled out the Algiers assembly's role and powers. On 6 November the CFLN was reshuffled to reflect the various political currents represented in the ACP.

  • AUFSEHERIN

    Female S.S. guard in women's concentration camps.

  • AXIS

    The alliance concluded in October 1936 between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, which laid the groundwork for what came to be known as the “Rome-Berlin axis”.

  • AZA

    Ausländischer Zivil Arbeiter. Nazi classification in the camps: foreign civilian worker.

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