Nazi-Deutsch/Nazi-German: An English Lexicon of the Language of the Third Reich

By Robert Michael; Karin Doerr | Go to book overview

Foreword

Leslie Morris

A lexicon of Nazi-Deutsch violates the very principles of secrecy and obfuscation that govern the language of genocide: the lexicon lays bare the range and scope of Nazi language, explicates the terms that were meant to remain obscure, creates lexical order out of the chaos and darkness of this language, and, most significantly, insists on the transparency of this language. Yet the language of genocide is not transparent, but rather opaque: it is language that is denaturalized, stylized, calling attention to itself as language at the same time that it seeks to obscure and sanitize the reality to which it refers. The philosopher Berel Lang, in one of the most interesting critical studies on language and genocide, describes Nazi-Deutsch as a “linguistic lie,” in which “moral violation thus takes on the guise of literary form.” 1 Lang explains that “as the person who is a liar knowingly affirms what is false, so here a linguistic expression affirms what it ‘knows’ to be false.” 2 As such, the lexicon presented here contains a fundamental paradox, as its very existence dismantles the “linguistic lie” that defines the language of genocide. This lexicon of Nazi-Deutsch is thus not only an invaluable resource for understanding the linguistic dimensions to the historical phenomenon of the Holocaust for scholars of German history, culture, and the Holocaust, but it is also a remarkable object in itself, as it is a compilation not only of terms and phrases that shed light on the machinery of destruction of the Third Reich but also of the very obfuscation that lay at the center of this machinery.

It is virtually impossible, in an era in which critical inquiry about the Holocaust and the Third Reich has been marked by meta-reflections about language, violence, memory, testimony, and trauma, to examine language, let alone the language of genocide, as a transparent window into historical or personal experience. Whether or not one subscribes to deconstruction’s insistence on language as the site of infinite rupture—where, in Jacques Derrida’s formulation, for instance, what remains are

-xi-

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Nazi-Deutsch/Nazi-German: An English Lexicon of the Language of the Third Reich
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Notes xiv
  • Foreword xv
  • Preface xix
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • The Tradition of Anti-Jewish Language 1
  • Nazi-Deutsch: An Ideological Language of Exclusion, Domination, and Annihilation 27
  • Lexicon 47
  • A 49
  • B 86
  • C 112
  • D 115
  • E 135
  • F 156
  • G 175
  • H 200
  • I 216
  • J 221
  • K 233
  • L 254
  • M 269
  • N 283
  • O 299
  • P 309
  • Q 321
  • R 322
  • S 356
  • T 394
  • U 403
  • V 411
  • W 430
  • X 448
  • Z 449
  • Appendix 459
  • Select Bibliography 477
  • About the Authors 481
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