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Euphemisms

Examples from Nazi Germany


Endlösungfinal solution” = systematic extermination & mass murder of the Jewish peoples

Pogrom program” = an organized, state-sponsored attack on a group of people.

Ausgemerztexterminated” = murder

Aktionenactions” = missions to seek out Jews and kill them

Sonderaktionen “special actions” = special mission to kill Jews

Sonderbehandlung “special treatment” = Jews taken through death process in camps

Sonderbehandeltspecially treated” = sent through death process

Sauberungcleansing” = sent through the death process

Ausschaltungelimination” = murder of Jews

Aussiedlung evacuation” = murder of Jews

Umsiedlung resettlement” = murder of Jews

Exekutivemassnahmeexecutive measure” = order for murder

Entsprechend Behandelttreated appropriately” = murdered

De Sondermassnahme zugefuhrtconveyed to special measure” = killed

Sicherhistspoilzelich durchgearbeitetworker in security police” = murdered

Losung der Judenfragesolution of the Jewish question” = murder of Jewish people

Bereinigung der Judenfragecleaning up the Jewish question” = murder

Judenfrei gemachtmade free of Jews” = all Jews in an area killed

Badeanstaltenbath houses” = gas chambers

Leichenkellercorpse cellars” = crematorium

Hechenhold Foundation = diesel engine located in shack at Belzec used to gas Jews

Hiffsmittelauxiliary equipment” = gas vans for murder

SchutzhaftProtective custody” of opponents did not mean protection from danger but rather unlimited incarceration without trial

Jüdischer WohnbezirkJewish residence district” was substituted for ghetto.

Jüdisches SiedlungsgebietJewish settlement region” and “East” collective euphemisms for the killing centers of Poland


labor camp” = forced labor — primary function; death via shootings and gas chambers / vans and/or as a result of starvation and illness

preferential camp” = genocide — primary function; almost all arriving at these camps died within an hour of arrival, any who were “selected” for forced labor performed the work of entering the gas chambers, removing the bodies, taking them to the crematorium and burning them


All of these terms were used as a way to present the “final solution” to the public. All were intended to sanitize genocide, make it palatable and obscure real intent.


Perhaps the saddest, sickest and most notorious way in which the Nazis ‘sanitized,’ and used language to mask their intentions, was the following phrase —

Arbeit Macht Frei
Work Will Set You Free

Displayed over the entry way at Auschwitz — Birkenau, where an estimated 4 million people were taken and only 200,000 survived.


Sanitizing language serves a cynical purpose in the context of oppression.

Especially, when the goal is to eradicate the attitudes and behaviors of oppressors.

It might make us “feel better” but it can lead to terrible horrors because we aren’t looking at the bad, we’re too focused on saving our own sensitive ears instead of fixing the actual problem.


What has happened in the US to people of African Origin is genocide. It is no less horrific than the Holocaust. The only difference is that we have not stopped evolving the methods used in our continued attempt to kill off, exploit and oppress this group.

A group that has every right to be here as I do or any one else does.

Citizens should not live in fear of sanctioned terror.

It is wrong. And if using that word gets that point across, I am for it.


-Cyborg 🌺