Examples from Nazi Germany
Endlösung “final solution” = systematic extermination & mass murder of the Jewish peoples
Pogrom “program” = an organized, state-sponsored attack on a group of people.
Ausgemerzt “exterminated” = murder
Aktionen “actions” = 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
Sonderbehandelt “specially treated” = sent through death process
Sauberung “cleansing” = sent through the death process
Ausschaltung “elimination” = murder of Jews
Aussiedlung “evacuation” = murder of Jews
Umsiedlung “resettlement” = murder of Jews
Exekutivemassnahme “executive measure” = order for murder
Entsprechend Behandelt “treated appropriately” = murdered
De Sondermassnahme zugefuhrt “conveyed to special measure” = killed
Sicherhistspoilzelich durchgearbeitet “worker in security police” = murdered
Losung der Judenfrage “solution of the Jewish question” = murder of Jewish people
Bereinigung der Judenfrage “cleaning up the Jewish question” = murder
Judenfrei gemacht “made free of Jews” = all Jews in an area killed
Badeanstalten “bath houses” = gas chambers
Leichenkeller “corpse cellars” = crematorium
Hechenhold Foundation = diesel engine located in shack at Belzec used to gas Jews
Hiffsmittel “auxiliary equipment” = gas vans for murder
Schutzhaft “Protective custody” of opponents did not mean protection from danger but rather unlimited incarceration without trial
Jüdischer Wohnbezirk “Jewish residence district” was substituted for ghetto.
Jüdisches Siedlungsgebiet “Jewish 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.