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Glossary

  • Death book

    The National Socialists entered the names of registered prisoners who perished or were murdered in concentration camps in so-called "Totenbüchern" (death books). In extermination camps, where the prisoners were murdered directly upon arrival, the Nazis did not keep any death books.

  • Death March

    A term coined by prisoners to rephrase the emptying of the concentration and extermination camps by the SS in the last months of the war which the Nazis had called evacuation. Compelled to move away from the approaching Allies, the prisoners had to cover hundreds of kilometres, either going upcountry on marches for days or sitting in open freight cars and on ships moved to outlying regions.

  • Deportation

    Forcible abduction of people from their home country. The Nazis deported Jews, Sinti and Roma and other minorities in concentration camps for the purpose of exclusion, isolation, exploitation and murder. The bureaucracy veiled the real intention of the deportations behind euphemistic expressions like "evacuations" or "resettlement". In addition, the Germans displaced millions of prisoners of war and civilians from their homelands to bring them as a forced laborer to Germany.

  • Deposit of T/D Correspondence Files

    The ITS deposit of T/D correspondence files where the incoming and outgoing correspondence between the tracing service and public authorities, as well as the victims of Nazi persecution and their family members, are filed. The files include inquiries, letters and even contemporary witness reports written by persons who turned to the tracing service to obtain information on the documents still preserved or to search for any family members still alive. These requesters often needed documentary evidence to claim indemnification or verify their pension applications. If more than 25 years old, the correspondence concerned is accessible for historical research.

  • Deutsche Dienststelle / German Service Office

    Abbreviation: WASt

    The Deutsche Dienststelle (German Service Office) took up service on 26 August 1939 under its official title "Wehrmachtauskunftstelle für Kriegerverluste und Kriegsgefangene” (WASt) (German Armed Forces Information Office for War Losses and Prisoners of War) as office of the Superior Commando of the Wehrmacht. The WASt gave notice to the next of kin if German Wehrmacht members fell in action. Renamed in January 1951, the agency's new official paraphrase retained the original name in the bracketed abbreviation WASt. The office is mainly responsible for the provision of information and confirmations on war deaths, death declaration procedures, war graves, clarification of the fates of missing soldiers, forces' postal service numbers, estate matters, military service times, captivity, care of war victims, Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich labor service) and military criminal matters.

  • Displaced Persons

    Abbreviation: DP, DPs

    The term “Displaced Persons” refers to persons freed from concentration camps, forced labor and, in part, also captivity at the end of the Second World War. They found shelter in so-called DP camps, were repatriated to their countries of origin or immigrated to third countries.

  • DP Camp

    Camps the Allies opened for Displaced Persons to secure shelter, medical care and nourishment and to provide them with further assistance or help. The Allies used former concentration camps, former Wehrmacht premises, hospitals or private buildings as DP Camps. A rich cultural, social and religious life developed in the camps. Some of the camps existed into the early 1950s. The last DP Camp was closed in 1959.