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Glossary

  • Scholarly orders or requests

    Requests sent to ITS with the intent of using its archives for scholarly projects.

  • Schreibstubenkarte / Camp Office card

    The Schreibstubenkarte (camp office card) was produced for prisoners on their arrival at the concentration camps. It includes personal data plus arrival and transfer dates.

  • Schutzhaft / Protective Custody

    Abbreviation: Sch.H.

    On 4 February 1933, the so-called "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the German People" was enacted, which allowed, in the interest of public security, that detention be imposed on persons for a maximum of three months. These regulations were tightened up by the Decree regarding Protective Custody of 25 January 1938, which enabled the state to apply Schutzhaft (protective custody) for an unlimited period, particularly to opponents of the regime and minorities. An official order on protective custody was issued that included the personal data of the prisoner, details on his or her residence and the reason for his or her protective custody.

  • Schutzstaffel

    Abbreviation: SS

    The Nazi unit charged with the care of intelligence, enforcement, central security, and the concentration and extermination of those considered to be inferior or undesirable. They were first selected by Hitler in 1925 to serve as a small group of bodyguards.

  • Service Watson

    Service Watson was an international Red Cross organization established in 1939. Its task consisted of using the IBM/Hollerith punch card systems to compile lists of all prison or concentration camp inmates who had received aid shipments and care packages from the Red Cross. The Service was named after the IBM President Thomas J. Watson.

  • Sicherheitsdienst / Security Service

    Abbreviation: SD

    The Sicherheitsdienst (security service) was founded as the intelligence service of the SS on October 5th, 1931. Its initial task consisted in observing and spying on the opposing parties. Its later mandate included the persecution of the Jews.

  • Sicherheitspolizei / Security Police

    Abbreviation: SiPo

    Also known as main office of the Sicherheitspolizei (security police), the agency was an combination of the Gestapo and the criminal investigations police. The establishment of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) in 1939 resulted in the de facto merger of the SiPo and the SD, though the agencies' names continued to be used. The SiPo answered directly to the Reichsführer-SS.

  • Sicherheitsverwahrung / Preventive Detention

    The Sicherheitsverwahrung (preventive detention) enabled the National Socialists - in accordance with „Gewohnheitsverbrechergesetz“ (the habitual offenders’ act) of 24 November 1933 - to keep a person in custody irrespective of the term of imprisonment imposed on him or her in the verdict. This means could be applied arbitrarily in order to subjugate opponents.

  • Special Civil Registry Office Arolsen

    The death of forced laborers in concentration camps was partly recorded in death books and certified either by the former camp-owned or by the local civil registry offices. Whenever the ITS documentation shows clear clues pointing to a relative’s death, the Special Registry Office proceeds with a post-certification. At the suggestion of the International Tracing Service, the Special Registry Office was established on 1 September 1949 for the express purpose of such death certification. Pursuant to German legislation, the Federal State of Hesse is in administrative charge of the Special Registry Office.

  • Special SS Camp

    The SS-Sonderlager (Special SS Camps) are considered precursors of the Nazi labor reform camps. By late 1939 all eight of these police prison camps had been established. While building the military defensive system of the Westwall (Siegfried Line), the Organisation Todt (OT) used these camps as instruments of repression to discipline the German laborers involved in constructing the Westwall.

  • Stammlager / Permanent Camp

    Abbreviation: Stalag

    Historical research counts at least 24 so-called "Stammlager" (permanent camps) among the Nazi camp system. They served as central administrative headquarters for the more than 1,000 subcamps. The "Inspektion der Konzentrationslager (IKL)" (Inspection of the Concentration Camps) took organizational charge of these permanent camps. The camp rules introduced by Commandant Theodor Eicke in Concentration Camp Dachau in October 1933 paved the way for a systematization and served as basis for the establishment of uniform and centralized concentration camp system with the Stammlager as its roots.

  • Subcamp, External Detachment

    In addition to the main camps the National Socialist camp system knew a lot of subcamps. All main camps had subcamps or external detachments of different structure, size and duration. There were for instance mobile external detachments, guarded by SS teams, from which the prisoners, having finished their daily assignment, returned to the main camp, as well as subcamps, the structure of which hardly varied from the main camps. Officially they were under the administrative control and power of disposal of the main camp they were affiliated to.

  • Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force

    Abbreviation: SHAEF

    Highest allied military authorities after the liberation, who were replaced in July 1945 by the U.S. Forces European Theater (USFET).