From "holocaust" to "Holocaust" - what is in a word?




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A "holocaust" Becomes "the Holocaust"

By Sean Warsch


If one looked in the dictionary, he/she would see that the definition of the word holocaust reads along the line of "complete destruction, usually by fire." Some dictionaries also include in their definition references to a sacrifice and/or loss of life. However, when the term holocaust is used today, one immediately thinks of the systematic killing of millions of European Jews at the hands of the Nazis. When news of these atrocities first reached the United States, reactions to this news ranged from horror to sadness to complete disbelief. Only after seeing firsthand the physical proof (pictures of those interred at the concentration camps, proof that gas chambers, whose sole purpose of killing human beings, had been erected) of this massacre did people come to accept what had occurred.

Starting in the 1940's, when the majority of the killings took place, some people described the massacre as "the Hitler holocaust"1 or "the Nazi holocaust"2. However, only much later, when full accounts of what had happened came to light, were fully accepted in society, and frequently talked about, did people start using the term "the Holocaust," Holocaust being capitalized and being proceeded by the word "the." My aim is to trace the evolution of this word, starting before World War II when the word solely referred to destruction by fire, tracking its usage during World War II, when it was used in the previous manner and also as a term to specifically describe the Nazis killing of the Jews, and finally how the common usage of the noun has diminished greatly while its proper usage, the Holocaust, has increased.

As a case study, the coverage of the Holocaust and evolution of the word as it appears in the newspaper the New York Times was studied. This newspaper is good to use because it is a large paper, it has a significant Jewish readership, so the paper is more likely to talk about the Holocaust then other papers whose audience is not as Jewish, and every issue of the newspaper has been indexed digitally starting in 1851 and continuing to this day. I have also tracked the term in dictionaries published over the past one hundred years to see how the definition of the word has evolved to incorporate the events that took place during World War II. Aside from looking at the word holocaust, other terms that have been used to describe the massacre of the Jews are examined as well. These terms include the Shoah, Churban, and the Final Solution.

There has been scholarly debate regarding the appropriateness of using the term holocaust to describe the deeds of the Nazis because part of the definition of the word implies righteousness on behalf of those offering the sacrifice, and some feel that this compliments the Nazis. As an alternate to holocaust, some scholars use the term Shoah, which, translated literally from Hebrew, means 'catastrophe.'

After investigating its appearances in the New York Times and various dictionaries, a background of the term holocaust will be provided to explain why it was applied to the mass murder of Jews in World War II and what the religious and theological implications are of using such a strong and potent word. In the post-World War II era, the word holocaust is primarily used to describe a genocide. Usually the word is preceded by an adjective describing who the holocaust happened to, such as the Armenian holocaust, or even a nuclear holocaust, in which all of mankind is killed off. However, when talking about the Jewish holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis, it is unnecessary, and almost redundant, to use the adjective Jewish before the word holocaust. Simply saying "the Holocaust" is enough for people to know that you are talking about the holocaust of Jews during World War II.3

Appearance in the New York Times

In searching the entire database of the New York Times, the term 'holocaust' appeared as early as 1852. When used during this early time period, holocaust is used to mean sacrifice. Two such examples are an article from 185327 using 'holocaust' to describe how lives must be sacrificed in Europe before any country can expect to have a revolution and one from 186728 referring to all of the Africans that were sacrificed in the name of European imperialism.

The first usage of 'holocaust' to refer to World War II appeared in 194029. This article describes how the Philadelphia Inquirer will print an editorial urging America to get involved in World War II even though the country "is sternly set against sending an army into Europe's holocaust." Even though they use the term 'holocaust', they do not seem to be specifically referring to the mass persecution of the Jews in Nazi-controlled territory; rather they are using the term to describe the mass destruction that is taking place across Europe as a result of this devastating war.

The next occurrence of the term appears in 194330 in an ad taken out by the New Zionist Organization of America. In this ad, they are demanding a free, Jewish state in Palestine. They note that Jews around the world are fighting alongside the Allied forces in this "holocaust of blood and sweat and tears." Again, this usage of holocaust refers more to the war in general then to the specific actions taken by the Nazis against the Jews. It is also interesting to note that in this ad, the writers say that "well over a million human beings have been exterminated……in the greatest outburst of cruelty known in history." This statement may have seemed overblown in early 1943, but the writers of this article were eerily accurate.

The first mention of the holocaust to refer specifically to the slaughter of the Jews occurs in an obituary written in 194431. This obituary praises the deceased Benjamin Winter, who tirelessly worked on behalf of the Polish Jewry who were suffering immensely "during the present holocaust which has destroyed more than two millions of its number." This obituary accurately denotes the massive number of Polish Jews who were killed during the course of the war and has decided to call this genocide a holocaust.

Another article from 194432 says how Zionists are pushing to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine in order to provide relief and care for "the remnants who have survived the Hitler holocaust." By now it seems that the usage of 'holocaust', especially 'Hitler holocaust', has a clear-cut meaning and is an acceptable term to be used to describe the acts of the Nazis against the Jews. A letter to the editor in 194633 decries how there is still a "military campaign that is being waged against the sad remnant of Jews who survived the holocaust in which 6,000,000 of their brethren perished" while Italy and Bulgaria are not being properly punished for their role in World War II. 'Holocaust' is used as an independent term in the same way we use it today (although it is not capitalized), and the author of this letter correctly states that six million Jews were killed during the holocaust.

Perhaps the first account written by a Holocaust survivor was published in 1947. It is called The Tiger Beneath The Skin and was written by Zvi Kolitz. An article written in 194734 offers harsh critiques against this book. The critic dismisses the vivid and gory accounts of the Holocaust survivors simply because the author has chosen to write the book in a detached mode. He does not like the prose and storytelling methods that the author uses and does not seem to care about the actual stories that are being told. After reading the book, the author feels that "it may be that henceforth both the language and status of the Jews in Eastern Europe will be matters of the past." The critic does a disservice both to the book and the historical events that the book describes by taking such a caustic, belligerent tone in his appraisal of the book.

In 1948 people were still using qualifiers before the term 'holocaust.' Surprisingly, one such written statement that uses the term 'Nazi holocaust' instead of simply 'holocaust' is Israel's Declaration of Independence.2 The term 'Nazi holocaust' appears many more times in various types of articles. In 1952 Mr. de Sola Pool wrote a letter to the Times describing his foundation's effort to erect a memorial to the "6,000,000 Jews who perished in the Nazi holocaust."35 The term 'Nazi holocaust' was still in use in 1959, as it appears in an obituary36 written about a Rabbi who founded the United Jewish Appeal, an organization whose mission was to rescue Jews from Nazi Europe. It is interesting to note that there are 32 passages written about this Rabbi in the obituary, and only one of them mentions the term 'holocaust.'

Qualifiers other then 'Nazi' were used in post-World War II literature as well. Two articles from the 1950's use the term 'European holocaust'. One of them is as ad taken out by the United Jewish Appeal urging Americans to help the two and a half million Jewish refuges living in Eastern Europe.1 The other article is about an alleged Jewish Nazi collaborator who aided the Nazis during the "European holocaust."37 The 'Hitler holocaust' is another popular term and was used in an article written in 1953 urging Americans to aid the "survivors of the Hitler holocaust."38

However, using just 'the holocaust' was a common practice in the 1940's. In 1949 an article was written reviewing a book that the play "Fiddler on the Roof" was based on. It discusses the poor Jewish communities in Russia who "flourished before the holocaust."39 In the 1950's the term 'the holocaust' is even more prevalent in articles. One article describes Himmler's efforts to destroy the Warsaw ghetto as part of "the holocaust"40 Two articles appear in 1959 regarding Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's decision to sell Israeli-arms to West Germany. In a speech to the Knesset (Israel's Parliament), Premier Ben-Gurion stated that "the martyrs of the holocaust" would support Israel's decision to transact any dealings that would guarantee the security and long-term stability of the Jewish homeland.41 An article written two days later42 quotes Premier Ben-Gurion, in defense of the sale of arms to Germans, as saying, "those who carried out the holocaust and those with whom we are in contact today are different person." As one can see, this was a very sensitive subject, as many Jews still harbored hatred and resentment towards Germany as a whole for allowing the Nazis to carry out their misdeeds, but if Israel wanted to attain good standing in the world, she would have to be open to discourse and amicable relations with all countries.

However, 'holocaust' is also used in the years subsequent to World War II to refer to destruction in the same sense it was used prior to World War II. Ironically, one such article, from 194943, is a profile of new German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. The articles states how Adenauer was appointed as Lord Mayor of Cologne after "the holocaust of war ended." Used here, 'holocaust' simply means destruction, with no allusion to the specific destructive acts of the Nazis during the war. Another article, written in the last year of World War II44, quotes an American general as saying that China will emerge "out of this holocaust" as a free and united country. The general was referring to the destruction inflicted by the Japanese on mainland China when he used 'holocaust.' 'Holocaust' was used in two other ways in articles written in the 1950's. With the Cold War in full effect, the term 'nuclear holocaust' was frequently used.45 Despite the increasingly serious and negative connotations of the word 'holocaust,' it was still used, albeit infrequently, in everyday instances, such as how, in 195246, the Democratic National Chairman described the controversy surrounding the nomination of a divisive figure as "an upheaval….a holocaust." Used here, 'holocaust' means nothing more then a slight problem, but our perceptions and interpretations of the word have completely changed in the 54 years since this quote was made.

Using the New York Times online database, I searched for the number of occurrences of "holocaust," "holocaust AND Jew," and "nuclear holocaust" from 1930 until 2000. The complete results can be seen in the Appendix. This is not an exact science because the words "holocaust" and "Jew" might be in the same article even though the article is not referring to the Holocaust. This is particularly true of entries that were found from the 1930's before the slaughter associated with the Holocaust even happened. There also might be an article that does refer to the Holocaust without using the word "Jew," so I would have missed those.

As one can see, there are relatively few hits for "holocaust AND Jew" before the 1960's. The number of hits increased from 3.4% in 1960 to 11.5% in 1961. This is due to the fact that the trial for Adolf Eichmann occurred in 1961, and this trial was heavily covered by the press. The number of hits fluctuates after that, but seems to start steadily increasing in 1968. The largest number of hits, 31.2%, occurred in 1987.

The number of hits of "holocaust AND Jew" was then compared to Zev Garber's study of the number of Ph. D dissertations with the word Holocaust in the title. The number of hits from 1970 to 1985 is relatively stable, with a slight increase in the 1980's. This somewhat backs up Garber's findings. However, similarly to his findings, there are relatively few hits before 1970.

"Nuclear holocaust" was also searched to see when that term came into popular usage. Starting in the late 1950's, there are a significant number of hits of this term due to the escalating tensions resulting from the Cold War and the fear of an atomic war. The number of hits dramatically increases in the early 1960's, which parallels the beginning of the Vietnam War and impending showdown with Communist Russia. The number of hits peaks in 1982 at 120, and then dramatically decreases during the 1990's, which coincides with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Etymological History of the Word 'Holocaust'

In his book Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, Raymond Williams explains how the meaning of a word, along with the way we understand it, can change over time. Sometimes, this shift in meaning can occur rapidly. 7 One such example of a word changing its meaning rapidly is the term holocaust. As we know, the word holocaust was not created to specifically describe the death of Jews in World War II, but within forty years of that event taking place, the word holocaust has become synonymous with the evil deeds of the Nazis. Williams goes on to state that "societies mold meaning into words."7 We can see how this is true in that whenever a Holocaust survivor, or anyone with an emotional attachment to the Holocaust, hears the term 'the Holocaust', they automatically feel a swell of emotion. Because our society has molded such a horrific event with the word holocaust, we are now compelled to react strongly to said word. We would not react at all to that same word if it did not have these implications and meanings.

As we have just seen, words can drastically change their meaning as time passes and words evolve. Another way if which words can change their meaning is when they are translated from one language to another. In French parent means relative, lecture means reading, sensible means sensitive, and veste means jacket.8 The word holocaust, from the Greek holocaustros, literally means "burnt whole," but today when one says holocaust this is not the definition we think of.

The word holocaust was first used in the 13th century to mean a whole burnt offering, referring specifically to a religious sacrifice. The first written appearance of this word occurred in 1250 in The Story of Genesis and Exodus, when the word was used to mean a religious sacrifice. Beginning in the 15th century, holocaust evolved into meaning "any large or complete sacrifice, often in a figurative sense."8 In this figurative sense, 'holocaust of love' was often used to mean complete, undying love. When used in this manner, holocaust carries a positive connotation, which seems surprising. If thought of in the figurative sense, our use of 'the Holocaust' to refer to the death of Jews does not have to satisfy the literal meaning of the word, because it was acceptable to mean it in a strictly figurative sense. Another rationalization of the usage of holocaust is that instead of meaning a sacrifice, holocaust was used to mean simply complete destruction or a great disaster. These interpretations would hopefully help to mollify those that are offended by the literal implications of the word.

Beginning in the 17th century, 'destruction by fire' was generally present in the definition of holocaust. The word arrived at its present day definition after World War II, when it was adopted to refer to the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis.8 We can see how over the course of eight-hundred years many meanings of a word can appear and disappear, but, generally speaking, the roots and deep connotations of a word remain.

In exploring the evolution of the usage of the term 'holocaust' in modern dictionaries, many editions of several different dictionaries were looked at. All of the dictionaries came from the stacks of Kelvin Smith Library, on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. This library has close to ten different editions of dictionaries published under the Oxford University Press heading. The earliest one that was looked at has a surprising addition to its definition of 'holocaust' concerning complete destruction. It says that holocaust can be used to mean complete destruction "especially of a large number of persons; a great slaughter or massacre."9 This definition refers to a holocaust as an act that kills a lot of people, but this dictionary, from 1955, was published before 'the Holocaust' was used to describe the Nazis' actions in World War II, so we can see that prior to World War II holocaust was already used to mean a massacre, even though we commonly think of 'the Holocaust' as ushering in the use of holocaust to mean mass killings.

The next edition that was examined was published in 1982 and includes "mass murder of Jews by Nazis 1939-45"10 in its definition. This is one of the earliest editions of any dictionary to include the mention of World War II. The definition also signifies that when used in this regard, holocaust should be capitalized, but does not have to be preceded by 'the'. Another surprising aspect of this edition is that it lists 'final solution' as a term that it defines. When studying the Holocaust, the final solution is but one of many aspects of this large topic, so it is difficult to say why Oxford decided to include this term, especially so early in the general scholarship of the Holocaust.

The next edition of the Oxford dictionaries that were examined is from 1989.11 It lists 'the Holocaust' as a separate entry from other definitions of the word, and greatly expands on the definition as compared to the earlier edition. The definition states how the Holocaust refers not only to Jews, but also to others who suffered the same fate during World War II. Oxford does not seem to have formed a consensus as to whether the Holocaust refers to only Jews or others as well. Several other dictionaries are inconsistent in their definition also.

This definition also notes that 'the Holocaust' was used beginning in the 1950's as an equivalent to churban and shoah. However, there is no indication that these two alternate words were used much at all this early on in the history of the study of the Holocaust. This dictionary also proclaims that 'the Holocaust' become the accepted, even preferred, nomenclature in 1957, one year before the publication of Wiesel's Night and six years before he first used the word in writing. It is obviously difficult to designate a specific date to attribute the creation of the word to, but choosing 1957 does not seem to follow any logical reasoning. The dictionary does do a good job by stating how 'holocaust of Jews' was used during World War II, but 'the Holocaust' was not used until the 1950's.

Following the 1989 version, an Oxford dictionary from 199112 was looked at. In the general definition of 'holocaust', this edition used nuclear war as an example of a holocaust. This is a departure from the standard of using holocausts to describe fires and earthquakes. This edition states that 'the Holocaust' encompasses Jews as well as other persecuted groups, and talks about the mass murder carried out by the Nazi regime, "especially during World War II." This definition implies that there was a holocaust occurring before World War II started. Perhaps they are referring to the ghettoes and loss of civil rights that Jews and other groups were subject to before World War II started in 1939, but there were no mass killings taking part during this time period.

Three different Oxford dictionaries were published in 2002; the Concise13, English Reference14, and Shorter English Dictionaries15. The Concise edition has a shorter definition of 'holocaust', as well as 'the Holocaust', when compared to other Oxford dictionaries. Curiously, the second definition of holocaust reads "historical- a Jewish sacrificial offering burnt on an alter." This definition is not seen in many dictionaries, and it is surprising that Oxford decided to include this seldom used definition, especially in its concise version. This edition also excludes any mention of anything being consumed by fire, focusing instead on the destructive acts of man (slaughter, nuclear war).

The English Reference Dictionary14 of 2002 is the first Oxford dictionary to have 'the Holocaust' as a separate entry from 'holocaust'. One would think that Oxford would include a separate submission for 'the Holocaust' sooner then 2002, but this is not the case. The definition of 'the Holocaust' is long and detailed. It includes groups other then Jews (Gypsies and homosexuals) but definitely focuses on the persecution and pain suffered by the Jews. Aside from the mass killings, this definition includes the systematic deprivation of civil rights and confinement to ghettoes as part of the Holocaust. Anyone is free to interpret when they think the Holocaust began, and Oxford feels that it started in 1933 with Hitler's ascension to power. An interesting note is that the first sentence of this definition is the word-for-word definition that the Encyclopedic Dictionary of 199212 uses to define 'the Holocaust'.

The definitions used by the Shorter English15 and Concise Dictionaries13 of 2002 are very similar. However, the Shorter English version has 'the Holocaust' as a separate entry under the general term 'holocaust' and fails to denote that 'the Holocaust' should be capitalized. They also include 'Holocaust denial' under 'the holocaust' and give a definition for this term. While it does not seem necessary, it is a testament to the prevalency of Holocaust denial that Oxford chose to put a definition of this term into their definition of 'the holocaust'.

The first mention of 'the Holocaust' in any dictionary that was examined occurs in Webster's New World Dictionary from 198122. About twenty years after Elie Wiesel first popularized the term 'the Holocaust', it finally appeared in a dictionary in 1981. This definition emphasizes destruction and has no mention of any type of sacrifice. They describe 'the Holocaust' as "the destruction of millions of Jews." This terminology takes much of the humanity out of the Holocaust, making the Nazis' genocide seem mechanical. Usually one does not think of the horrible act of murder as simply destroying a life, just like you would destroy a house or a tree, but the efficient, emotionless manner in which the Nazis acted would seem to imply this is so.

Oddly enough, five years after Webster's published a dictionary containing 'the Holocaust', their Third International Edition23, which was released in 1986, has no mention of the Holocaust, World War II, or the mass killing of Jews by the Nazis. However, their Collegiate Dictionary24, published in the same year, does include "the genocidal slaughter of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II" as one of their definitions of 'holocaust'. It is hard to say exactly why Webster's decided to do this, but apparently they thought that different audiences should be exposed to different interpretation of the word.

The American Heritage dictionaries have by far the most thorough explanation of the word usage and history of 'the Holocaust'. The third16 and fourth17 editions of the American Heritage series were looked at, and their treatments of the word are essentially identical. They describe the Holocaust as being a genocide of Jews, as well as a genocide of others. However, after reading Katz, we know that, despite other groups being heavily persecuted, only Jews underwent a genocide during World War II. This definition also implies that 'the Holocaust' was a specific example of a number of mass slaughters that could be deemed holocausts.

The paragraph on word usage tells us several interesting facts about how people view the term holocaust today. Nowadays, holocaust is mainly used to mean man killing man, with 'the Holocaust' and the term 'nuclear holocaust' both helping to bring this change about. 99% of their Usage Panel accepts holocaust to mean a "massive destruction of human beings by other human beings." However, only 60% approve it meaning loss of human life over a longer time, such as lives lost over the course of a war. This would make the French using 'l'holocauste' to signify soldiers killed during World War I inappropriate, or at least not as acceptable. Death by natural causes is accepted by less then a third of the Usage Panel. This is a far cry from when holocaust was used to mean death by fire or earthquakes. The Usage Panel also finds it "overblown or in poor taste" to use holocaust to describe the loss of money, or any other material items. Even thought the wording of the definition of holocaust fits this usage, the fact that most people equal 'holocaust' with 'the Holocaust' leads people to have a serious, deadly association with the word 'holocaust'. A loss of money or property is simply not serious enough to warrant this connotation anymore.

The paragraph on word history states that the totality of destruction has been central to the meaning of the term 'holocaust' since the fourteenth century. When applied to the Jews being killed by the Nazis, would this refer to the killing of all of the Jews or burning their entire bodies? Because many Jews were buried in massive human graves, as opposed to having their entire bodies burnt, it seems that the Holocaust would then mean the attempt by the Nazis to kill every Jew that they could. Steven Katz would certainly agree with this assumption.

'Holocaust' comes from the Greek holokauston, which means "that which is completely burnt." Holokauston comes from the Hebrew word ola, which means "that which goes up (in smoke)". We see that historically, the word 'holocaust' has always had an emphasis on burning, but that connotation has disappeared from our mindset, as we have adopted it to mean mass killings, not mass burning. Over the past one hundred years, the word has been used to describe "war, rioting, storms, epidemic diseases, and even economic failure." As we can see, burning has slowly been erased from the meaning of 'holocaust', but the word continues to have a negative connotation. The paragraph also states that 'holocaust' was first applied to the Nazis' killing of the Jews in 1942. However, I first found it in the New York Times. They also credit Elie Wiesel for popularizing 'the Holocaust' in the late 1950's, which we agree with.

Funk & Wagnall's18 has an extremely interesting definition of 'holocaust'. Aside from the standard definition of holocaust as a complete, burnt sacrifice, they specify that a holocaust is "a form of oblation (act of offering something, such as worship or thanks, to a deity19) practiced by the Jews as well as pagan nations." They go on to say that this holocaust is "an act of atonement or consecration to G-d." The first question is why do they include Pagan nations in this definition? Are there still even any Pagan nations alive today? If a holocaust is an act of atonement and requires offering something to G-d, then did the Jews willingly die to appease G-d? And did the Nazis, those offering the sacrifice, play a positive, helpful role in this sacrifice? Another confusing aspect of this definition is that 'holocaust' was first used in English in books of the bible. These books were written in English by Christians, so these Christians used the word to describe an ancient practice of Jews; the Jews did not use this term on themselves. This same exact definition is found in the 1963 edition of Funk & Wagnall's dictionary20, but later editions removed this reference to Jews and Pagans. The 1973 edition21 describes a holocaust as a sacrifice or loss of life, but does not mention Jews in any context.

While some dictionaries denote that 'the Holocaust' entails every aspect of the Nazis' actions preceding and during World War II, Random House25 specifies that the Holocaust denotes the "mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II." According to this definition, Jews were the only people who suffered through the Holocaust, and the term 'Holocaust' does not apply to the ghettoes or loss of civil rights that the Jews were subject to prior to concentration camps.

Richardson's Dictionary26, written in 1875, has an extremely unusual, and somewhat offensive, example of how the term 'holocaust' should be used. The excerpt they used, taken from Waterland Works, reads: "When the fathers opposed their sacrificial fire (the fire of the spirit) to the sacrificial fire of the Jews and Pagans, they supposed it to enlighten, inflame, and spiritualize, not the elements but the persons: therefore the persons were the true and acceptable sacrifices, living sacrifices, burning and shining holocausts." According to this statement, Christians were instructed to offer up Jews to G-d as a sacrifice by burning them alive. The tone of this excerpt makes it seem acceptable and natural for this to happen. By saying that the purpose of the sacrifice was to "enlighten, inflame, and spiritualize" Jews, this work states that killing the Jews is for their own good. By burning them alive, the Christians are saving the souls and getting rid of the Jews at the same time. The fact that the Jews are being put to death against their will is irrelevant. By stating that the Jews are "acceptable sacrifices", the author of this work is giving future generations the green light to kill other religious groups whenever they see fit, setting a dangerous precedent. Although this dictionary was published over one hundred and thirty years ago, its wording should not be taken lightly.

Evolution and Appropriateness of the Term 'Holocaust'

When saying "the Holocaust," it can be assumed that one is talking about everything that happened to Jews under the Nazi regime.3 Accounts of ghettos and labor camps are categorized under the Holocaust even though the ghettos and labor camps did not specifically entail a genocide. This is one major distinction between using "the Holocaust" and "the Armenian holocaust"; the Holocaust refers to the entire sequence of events that that Jews endured during World War II, while the "Armenian holocaust" refers specifically to the mass slaughter of Armenians in 1916-17 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

This is one of many examples of how specific terminology plays a large role in how we perceive events and ideas. When the British colonies of North America won their independence against England in 1776, they decided to name their new country the United States of America. The name United States implies that the founders of this country thought of each state as separate, and only loosely allied with the other states that compromised this new nation. Another example of how terminology is arrived at through unique perspectives can be seen in the names of the major Western religions. The terms Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all describe different sets of beliefs, and one can gain a great deal of insight into the basis's for these beliefs by examining what these three terms mean. Judaism refers to the kingdom of Judea, meaning Judaism refers to the laws and practices of an ancient people. The name Christianity is derived from the man Jesus Christ, and Christian's religious beliefs are guided solely on the works and teaching of this man. Islam means submission (to G-d), so practitioners of Islam base their spiritual beliefs solely on G-d's will. Upon looking more closely at the terminology each religion uses to summarize their belief structure, one can see the basis for the differences between these essentially similar religions.

The word holocaust is derived from the Greek word holokaustos. The Greek definition of this word is "something wholly burnt up."3 The definition has evolved to the point where today when someone says the word holocaust they are almost always using the word to mean "total destruction," but not necessarily by fire. As one can see, the word holocaust has a very different meaning and connotation then the terms massacre or genocide, but often these three words are used interchangeably. Perhaps a more appropriate name for the Nazi's slaughter of the Jews would be the Genocide or the Massacre because these terms do not imply any deeper meaning than a mass killing of a group of people of a specific ethnic identity.

Zev Garber feels that the term Holocaust is an appropriate term to use because the imagery associated with this word evokes the smell of burning corpses in furnaces at the Nazi death camps.3 Perhaps this is true today, but historically this was not so because the term holocaust, in referring to the Nazi's deeds during World War II, occurs in the New York Times before people were fully aware of the atrocities that the Nazis were committing. An example of this is an article titled "Yom Kippur Ends in Plea for Peace"4 in which the sermons of several prominent rabbis in New York City are quoted. These rabbis are promoting peace and understanding and praying for an end to "Hitler's holocaust." However, this article was written in 1941, when there was very little knowledge of exactly what ghastly deeds the Nazis were perpetrating.

The word holocaust, meaning a sacrifice, appears often in the Hebrew Bible, as well as in Catholic Bibles that were written. However, this word is different from the Hebrew word olah, which means a sacrifice to G-d.3 Despite the fact that holocaust had no explicit religious overtones, it evolved to mean a religious sacrifice because the word was associated heavily with the Bible, and sacrifices that were written about in the Bible are most often of the religious variety. Because of this occurrence, the word holocaust could be used without any religious connotations, but some form of religiousness was often implied in its usage. Many people favor the term Shoah over the Holocaust because Shoah has no religious connotations whatsoever. Other words that have no religious connotations and could easily take the place of Holocaust are, as mentioned earlier, genocide or massacre, but also annihilation, extermination, and slaughter, among others.

There is much debate as to whether or not the original users of the term holocaust fully comprehended the religious undertones of the word. Zev Garber feels that the early users of the term did understand its deeper meaning.3 While many people of the time probably did understand its deeper meaning, most users of the term did not even know the full definition of the term. Journalists covering the War were not versed in religious terminology, and probably felt that holocaust was a good word simply because it sounded poetic and mysterious. Common people reading the newspaper would see the atrocities of the Nazis being referred to as a holocaust, and then they would adopt the term themselves to describe the events. There are many words today that have religious connotations but when used in everyday conversation are devoid of their religious undertones.

To show how sometimes the term holocaust is used inappropriately, Zev Garber describes how the French used the term l'holocauste to describe the massive number of French soldiers killed during World Wars I and II. Professor Garber feels that the French used this term out of ignorance as to what the term holocaust's true definition is.3 However, it is quite possible that the French knew the term's true meaning when they decided to use it. Instead of thinking of the soldiers' deaths as a sacrifice to G-d, perhaps they feel that the soldiers sacrificed themselves for their country. By knowing that the term holocaust implied a sacrifice, as well as utter destruction, the French were right on in describing the deaths of their patriots as a noble, honorable holocaust.

People who dislike the use of holocaust to describe the slaughter of the Jews during World War II object to the term because if holocaust is used as a sacrifice to G-d and the Jews are the ones being sacrificed to Him, then what does that make the Nazis? Are they the noble and righteous priests offering up the sacrifice to please G-d? Are they fulfilling a promise they made with G-d? Will they now be favored by G-d because they have offered up such a bountiful sacrifice to Him? Did G-d demand that the Nazis offer up the Jews as a sacrifice?3 If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then this would cast the Nazis in a positive light and mean that what they did was good and just. This viewpoint is entirely unacceptable, and understandably so, to anyone who has meditated on the true meaning of the word holocaust and its implications to those involved. By thinking of both those sacrificed and the sacrificers themselves, one comes away with the impression that both sides had made some sort of arrangement, and this arrangement was satisfying to all involved, as well as to G-d. By thinking of the term holocaust in this light, describing the genocide that took place to the Jews as a holocaust is disturbing, repugnant, and insulting.

However, many scholars and theologians, including Elie Wiesel, who favored the holocaust as an acceptable term, did not think of the term holocaust in this light. They comprehended the full meaning of the term but did not pay much thought to the sacrificers, just to those who were sacrificed. Elie Wiesel, although not the first person to use the term the Holocaust, is widely credited with putting the term "on the map." His book Night, an account of surviving the Ghetto and then the concentration camps, was first published in 1958. The book was extremely moving and widely read. However, he did not use the term "the Holocaust" in his work until October 27, 1963. Another event that brought the events of the Holocaust into the public domain was the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. Eichmann helped create the model for Nazi death camps, develop lethal and efficient gassing techniques, and organize the system for deporting Jews to these camps.5 His trial brought to light the gruesome details of the Nazis' activities. The trial garnered massive media attention and brought these disturbing and unbelievable revelations into everyone's living room. There is a spike in the number of occurrences of the term 'holocaust' in relation to the events of World War II in the New York Times in the year 1963.

To gauge the rise in interest in the Holocaust in the years following World War II, Zev Garber charted the number of Ph.D. dissertations with the word Holocaust in the title. There were none before 1970, 21 between 1970 and 1975, 97 between 1976 and 1980, and 274 between 1981 and 1985.3 As one can see, there was an explosion of historical interest in the Holocaust , but this explosion did not occur until about forty years after the Holocaust began. Why there was very little academic interest in the Holocaust immediately following it is not fully understood. Perhaps it took that long for people to accept the Holocaust as complete and sheer truth, or perhaps people were too emotionally scarred in the years right after the War to want scholars to probe into the tragic and sad details of the War, which took so many lives.

Wiesel liked the term Holocaust because of its religious connotations. In defending his rationale for choosing a somewhat controversial term, Wiesel has created an extensive and spiritual theory to describe the astonishing hardships the Jews had to endure during the Holocaust, as well as throughout history. Wiesel's speculations are based on his personal experience as a survivor, not one who perished. He feels that Isaac was the first of many Holocaust survivors. His father, Abraham, was told by G-d to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, but at the last minute G-d told him not to, saving Isaac's life. This story is representative of the Jewish plight of survival in the face of extreme danger. Throughout history, Jews have been faced with imminent risk, but have survived every hardship.3 Using this logic, Wiesel feels that the Holocaust is just one example out of many of Jews being faced with major hardships and persevering. The Holocaust is not a unique event in Judaism, just another test of Jews' faith.

Like many survivors of the Holocaust, Isaac had accepted death as his fate, yet miraculously emerged from his trial alive.3 This viewpoint is reassuring to those who survived the Holocaust, but what about the six million Jews who did not survive? The analogy to Isaac would be more appropriate if none, or only a few, had been killed in the Holocaust. It is not acceptable for so many to die just so those who survived could be validated by this theory. Another problem in this theory is that in the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22- Akedah)3, Abraham is the one who is actually tested, not Isaac. This would mean that the Nazis, representing Abraham, were tested (and failed), while the Jews (Isaac) were merely pawns in this test by G-d. Ultimately, Isaac is saved, and while there were many Holocaust survivors, there were millions more who did not survive.

Another reason why Wiesel feels that the massacre of the Jews in World War II should be called the Holocaust, with its religious connotations, is because G-d was indeed present during those rough times. To be the chosen people, you must get tested, as evidenced by Isaac, the Jews who were slaves in Egypt, and those who went though the ordeal of the Holocaust.3 Being the chosen people carries with it an extra burden, and sometimes this extra burden causes extreme hardship and suffering, but because of the covenant G-d make with the people of Israel, He will always make sure that the Jews ultimately survive.

Ultimately, Wiesel chose the word Holocaust to describe the horrific matters that took place because he felt that G-d needed to have a place in this event for it to make sense as a Jewish catastrophe. He felt that one cannot rationalize what took place without including G-d in this confusing, disturbing, dramatic disaster.3 However, no matter what view one takes, it is extremely difficult to try to rationalize the killing of six million Jews under any circumstance. It is hard to criticize survivors of the Holocaust who have thought of possible reasons as to why they were put through such an ordeal and survived, but a proper name for what was perpetrated by the Nazis should pay homage to both the survivors and those who lost their lives.

Another group of Jewish thinkers rationalize the Holocaust as a spiritual, Jewish event via a different train of thought. Conservative Kabalistic scholars feel that the Holocaust is a tikkun, an act which has a unifying, restorative effect on the cosmic order. Such acts help to mend both the world below and the world above.6

While it is hard to argue with people about their deep-seeded religious beliefs, this explanation feels like a cop-out that fails to recognize the real matters at hand. While many Jews feel that any major event requires a religious explanation, it is also important to pay attention to the black and white issues. The reality of the matter is that millions of Jews were ruthlessly butchered. There is nothing spiritual or transcendent about that fact. Men and women carried out atrocious acts against their fellow human beings. The cold, brutal acts were carried out by men grounded in flesh and blood. The issues of the Holocaust is a far cry from the story of Abraham and Isaac; a story which had a happy resolution and is recollected upon fondly.

The people who feel this way, that the Holocaust is not a spiritual event, take a different approach then Wiesel in studying the matters of the Holocaust. They feel that the images and stories of the Holocaust should be kept gritty, ugly, and real. Because it happened within the memory of the victims of whom we have pictures and documents from, many feel that it is inappropriate to cast the Holocaust as a biblical event, similar to other events that took place in the Bible thousands of years ago.

While there can be parallels drawn between the Jews in the Holocaust and the trials of Isaac, there is another Biblical story that is much more relatable; the story of Job. G-d tested Job's faith in Him and in the process Job suffers greatly and questions His motives.3 Holocaust survivors should easily be able to draw parallels between the suffering they went through and the suffering that Job went through both as tests of their will and faith in G-d. This direct trial by fire that Job was subject to should resonate with survivors, yet there is very little theological discussion comparing Holocaust survivors with Job.

Garber feels that the main reason for this is that Job was not Jewish, and the Holocaust should be a story about Jewish survival. Jewish survival is the underlying theme behind the entire story of Isaac3, and thus Holocaust survivors are more likely to identify with the man who represents Jewish survival, as opposed to some simple merchant who happened to be tested by G-d. However, in making such a big deal about the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, prominent Jewish theologians are unwittingly sending the message that Jewish survival is more important then the survival of other groups of people. Saying that Jewish survival is the single most important thing in the world can be deemed as insensitive to other peoples, and perhaps that is why Jewish thinkers have not said such things explicitly.

If the Holocaust was a divine plot, then were the Allied forces that defeated the Nazis interrupting the Lord's work? Did G-d know exactly how many Jews would perish and exactly how many would survive the Holocaust before the first concentration camp was even built? If G-d somehow, for some reason, planned the Holocaust, then He would have known beforehand how many Jews would die and precisely when the Nazis would be defeated and the gassings terminated. It is extremely hard to believe that G-d would "let" the Nazis commit their atrocious deeds before "letting" the Allies conquer the Nazis, but this is precisely what those who feel G-d's hand in this act would be forced to subscribe to. If this is the case, are other examples of groups of people being summarily massacred, with fortunate survivors, the work of G-d also? Would we be going against G-d's wishes in fighting for the oppressed people? Jewish teaching says no. We should always helps others who are oppressed, and we would be loathe to assume that there was some sort of divine reason for anyone killing any other group of people anywhere on this Earth.

Another reason why people feel that the Holocaust should not be thought of as a uniquely Jewish experience is because in this "sacrifice to G-d", the Jews were not the only ones who were killed. Countless Gypsies, homosexuals, Poles, and Russian POWs were slaughtered as well. Although the Holocaust was an overwhelmingly Jewish matter, it was not solely the Jews who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. To think of the Holocaust as the Jews being sacrificed to G-d ignores all of the gentiles who were killed at camps across Europe during the War. The death of one person is just as significant as the death of another person, regardless of their religion, race, social status, or sexual orientation.

Garber feels that the atrocious actions taken by the Nazis should not be isolated as being unique to Germans of that era. The Nazi's ability to display gross inhumanity is not an attribute of a specific group of people; rather it is an inherent characteristic that lays in the heart of all men.3 It seems that Garber is oversimplifying the motivations and feelings of the common German people during the Nazi era. He is saying that man is not capable of controlling himself and that man is too weak to realize when he is wrong and alter his course of action. If Garber is correct, then it would stand to reason that perhaps a similar holocaust would have occurred after the American Civil War to rid the country of blacks. All men are prone to inhumane behavior, yet Americans in the South after the Civil War, many of whom deeply despised black people, were able to control themselves and refrain from propagating a system of mass murder against a group of people they deemed to be inferior. There are countless examples of people abstaining from carrying out genocides against a group of people they detest, and the Nazis should be held to this same standard.

Examining the events of the Holocaust proves the horror of what human beings are capable of doing and suffering through.3 This assertion should make us view the "Holocaust" as a unique, special occurrence which cannot be duplicated. By using the term "holocaust" to describe atrocities that other groups of people have suffered through and thus making these events special as well, the term "Holocaust" loses its uniqueness and Jewishness. For this reason, Wiesel rarely uses the word Holocaust anymore. He feels that the term has suffered from overkill, and as a result the word has lost its sanctity.3 The Holocaust was a good and proper term, but because the term has been overused and become part of common terminology, its deeper meaning has disappeared. For this reason numerous people suggest using a different word which specifically describes what happened to the Jews during World War II. Many people feel that a Hebrew word, such as Shoah or Churban, would be more appropriate and would not suffer the same fate of being overused as did the term Holocaust.

It is Garber's contention that Jewish theologians such as Wiesel, who view the Jews as special victims who endured unprecedented hardships, feel that Jews deserve special attention, and thus what could be "Hitler's holocaust" becomes "the Holocaust." Garber does not agree with this outlook, as he thinks the Holocaust is neither unique nor a strictly Jewish event. However, others disagree with both of these views. Others tend to favor the views of Steven Katz, who feels that the Holocaust is singularly unique and that G-d is completely absent from this entire affair. The Basic Claim is his book The Holocaust in Historical Context is: "The Holocaust is phenomenologically unique by virtue of the fact that never before has a state set out, as a matter of intentional principle and actualized policy, to annihilate physically every man, woman, child belonging to a specific people."6

Katz's viewpoint appears to be the most reasonable because it recognizes the Holocaust as being a unique event in the course of history and backs up this claim with multitudes of evidence. Even though the Holocaust was a uniquely Jewish event, he does not feel that this uniqueness implies any sort of religious subtext. Instead of focusing on the various religious views of the Holocaust, Katz takes a scientific, methodological approach to proving his claim, and therefore the conclusions that one reaches after reading his work seem rational and self evident.

Katz recognizes that countless Polish intellectuals, Russian POWs, Gypsies, and homosexuals were mass-murdered as well, but these massacres do not constitute genocide.6 Because the Jews were subject to genocide, they deserve special consideration and thus the study of what the Nazis perpetrated against them deserves to be called the Holocaust.

One factor that made the Holocaust unique is the unique characteristics of anti-Semitism. Katz feels that anti-Semitism is entirely different form ordinary forms of prejudice such as race and religion because throughout the history of the Western world, anti-Semitism has remained entrenched in the minds of commoners despite revolutions in thought and ever evolving means of viewing the world.6 As a result of this vile perspective of Jews, civilians who witnessed the Holocaust were not entirely shocked or appalled when Hitler began to carry out his final solution. Rather, they very well may have thought "it's finally happening." After hundreds of years of Christian leaders denouncing the Jews as evil and using them as scapegoats, it could not have come as much of a shock to commoners that the Jews were finally being punished for their crimes against humanity. Examples of ignorant Jewish hate can be seen in the superstition that Jews have horns, the thought that matzo is make from children's blood, and the dramatic, gory renditions of the Passion of Christ, which were used to incite violence against Jews and luckily are not still performed today. (oh yeah, ignore the last seven words of that sentence)

Because the acts perpetrated by the Nazis are so horrendous as to have never been carried out before, the Holocaust is therefore singularly unique and thus deserves to be capitalized and preceded by the word "the." Other events that we annotate as being a holocaust, while bad, are not so terrible as to be unique in history, and thus do not deserve a capital-H holocaust. The fact that the Holocaust is so unique also leads one to believe that perhaps the word Holocaust is too common to be used to describe the horrid events of World War II. If the acts that the Nazis perpetrated were so unique, should not a singularly unique word be used to describe said acts?

For this reason it seems suitable to use a Hebrew word such as Shoah or Churban, which have no explicit meaning to us, to describe the Holocaust, as opposed to using a normal word with a previous meaning because the previous meaning of any word we use would cloud our interpretation of the events that took place. Shoah and Churban mean nothing to us until we picture them as representing the awful events of World War II. At this point, when we hear the words Shoah or Churban, our minds immediately picture the acts of the Nazis, and no secondary meanings of these words exist to cloud our mental picture. The main problem with this train of thought is that these Hebrew words do have meaning to anyone who speaks Hebrew. To someone who speaks Hebrew, a Shoah is a catastrophe and a Churban means destruction. To use these everyday Hebrew words to describe the events of World War II is no different than us using "Holocaust" or any other English word to describe these events.

There is another reason why Wiesel regrets popularizing, albeit unwittingly, the term Holocaust. He chose the term because he found it poetic and mysterious, but did not think that it should be used as the end-all term to describe all of the tragedies that the Jews suffered through during World War II. There is no one word in the human language that can summarize all of these events. Because of the unspeakable amount of horror and suffering that was inflicted by the Nazis, many survivors feel that silence is the best means to describe what happened. If used, many people think that the term Holocaust should be kept vague and mysterious because it is impossible, as well as offensive, for scholars to attempt to catalogue and define the catastrophic events of World War II.3 However, maintaining the ambiguity of the Holocaust is an impossibility, as many Jews feel that the most important message from the Holocaust is to never forget what can happen when fear and superstition are used against the Jews, or any other minority. As a result, Jews have stressed the teaching and understanding of the Holocaust, even if it proves unattainable for anyone to truly comprehend the feelings and emotions that those who experienced the Holocaust felt at the time and continue to feel. Although the Holocaust is certainly an imperfect term, it is vital that we continue to recognize and discuss what transpired sixty years ago. Even if our personal knowledge of these events can never approach the knowledge that survivors have, it is vital to keep this subject out in the open, and if doing so requires us to use an imperfect term, so be it.

Katz feels that the Holocaust does deserve a name because he does not desire to mystify the Holocaust. He wants to maintain the singularity of the Holocaust in terms of its brutality, thoroughness, and grotesqueness.6 Doing so requires us to catalog the events of the Holocaust, discuss them openly, and attempt to learn as much as we can about these events. Only by gathering as much information about the Holocaust as possible can we justify the claim that the Holocaust is a unique event in human history.


There is much scholarship available on the Holocaust, but few scholars have written about what using this term implies to those who survived it and to the general public. The purpose of this paper was to shed light on this aspect of Holocaust study, as well as to show how ideas and feelings about everything, including terminology, slowly evolve over time. Hopefully, after reading this paper, one will ponder what term they feel to be the most appropriate when discussing the events that took place to European Jewry during World War II. Terms that we take for granted today may not have even existed fifty years ago, so we should not feel compelled to use terms solely because they are in use today. Ideally, one will keep this in mind regarding the use of the term "the Holocaust," and it is this author's hope that this will lead to an overall increase in thought and discussion regarding the Holocaust.


Year holocaust holocaust AND Jew percent of total with "holocaust AND Jew" "nuclear holocaust"
1930 28 0 0 % 0
1931 31 0 0 % 0
1932 35 0 0 % 0
1933 15 1 6.7 % 0
1934 24 0 0 % 0
1935 22 0 0 % 0
1936 32 3 9.4 % 0
1937 27 0 0 % 0
1938 23 0 0 % 0
1939 32 0 0 % 0
1940 52 0 0 % 0
1941 50 1 2.0 % 0
1942 53 1 1.8 % 0
1943 56 3 5.4 % 0
1944 39 3 7.7 % 0
1945 64 5 7.8 % 0
1946 48 4 8.3 % 0
1947 51 3 5.9 % 0
1948 31 3 9.7 % 0
1949 33 2 6.1 % 0
1950 28 0 0 % 0
1951 39 0 0 % 0
1952 33 3 9.1 % 0
1953 32 2 6.2 % 0
1954 46 1 2.2 % 2
1955 48 0 0 % 5
1956 64 0 0 % 6
1957 74 0 0 % 10
1958 74 1 1.4 % 7
1959 82 7 8.5 % 20
1960 88 3 3.4 % 22
1961 165 19 11. 5% 35
1962 115 1 .9 % 38
1963 102 2 2.0 % 29
1964 110 12 10.9 % 27
1965 131 14 10.7 % 21
1966 114 8 7.0 % 15
1967 130 8 6.2 % 19
1968 122 22 18.0 % 17
1969 113 15 13.3 % 13
1970 125 14 11.2 % 15
1971 139 32 23.0 % 15
1972 136 38 27.9 % 11
1973 152 26 17.1 % 12
1974 174 33 19.0 % 23
1975 218 44 20.2 % 15
1976 212 25 11.8 % 33
1977 246 44 17.9 % 26
1978 377 85 22.5 % 17
1979 425 81 19.1 % 24
1980 307 50 16.3 % 35
1981 411 75 18.2 % 51
1982 492 112 22.8 % 120
1983 529 120 22.7 % 94
1984 590 134 22.7 % 87
1985 702 207 29.5 % 65
1986 625 162 25.9 % 72
1987 570 178 31.2 % 33
1988 640 188 29.4 % 24
1989 643 162 25.2 % 25
1990 482 130 27.0 % 26
1991 503 141 28.0 % 11
1992 572 163 28.5 % 16
1993 701 189 27.0 % 13
1994 777 182 23.4 % 11
1995 864 192 22.2 % 17
1996 737 201 27.3 % 16
1997 1019 292 28.7 % 17
1998 1051 318 30.3 % 12
1999 991 276 27.9 % 16
2000 825 159 19.3 % 4

Number of hits, per year, of "holocaust," "holocaust AND Jew," the ratio of hits of "holocaust AND Jew" out of the total number of hits for "holocaust," and the number of hits for "nuclear holocaust" from the New York Times online archives between the years 1930 and 2000.

Works Cited

  1. Warburg, Edward M. M., Display Advertisement, no title, the New York Times, February 10, 1953, p. 10
  2. Associated Press, "Proclamation of the New Jewish State," the New York Times, May 15, 1948, p. 2
  3. Garber, Zev, and Zuckerman, Bruce, "Why Do We Call the Holocaust 'The Holocaust'," Double Takes: Thinking and Rethinking Issues of Modern Judaism in Ancient Contexts, University Press of America, Inc, Lanham, MD, 2004, p. 3-26
  4. author not named, "Yom Kippur Ends in Plea for Peace," the New York Times, October 2, 1941, p. 26
  6. Katz, Steven, The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vol. I, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1994, p. 27-51
  7. Williams, Raymond, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, Revised Edition, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1983, p. 11-26
  8. Room, Adrian, Dictionary of Changes in Meaning, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1986, p. 5-7, 140-41
  9. Onions, C.T., the Oxford Universal Dictionary on Historical Principles, 3rd Edition, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, London, 1955, p. 912

    10. Sykes, J.B., the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 7th Edition, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1982, p. 476

    11. Simpson, J.A. and Weiner, E.S.C., the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, Vol. VII, Hat-Intervacuum, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989, p. 315

    12. Hawkins, Joyce M. and Allen, Robert, the Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1991, p. 686

    13. Pearsall, Judy, the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 10th Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002, p. 678

    14. Pearsall, Judy and Trumble, Bill, the Oxford English Reference Dictionary, 2nd Edition, Revised, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002, p. 674-75

    15. Trumble, Williams R. and Stevenson, Angus, Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th Edition, Vol. I, A-M, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002, p. 1257

    16. Soukhanov, Anne H, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 3rd Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, 1992, p. 863

    17. Pickett, Joseph P., the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, 2000, p. 838, 1608

    18. Funk, Isaac K., Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Dictionary of the English Language, Funk & Wagnall's Company, New York, NY, 1949, p. 1171


    20. Funk, Isaac K., Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Dictionary of the English Language, Funk & Wagnall's Company, New York, NY, 1963

    21. Read, Allen Walker, Funk & Wagnall's Comprehensive Standard International Dictionary, J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, Chicago, IL, 1973, p. 602

    22. Guralnik, David B., Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, Students Edition, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1981, p. 454

    23. Gove, Philip Babcock, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam- Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA, 1986, p. 1081

    24. Mish, Frederick C., Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 9th Edition, Merriam-Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA, 1986, p. 576

    25. Flexner, Stuart Berg, the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd Edition, Random House, Inc., New York, NY, 1987, p. 912

    26. Richardson, Charles, Richardson's Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. I, A- K, Chiswick Press, London, 1875, p. 1008

    27. No author, "The European Reaction," the New York Daily Times, March 29, 1853, p. 4

    28. No author, "The Sunday Tyranny," the New York Times, June 13, 1867, p. 5

    29. Special to the New York Times, "Drops Isolationism, Backs Allied Aid," the New York Times, January 2, 1940, p. 8

    30. Mendelsohn, Morris J., Display Advertisement, "Massacred By Foe, Ignored By Friend, A People Appeals to the Conscience of America…," the New York Times, February 23, 1943, p. 13

    31. No author, "Obituary 1," the New York Times, June 18, 1944, p. 35

    32. No author, "$100,000 Raised by Jewish Appeal," the New York Times, December 20, 1944, p. 23

    33. Rosenzweig, S., "Question, One Year Later- Letters to The Times," the New York Times, August 24, 1946, p. 10

    34. Lask, Thomas, "Bitter Wisdom," the New York Times, December 7, 1947, p. 241

    35. de Sola Pool, D., "Memorial to Nazi Victims- Letters to The Times," the New York Times, May 30, 1952, p. 14

    36. No author, "Obituary 1," the New York Times, February 3, 1959, p. 31

    37. Special to the New York Times, "Kastner Cleared By Israeli Court," the New York Times, January 16, 1958, p. 2

    38. No author, "Jews Here Ask Reds to Permit Migration," the New York Times, February 10, 1953, p. 5

    39. Lask, Thomas, "Humor that is Poignant," the New York Times, January 23, 1949, p. BR12

    40. Mitgang, Herbert, "Behind The Wall," the New York Times, April 25, 1954, p. BR34

    41. King, Seth S., "Knesset Upholds Bonn Arms Sale," the New York Times, July 2, 1959, p. 8

    42. Reuters, "Ben-Gurion Studies Early Election Call," the New York Times, July 4, 1959, p. 1

    43. McLaughlin, Kathleen, "Head Man of the New German State," the New York Times, September 18, 1949, p. SM11

    44. No author, "Chiang Dines Hurley," the New York Times, January 9, 1945, p. 4

    45. No author, "An Open Letter to Nikita S. Krushchev," the New York Times, September 18, 1959, p. 28

    46. White, William S., "Texas Bolt Hinted by a Top Democrat," the New York Times, August 30, 1952, p. 4


from the October 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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