Beware of Nazi Words

Similarly, the late head of the German Central Council of Jews, Paul Spiegel, came under fire in 2005 when he criticized the German policy by which Jews were allowed to move from the former Soviet Union, saying that Russian Jews were being "selected" to live in Germany.

"The use of taboo words seems attractive to all kinds of groups," says Eitz. "To name but a few, even animal rights activists got front-page coverage recently with an anti-factory farming campaign titled 'Holocaust on Your Plate.' Now, that's a no-no and they have been sharply criticized for using the term Holocaust, a term which should be exclusively used to describe the Nazi regime's brutal murder of millions of people during the Third Reich."

There's no specific target group for this dictionary, according to the author. He says it was written for average Germans or German speakers who are interested in the language.

"Having said that," Eitz explains, "it was also written for the younger generation, people in their twenties, who have no idea of Third Reich connotations in the German language. Young people often don't know that certain terms were used by the Nazis and that therefore using those terms can be found upsetting."

Wolfram John, a retired cameraman, tells that people should keep in mind that language is all about how words are used. "It is still far more important to teach the youth of Germany intensively about all the facts of the Third Reich. The 'Dictionary of Coming to Terms With the Past' might be helpful in this context. But there shouldn't be rigid rules: every train in Germany has an 'Anschluss' – a 'connection' to another train. As always in life, the tone (and the intention) makes the music."

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