ii. the power of words

The derivation of words—the invention and reinvention of them over time—often tells us much about the attitudes of the society using them. Take a look at some of the language used by the Nazis, comparing the original German word to its literal meaning and then its use during the Nazi period. Many of the words from the next page were identified and interpreted by Klemperer. Others come from a volume (titled Nazi Deutsch) used by the United States government in prosecuting Nazi war crimes after the war. The Nazis so thoroughly reshaped the use of language that as the Allied forces were retaking Europe in 1944, the American government commissioned this compendium to be used in order to decode Nazi documents and understand colloquial speech.

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