Personal Names, Hitler, and the Holocaust. A Socio-Onomastic Study of Genocide and Nazi Germany
Dr. I. M. Nick enjoys a well-deserved reputation for her meticulous scholarship and her ability to engage in interdisciplinary research. Her impeccable credentials are precisely what this massive and very significant project required. She holds a Ph.D. in English linguistics from the University of Freiburg, and an MA in German linguistics (University of Washington, Seattle), a BA in Germanic languages and literature (University of Maryland), a BSc in clinical and social psychology (University
... Maryland), an MSc in forensic and investigative psychology (University of Liverpool), all with university and departmental honors. Finally, she was awarded the prestigious German post-doctoral degree of "Habilitation" for her research in English linguistics (University of Cologne), which represents the highest level of scholarly achievement in Germany. In her "Preface" (2019: ix-xix), Dr. Nick discusses her visit with her mother to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on its opening day (April 22, 1993) and their profoundly personal reactions to its historical significance. It is located on 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW in Washington, DC. Its street address pays homage to the Swedish architect, businessman, diplomat, and humanitarian who saved thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary. He disappeared on January 17, 1945 and was reported to have died on July 17, 1947 in the Lubyanka prison in Moscow. Dr. Nick states that the purpose of this book is "an exploration of names and naming immediately before, during and after the Holocaust" (xiii). Early in her research on names, Nazis, and the Holocaust, she decided not to approach her task from a statistical analytical perspective. Dr. Nick points out that this decision derived from "my profound respect and concern for the millions of people who had their identities and names stolen and replaced with serial digits during the Holocaust. It is also out of profound respect and concern for the people today whose lives have been, are, or will be threatened by a different genocide" (xiii). As a result, Dr. Nick sought to tell the stories of the people behind the names. As she observes, "the namestories shared here are embedded within a historical examination of naming laws, policies, and practices that were significant for the preparation and execution of the atrocities perpetrated during the Holocaust. In addition, this work examines the ways in which similar naming practices have been used in several contemporary genocides" (xiv). In her Acknowledgments section (xxi), Dr. Nick points out that: This work is dedicated to all those people whose names have yet to be recovered, whose stories have yet to be told. This work is gratitude to all those incredible people who so generously and graciously shared the story of their lives and names with me. It has been my profound honor to share these namestories here. And this work is for all of those who will come after us; may you have the strength to live your lives in honor, with kindness, forbearance, and truth. May you always find the courage to protect and cherish those around you as they protect and cherish you. May your own namestory be one filled with tolerance, bravery, honesty, and grace.