Sighet: Little town in Transylvania where Elie and his family live before they are deported to the concentration camps.
Talmud: Jewish religious text. Elie is devoted to its studies before his internment.
cabbala: Jewish mystical writings that emphasize the significance of numbers, among other things. Elie studies the cabbala under Moshe the Beadle.
cattle trains (wagons): Train cars that the Germans use to transport the Jews to the concentration camps.
yellow star: A decree comes from the Germans that all Jews wear this identifying symbol. Elie's father's response to the decree is that at least no one dies of it.
ghettos: Jewish settlements set up by the Germans. Two ghettos are created in Sighet before the Jews are deported to the concentration camps.
Auschwitz: The first concentration camp to which the Jews of Sighet are taken. Elie and his father spend three weeks there before being relocated to Buna.
Birkenau: The reception center for Auschwitz. Elie and his father are separated from the female members of the family. Elie's mother and youngest sister are exterminated at Birkenau.
crematory: The fiery furnace where many Jews are sent to their deaths.
baton: Dr. Mengele uses it to separate the prisoners to the left and to the right. The selection process is used to determine those who live and those who die.
Kaddish: A prayer for the dead. Akiba Drumer asks fellow prisoners to recite the Kaddish after his death.
A-7713: The identification number engraved on Elie's arm at Auschwitz. The camp overseers refer to the prisoners by their numbers.
Buna: The second concentration camp where Elie and his father are taken to, it is at Buna where they face the hardest labor and abuse.
Palestine: At Auschwitz, Elie and his friends, Yossi and Tibi talk about going to Palestine after the war. Earlier in the novel, Elie suggests that they relocate to Palestine. Elie's father says that he is too old to start over.
(Elie's) gold crown: A Jewish dentist from Czechoslovakia tries to extract Elie's gold crown without success. However, Franek, the foreman, gets Elie's gold crown by tormenting his father.
gallows: The place of several hangings, including the pipel with the face of an angel.
bell: The bell regulates everything in the camp. The bell signals roll call and even the selection. Elie wishes for a world without bells.
Gleiwitz: The camp the prisoners reach during the winter march. The prisoners move from Gleiwitz to Buchenwald.
Juliek's violin: Juliek plays the violin in a room full of dying men. In the morning, Elie finds Juliek dead and the violin smashed.
Beethoven's concerto: The piece that Juliek plays before his death.
Buchenwald: The concentration camp where Elie's father dies. A Jewish resistance takes control of the camp.