[Ads-l] kapo

Margaret Winters mewinters at WAYNE.EDU
Mon Dec 9 17:06:03 UTC 2019

It's the word for 'head' in Italian first (Latin caput), then metaphorically 'boss' etc.  By most evidence, Latin letter c was pronounced [k].  The German is Kopf; cognate or, less plausibly, borrowing.

Former Provost
Professor Emerita - French and Linguistics
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI  48202

mewinters at wayne.edu

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Andy Bach <afbach at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Monday, December 9, 2019 11:03 AM
Subject: Re: kapo

As it appears the 'k for c' swap is fairly common [1], isn't "capo" Italian
for boss/head Mafioso?


*Kapo* - A inmate in charge of a work team. Most of the time, they were
real criminals. They were sadistics and pervert and ready to do anything in
order to keep their position in the hierarchy of the camp.
*Kartoffeln* - Potato
*Kasztan* - German - used by Russian and Polish inmates.
*Kautabak* - Chewing tobacco
*Kesselkolonne* - Inmates in charge of bringing the food.
*Klauen* - To steal food from an other inmate.This was the worst thing you
could do in a camp and it was never forgiven.
*Kommando* - Work team
*Kommandofürher* - SS in charge of a work team.
*Kommando X* - In Dachau, the inmates working in the crematories.
*Kommunist* - Communist (SS insult).
*Kost* - Food
*Kostträgger* - Inmates in charge of bringing the food.
*Krematorium* - Crematory.
*Krematoriumhund* - "Crematory Dog" (SS insult)
*Kretiner* - Idiot (SS insult)
*Kretze* - Scabies, really common in the camps.
*Kübel* - Chamber pot.
*Kübelträger* - Inmate who had to change and to clean the chamber pots.
*Küche* - kitchen
*K.Z. *or* K.L.* - Abbreviation for "Konzentrationslager", concentration

On Mon, Dec 9, 2019 at 8:45 AM Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>

> 1. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/08/nyregion/auschwitz-love-story.html
>  <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/08/nyregion/auschwitz-love-story.html>Lovers
> in Auschwitz, Reunited 72 Years Later. He Had One Question.
> By Keren Blankfeld
> December 8, 2019
> ####
> Yet Ms. Spitzer was never a Nazi collaborator or a kapo, a Jew assigned to
> oversee other prisoners.
> ####
> 2. Not in the OED or Merriam-Webster. Wiktionary (
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kapo <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kapo>)
> has: "(historical) A prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was given
> food and privileges in return for supervising other prisoners doing forced
> labor.”
> 3. Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapo_(concentration_camp) <
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapo_(concentration_camp)>
> A kapo or prisoner functionary (German: Funktionshäftling, see §
> Etymology) was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by
> the SS guards to supervise forced labor or carry out administrative tasks.
> 4. https://www.thoughtco.com/kapos-prisoner-supervisors-1779685 <
> https://www.thoughtco.com/kapos-prisoner-supervisors-1779685>
> Role of Kapos in Nazi Concentration Camps
> by Jennifer L. Goss, Contributing Writer
> Updated August 07, 2019
> ####
> Kapos, called Funktionshäftling by the SS, were prisoners who collaborated
> with the Nazis to serve in leadership or administrative roles over others
> interned in the same Nazi concentration camp.
> ####
> ####
> Benjamin Barrett (he/him/his)
> Formerly of Seattle, WA
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org



Andy Bach,
afbach at gmail.com
608 658-1890 cell
608 261-5738 wk

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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