Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Police and Forced Labor: The behavior of the police and work security staff

The German police had an important role in the organization of forced labor. This was illustrated by the exhibition "Order and Extermination" at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, that incorporated excerpts of interviews with former forced laborers.

In the following video, three contemporary witnesses talk about how they experienced the behavior of German police officers and members of the Werkschutz.

Polizei und Zwangsarbeit. Das Verhalten von Polizisten und Werkschutzmitarbeitern. Ausschnitte aus den Video-Interviews mit Bronislawa A. (aus Weißrussland), André D. (aus Frankreich) und Zdzisław D. (aus Polen), Archiv "Zwangsarbeit 1939-1945", Dauer 9:21 Minuten, Schnitt: Tobias Kilgus, © Freie Universität Berlin 2011

Police and Forced Labor
Not only the Gestapo, but all branches of the German police were involved in Nazi terror, in the Reich and in all conquered territories. The police also had a major role in the deportation of civilians for forced labor for the German war economy and in disciplining them in the camps.

This is a theme of the exhibition developed by the German Historical Museum and the German Police College, "Order and Destruction. The Police in the Nazi State." The exhibition, shown in Berlin in 2011 and in Ingolstadt in 2012, examined the police as a central instrument of rule under the Nazi regime.

In addition to numerous images and documents from a wide variety of archives, the exhibition also featured a media station created by Freie Universität with interview excerpts from the online archive "Forced Labor 1939-1945." Three excerpts can now be viewed online here:

13-year-old "Eastern worker" Bronislawa A. is driven to work by uniformed factory guards. The 22-year-old Frenchman André D. experiences the police guard system, raids and punishments in the forced labor camp of the Heinkel aircraft factory . The 18-year-old Pole Zdzisław D. is harassed and beaten up by the local policeman of a small town in northern Germany .

Biographical data

Bronislawa A.

  • born 1930 near Minsk (Soviet Union)
  • 1943 German occupation forces raid partisans in the village, deportation to Pirmasens (Palatinate)
  • 1943 Forced labor for Differdinger Stahlwerke AG in occupied Luxembourg
  • 1944 Forced labor for a tire factory in Hanover
  • 1945 Liberation and return; later work in collective farm and Minsk factories
  • 1986 pension
  • Interview za020 »
  • Duration 3:29 h, date 25.1.2006, language: russian

André D.

  • born 1922 near Grenoble (France)
  • 1939-1943 Worked on a farm whose owner was a German prisoner of war
  • 1943 conscription to the Service du Travail obligatoire (compulsory labor service)
  • 1943- 1945 Forced labor for Henkel Flugzeugwerke in Eger / Cheb (Sudetenland)
  • 1945 Liberation and return; work as a farmer
  • 1977 Mayor in his hometown, fight for recognition in the association of former forced laborers
  • Interview za077 »
  • Duration 2:17 h, date 23.6.2006; language: french

Zdzisław D.

  • born 1924 in Łódź (Poland).
  • 1937 Graduated from elementary school and worked in his father's bakery.
  • 1940 Forced labor in a munitions factory near Dannenberg (Lower Saxony).
  • 1942 Escape to Łódź and deportation again to work in a bakery in Dannenberg
  • 1945 Stay in a Displaced Persons camp near Hamburg, then return and work as a baker, later as an accountant
  • 2004 visit to Dannenberg
  • Interview za193 »
  • Duration 4:05 h, date: 27.11.2005, language: polish