Albert Speer: Master of Forced Labour

Albert Speer

The Armaments Minister and General Building Inspector \(GBI\) took over the Akademie der Künste building in 1937.

In Camp “Große Halle”

František Vendiš from Prague worked for Siemens and lived in the camp “Große Halle”.

The GBI Camp 75/76

A barrack camp of the General Building Inspector is still preserved.

Nearby: Hotel Adlon

Hotel Adlon also used forced labour. A Ukrainian worked here as a stoker.

The General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital (GBI) resided at what is now the present site of the Akademie der Künste. Albert Speer’s special agency not only designed the new monumental buildings of the “World Capital Germania”, but also hundreds of barrack camps for forced labourers in Berlin.

The GBI ran around 75 camps alone for the around 30,000 forced labourers who worked in camp and bunker construction.

“Arbeiterstadt Große Halle” (now Waldkrankenhaus Spandau) and “GBI Camp 75/76” (now the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Center in Schöneweide) both still remain.

In 1942, Albert Speer was appointed Minister of Armaments and, thus, became the chief organiser of the German war economy. He stepped up the exploitation of forced labourers and concentration camp prisoners across Europe.

At the Nuremberg Trials he was able to downplay his responsibility and was sentenced to only 20 years imprisonment.

More on GBI Camp 75/76 in the tour “Through the City of Camps”, stop 11.

Address:

Pariser Platz 4
10117 Berlin

Directions:

S/U Brandenburger Tor

Sources:

“Albert Speer”: Bundesarchiv, photo 183-J14204 (1, 4), Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt (2, 6, 7); Bundesarchiv, photo 183-2004-1103-500 (3); Bundesarchiv, photo 146-1986-029-02 (5)

“In the Camp Große Halle”: Testimony of František Vendiš, 1998, and private photo, Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt

“The GBI Camp 75/76”: Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt (1, 3), Landesarchiv Berlin (2)

“Nearby: Hotel Adlon”: Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt