Headquarters of Terror

Racist Special Laws

Himmler’s Polish and Eastern Workers Decrees meant exploitation, exclusion and humiliation.

Sinaida B.

The Eastern Workers Decree

Sinaida B. tells of the limitations for Soviet forced labourers.

Concentration Camps of the Gestapo

Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who succeeded Reinhard Heydrich as head of RSHA, on the Labour Education Camps, June 1944

In Constant Fear

Maria Andrzejewska from Poland spent ten weeks in the Fehrbellin labour education camp.

The Topography of Terror documents the Nazi crimes at the site of the perpetrators. The Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), headed by Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer SS and Chief of Police, was the headquarters of Nazi terror.

The monitoring of millions of foreigners who had been forced into labour was one of the main activities of the Secret State Police (Gestapo): around two-thirds of all Gestapo arrests involved rebellious forced labourers or those who had attempted to escape.

The Gestapo usually placed arrested forced labourers in so-called labour education camps where they were imprisoned under concentration camp-like conditions for around two months and then returned to work.

The Polish Workers Decrees of 1940 and the Eastern Workers Decrees of 1942 subjected forced labourers from Poland and the Soviet Union to particularly racist treatment.

More on the Gestapo in the tour “Through the City of Camps”, stop 4


Niederkirchnerstraße 8
10963 Berlin


S/U Potsdamer Platz


“Racist Special Laws”: Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt (1-3); Erlass RFSS v. 20.02.1942 (4); Willy Pragher, Staatsarchiv Freiburg, W 134 Nr. 017040 (5)

“The Eastern Workers Decree”: Interview with Sinaida B., 2005, Online archive “Forced Labor 1939-1945”, za465

“Concentration Camps of the Gestapo”: Ernst Kaltenbrunner, June 1944, based on Gabriele Lotfi, Concentration Camp of the Gestapo, Stuttgart/Munich 2000 (text); Bundesarchiv, photo 183-H03554 (photo)

“In Constant Fear”: Testimony of Maria Andrzejewska, 1998, and registration photo, 1942, Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt