Horsies, Carry Me Home!

Horsies, carry me home!

The former forced labourer Alina Przybyła from Poland visited Berlin in the year 2000.

Regulated through Comprehensive Measures

Excerpts from Heinrich Himmler’s Polish Workers Decrees concerning forced labourers from Poland, 1940/1943

Poles at Brandenburg Gate

Maria Andrzejewska from Lodz (r.) reports on forced labour and free time.

Brandenburg Gate has been a symbol for German history – from the Napoleonic Wars to the National Socialist takeover to the building and fall of the Berlin Wall.

During the Second World War, around 500,000 forced labourers lived in Berlin, which at that time had four million inhabitants. In the final years of the war, their impact on the urban landscape of the Reich capital became more and more obvious. In May, 1945 they made up almost one sixth of the population in Berlin whose number, due to evacuations and enlistments, had fallen to roughly 2.6 million.

Polish forced labourers like Alina Przybyła, then 14, were required to always wear the “P” patch on their clothing.


Pariser Platz
10117 Berlin


S/U Brandenburger Tor


“Horseys, Carry Me Home!”: Film by Wilma Pradetto “We Did Not Come Freely”, Sender Freies Berlin (RBB), 2000

“Regulated through Comprehensive Measures”: Documenta occupationis X, S. 9f. (text); Bundesarchiv, photo 183-S72707 / CC-BY-SA (photo)

“Poles at Brandenburg Gate”: Testimony of Maria Andrzejewska, 1998, and private photo, Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt