It is located in the middle of a residential area: the 75/76 forced labor camp in Berlin-Schöneweide. From June 1944, deported civilians from all over Europe lived here, as well as more than 400 Italian military internees and about 200 female concentration camp prisoners. Who were they, what did they suffer? Their story, set against the backdrop of 26 million people who were abducted and enslaved by the Third Reich, is told by the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre, which is housed in six of the barracks of the almost completely preserved camp. The location at the very place of injustice is one of the reasons why the exhibition "Forced Labour in the Daily Round 1938-1945" is such an intense experience. Particularly striking is a gallery with large-scale photo portraits of forced labourers - people who were exposed to the Third Reich's racism, abuse and violence every single day. The exhibition "Between Two Stools" deals specifically with Italian soldiers and officers, hundreds of thousands of whom were slaved away by the Nazis in military industrial units as of the end of 1943. In the cellar of Barrack 13, they left a large number of name inscriptions. Further barracks house an archive, a library and an international youth centre.
The Nazi system of forced labor, which is the focus of the Documentation Center, was based on large-scale criminal enslavement and racist violence. Furthermore, it was deeply rooted in the daily lives of Germans. Forced laborers were to be found everywhere: in bakeries, clothing stores, in municipal facilities such as garbage collection, in agriculture, in cemeteries, even in private households. In the Berlin metropolitan area alone, there were about 3,000 camps for forced laborers.
The Documentation Center in Berlin-Schöneweide is the only institution of its kind in an almost completely preserved forced labor camp in the middle of a residential district. On 8 June 1943, the "General Surveyor for the Reich Capital" (GBI) ordered the immediate construction of Camp 75/76 for 2,160 people. However, the camp was never completed and never fully occupied. In June 1944, Polish and Czech forced laborers settled into the first barracks, followed by 435 Italian soldiers and officers. They belong to the 450,000 Italian prisoners of war whom Hitler declared to be "military internees" in order to use them as forced laborers in armaments production, thus violating international law. In 1945, the detainees were joined by a further 250 forced laborers from Western and Eastern Europe as well as a group of female prisoners from a satellite camp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Today some of the barracks are used by a workshop, a sauna, a nursery, a car dealer and a bowling bar. The Documentation Centre, part of the Topography of Terror Foundation, opened in 2006 in the area of the camp where the GDR Vaccine Institute resided until 1995. The centre, which was created thanks to strong civic commitment and the growing public debate about compensation for former forced labourers, considers itself a venue for exhibitions, archives and learning.
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Tuesday - Sunday 10am-6pm