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Geheime Staatspolizei in Frankfurt (Oder)

Regierungsgebäude in der Großen Scharrnstraße. Damals unter anderem Sitz der Geheimen Staatspolizei ©Stadtarchiv

Heute ist es das Hauptgebäude der Europa-Universität Viadrina

The Secret State Police (abbrev. GeStaPo) was one of the most important actors in helping the National Socialists achieve their goals. Next to the radical elimination of any forms of resistance, the persecution of the Jews was one of their central tasks. Along with the other National Socialist organizations, they were central in enforcing the November Pogrom. The police officials compiled lists of those individuals classified as Jews, carried out waves of arrests, and organized the deportations to ghettos, concentration and death camps. Furthermore, the Gestapo had the entirety of the police forces at their disposal, from the ordinary street police to the investigative forces, in order to enforce the stipulations of the Nazi state.

Prison and Labor Camps

The Gestapo had every subordinate department at their disposition for any and all local operations. One in particular was located at Grosse Scharrnstrasse 51/52 in Frankfurt (Oder) from 1935 until 1945. Hitherto the address was the address of Kaufhaus Meyer, which belonged to a Jewish family. Due to forced “Aryanization” it fell into the hands of the Gestapo. The Gestapo in Frankfurt (Oder) also had the jail on Collegien Strasse and a forced labor camp in Schwetig (today Świecko) at their disposal.

The Gestapo primarily used the Jail in Frankfurt (Oder) for the internment of their political enemies. Those interred there lived under constant threat, were abused, tortured and even murdered.

Daily life for prisoners in the forced labor camp “Oderblick” (Oder-vista) in Schwetig was much the same. The camp was formed in 1940 and housed some 4,000 prisoners. The population consisted of not only Jews, but those of Polish, French, Belgian, Spanish and Russian origin. As the Red Army approached in January 1945, the labor camp in Schwetig had to be evacuated. The prisoners who could be evacuated under their own strength were marched to Sachsenhausen. Those who could not were locked into a barracks and burned alive.

The End of the Gestapo

The German police were very methodical in destroying their records and covering up evidence of their deeds well before the end of the Second World War.

The files in Frankfurt (Oder) were burned in the last days of the war. Many crimes such as the deportation of Frankfurt’s remaining Jews from the “Judenhaus” cannot be reconstructed in detail. Albeit, it can partially be reconstructed through police correspondence with other authorities and through the testimonies of the surviving victims.

the Editors