Special Exhibition


Spanish forced labourers during the Second World War

4 June - 2 Januar 2022

Around 13 million prisoners of war, civilian forced labourers and concentration camp prisoners were deported to the German Reich during the Second World War to perform forced labour in the German war economy. However, forced labour was also used outside Germany. In countries occupied by Nazi Germany, the civilian population was recruited for forced labour and used locally.

A special case was the anti-fascist republicans from the Spanish Civil War. Defeated by the military under General Franco, some 450,000 men, women and children fled to France in 1939. There they were interned in camps.
Nazi propaganda referred to Franco's opponents as "Red Spaniards".

The trilingual temporary exhibition (German/Spanish/French) by the historians Dr Peter Gaida and Dr Antonio Munoz Sánchez deals with the use of the Spanish refugees in the French army and war economy. From 1940 onwards, they had to perform forced labour first for the Vichy regime, which collaborated with Germany, then for the German occupying power in France. The exhibition describes the deportation of thousands of "Red Spaniards" to concentration camps, especially to Mauthausen, and their use in the construction of the "Atlantic Wall" for the National Socialist "Organisation Todt". About 10,000 Franco opponents joined the French resistance. The fate of the Spanish republicans is little known in Germany and is presented to a broad public for the first time in this exhibition.

How to reach us

Dokumentationszentrum NS-Zwangsarbeit
Barrack 5

Britzer Straße 5
12439 Berlin

Tel. +49 (0)30 6390 288 0
Email: schoeneweide(at)topographie.de

Public Transportation

Opening Hours

Tue - Su 10 am - 6 pm

closing days
24 und 31  December

Admission is free

The exhibition is wheelchair accessible.

In cooperation with:

Flyer (German) for the exhibition "Red Spaniards" Spanish Forced Labourers in the Second World War



Exhibition catalogue

Accompanying volume to the touring exhibition.

Available on site or in bookshops
15,00 €, 147 pages, ISBN 978-1716658204