Tuesday, 3 April 1945

„Normality“ until the end?

In the winter and spring of 1945, too, numerous forcedlaborers were on the move throughout the entire Berlin city area, despite continuing air raids and the steadily approaching front. Various eyewitness reports and documents bear witness to this. For example, a pass for using the Berlin S-Bhn from January 1945 and a monthly pass for April 1945, issued at the Adlershof S-Bahn station. They belonged to the Italian forced laborer Ettore Gorla, who had to work for AEG and in road construction. Together with 400 other Italians, he was interned in the GBI camp 75/76 (now the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre). Gorla had marked the location of his camp in the city with a pencil on this map of the Berlin S-Bahn and U-Bahn network.

In March and April 1945, public transport was hardly reliable. Due to the numerous bomb hits, Berlin's infrastructure was so severely limited that many forced laborers had to walk miles to their workplaces.

They were almost defenceless against the air raids and detonations of the last months of the war. Public and company-owned air-raid shelters were reserved for the Berlin population or German employees. Most camps did not have their own air-raid shelters.
Although the destruction caused by Allied bombing raids severely affected the city, many forced laborers were forced to appear at their workplaces until the very end. Quite a few experienced the liberation at their place of work.