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History of the former police ­prison and its use during National ­Socialism – 1886–1945

Even before the initiative »Faites votre jeu!« moved into the former police prison Klapperfeld, it was clear to the initiative that the over 100-year history of repression of the building had to be critically discussed in connection with social reality and capitalist development.

Thus, the initiative »Faites votre jeu!« opened the first part of its permanent exhibition on the history of the former Klapperfeld police prison already in August 2009. This first part of the exhibition focused on the prison’s National Socialist past and its use by the Frankfurt police and Gestapo between 1933 and 1945.

As a result of a first successful year in the Klapperfeld, the newly elaborated extended permanent exhibition on the prison’s history then also opened in September 2010. The presentation of the historical context of the construction of the former police prison at the end of the 19th century and the changes in the way society dealt with the principle of imprisonment during this period were added to the exhibition. Another additional part of the exhibition deals with the history of the Klapperfeld during the Weimar Republic. The core of the exhibition continues to be the role of the police prison during National Socialism. In the Klapperfeld, numerous persecutees of the National Socialist regime were imprisoned, tortured and some even murdered during this period. Many prisoners were deported from there to various concentration camps or other prisons. In the course of presenting this probably cruellest part of the Klapperfeld’s past, individual biographies of prisoners as well as their »everyday prison life« are discussed. Another added aspect of the permanent exhibition is the use of the Klapperfeld by the US Army during denazification in Frankfurt. Under the title »Stories which can and cannot be told«, we also address the special perspective of the »Faites votre jeu!« initiative on the past of the Klapperfeld against the background of our current use of the building.

The extended permanent exhibition consists of 37 panels, 38 contemporary documents and photos and two videographic interviews with contemporary witnesses Ria and Wolfgang Breckheimer and Hans Schwert. The texts of all panels, the interviews and a large part of the contemporary documents can be accessed on this website.

In addition, 76 short biographies in the exhibition provide information about the lives of individual prisoners and their persecution under National Socialism. A list of names also includes 482 other prisoners who were imprisoned in the Klapperfeld between 1933 and 1945 and about whom no further information is available. The biographies and the list of names can be viewed in folders in the exhibition in the Klapperfeld (in German language). This data is not available online.

The permanent exhibition is located in the basement of the former prison and can be visited during all public events in the former police prison. It is also open every Saturday from 3 to 6 pm. Please note that the exhibition is so far only available in German on site. We are happy to receive requests for a visit beyond the opening hours – especially with groups or school classes (also possible in English).