Over the twelve years of the National Socialist dictatorship, more than 2,800 people were murdered by guillotine or hanging in Plötzensee prison.
About half of these prisoners were Germans, most of them sentenced to death for acts of resistance against the National Socialist dictatorship. Also among the victims of the National Socialist justice system in Plötzensee were many people—particularly after 1939—punished with excessive severity with the death sentence for minor offenses. None of their trials conformed to constitutional requirements. The condemned prisoners fell victim to judicial killings. The same applies to the death sentences for unpolitical offenses.
The administration of justice against foreign defendants was even more severe. More than 650 executed prisoners came from the parts of Czechoslovakia occupied by the Germans in 1938/39, and more than 240 came from Poland. These numbers include both members of resistance organizations and people brought to Germany against their will as forced laborers.
After 1939, Plötzensee became a locus of death for people from all parts of German-occupied Europe.