As early as March 1933, the National Socialists set up Special Courts for political offenses. Germans and many foreign forced laborers feil victim to the Special Courts, especially during the war. More than a thousand death sentences passed by Special Courts in Berlin and other parts of Prussia were inforced in Plötzensee.
Between1934 and 1945, the "People's Court" sentenced more than 5,600 people to death for political offenses, most of them from Germany, Austria, and the occupied Czech territories. More than 1,400 of these prisoners were murdered in Plötzensee prison.
When the war began in 1939, the number of death sentences passed by the military justice system increased sharply on account of desertion, conscientious objection, and "subversion of the war effort."
By the end of the war, more than thirty thousand of these sentences had been passed. Over two hundred sentences issued by the highest military court, the Reich Court Martial, were enforced in Plötzensee prison.
From 1943, the "People's Court" passed on increasing numbers of political cases to the higher regional courts because it was unable to carry them all out as their numbers continued to increase.
The Supreme Court responsible for Berlin passed at least 69 death sentences, many of which were enforced in Plötzensee prison.