> Adler­wer­ke His­to­ri­cal Site (Foy­er)
> Geschichts­ort Adler­wer­ke (Foy­er)

> For­eign workers
> Aus­län­di­sche Arbeitskräfte

> The for­ced labour system
> Sys­tem Zwangsarbeit

> The con­cen­tra­ti­on camp in the factory
> Das Kon­zen­tra­ti­ons­la­ger in der Fabrik

> Clearan­ce and death march
> Räu­mung und Todesmarsch

> Legal proceedings
> Juris­ti­sche Aufarbeitung

> After 45
> Nach 45

> The­me boxes
> The­men­bo­xen

> Gal­lus – A chan­ging community
> Gal­lus – ein Stadt­teil im Wandel


 A chan­ging community 

A chan­ging community 

The name “Gal­lus” has its ori­gins in the gal­lows once set up out­side the city gates in the west of Frank­furt. The district evol­ved from 1884 onwards along the new­ly con­struc­ted rail­way line. Fac­to­ries were estab­lis­hed out­side the town limits and nee­ded man­power. The lat­ter came from the sur­roun­ding regi­ons. Housing, schools, church­es, shops, and inns sprou­t­ed up to ser­ve them. Sin­ce 1895, a tram line has con­nec­ted the Gal­lus district with the city cent­re. The City of Frank­furt had the Hel­l­er­hof housing esta­te built bet­ween 1901 and 1936. It pro­vi­ded afford­a­ble housing for low-inco­me persons.

Many of the Gal­lus district’s resi­den­ti­al buil­dings and indus­tri­al ope­ra­ti­ons were des­troy­ed during World War II. After that, fewer peop­le lived in the district than befo­re. The fac­to­ries gra­du­al­ly con­ver­ted their pro­duc­tion or shut down altog­e­ther. Ser­vice com­pa­nies, admi­nis­tra­ti­ve offices, and the media moved into the old buil­dings or con­struc­ted new ones. The resi­dents’ occup­a­tio­nal skills no lon­ger cor­re­spon­ded to the avail­ab­le jobs. Unem­ploy­ment and crime increased.

Around the year 2000, Gal­lus ran­ked as a depri­ved area. The city sub­si­di­zed the district bet­ween 2001 and 2016. Muni­ci­pal admi­nis­tra­ti­on offices moved the­re. The trans­for­ma­ti­on of the Gal­lus district con­ti­nued. A new quarter—the “Europaviertel”—was built on the grounds of the for­mer freight yard. It is an expen­si­ve resi­den­ti­al area. New resi­dents shape the com­mu­ni­ty, but they work in offices and not in indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion like the inha­bi­tants of Gal­lus a hund­red years ago.

The Gal­lus­war­te, 2022
Pho­to: Tho­mas Altmeyer


“Kame­run” (Ger­man for Camer­oon) – Isn’t that a coun­try in Afri­ca? But peop­le have been cal­ling the Gal­lus “Kame­run” for more than a hund­red years. The­re are two explana­ti­ons, both of which are indi­rect­ly racist in nature.

Explana­ti­on 1: After World War I, Fran­ce occu­p­ied wes­tern Ger­ma­ny. Black French sol­di­ers were sta­tio­ned near Frankfurt—an unusu­al expe­ri­ence for white Germans.

Explana­ti­on 2: Smo­ke from the fac­to­ry smo­kestacks and the rail­way colou­red people’s clot­hing black and the workers came home from the fac­to­ries with faces bla­cke­ned by oil and soot. It was a racist noti­on to equa­te them with peop­le from Africa.

What is more, the­se explana­ti­ons can­not pos­si­b­ly be cor­rect. The­re are spo­ken and writ­ten refe­ren­ces to the “Kame­run” district dating all the way back to 1902. At that time, the­re were no bleach greens whe­re smo­ke could have dir­tied the laund­ry. Nor was the­re any hea­vy indus­try in Gal­lus, but abo­ve all mecha­ni­cal and electri­cal engi­nee­ring com­pa­nies like the Adler­wer­ke. The workers was­hed in a washroom befo­re lea­ving the fac­to­ry after work. The­re were no Black sol­di­ers sta­tio­ned in the district. Ger­ma­ny had colo­nies in Afri­ca, but Gal­lus had no Blacks.

In the ear­ly twen­tieth cen­tu­ry, Gal­lus was plan­ned as a “sett­le­ment out­side the city to the sou­thwest”. New­ly emer­ging districts out­side the city cen­ters often refer­red to as “colo­nies”. In gene­ral, this was a term used for pla­ces out­side the fami­li­ar sphe­re. At the time, Ger­ma­ny ruled over and explo­i­ted Camer­oon as a colo­ny. The name is accord­in­gly remi­nis­cent of Ger­man colonialism.


The Gal­lus district evol­ved as a result of migra­ti­on. The first inha­bi­tants came from vil­la­ges in the regi­ons around Frank­furt. They were loo­king for work in the fac­to­ries and com­pa­nies that sprou­t­ed up in Gal­lus in the ear­ly nine­teenth century.

During World War II the Nazi government brought pri­so­ners of war and for­eign civi­li­an workers to Frank­furt. Several of the camps used to house them were in Gal­lus. And it was the­re that the Katz­bach con­cen­tra­ti­on camp was set up in the Adlerwerke.

Star­ting in the 1960s, “guest workers” came to the district from Sou­thern Euro­pe and Tur­key. They had been recrui­ted to ser­ve as man­power; the inten­ti­on was that they would soon return to their home coun­tries. Howe­ver, many of them beca­me Frank­fur­ters. They worked along­side Ger­mans in the fac­to­ries. It would be years befo­re they were able to bring their fami­lies to Frank­furt as well. The immi­grants foun­ded asso­cia­ti­ons and reli­gious communities.

After 1989, so-cal­led “late resett­lers” – eth­nic Ger­man repa­tria­tes – from Eas­tern Euro­pe fol­lo­wed. Peop­le from Afri­ca, Asia, and Latin Ame­ri­ca often came to the district as refu­gees. The popu­la­ti­on of Gal­lus now repres­ents appro­xi­mate­ly 140 dif­fe­rent nationalities.