Lager Reichsarbeitsdienst Fällen Blutbuche (LFS00248 1)



Construction of a camp for the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) and felling of a blood beech tree at the town hall in Lahr


ZT = Written Table ZT: R.A.D. Construction of the new camp / Pennant flags of the Reich Labor Service fluttering in the wind. / View of building site, two men seven sand. Foundation / beam construction of the outer and intermediate walls / Young men nailing down the planks. ZT: Cases of the blood beech tree at the town hall / Man with ax in the branches. Falling branch. Side view of the town hall with memorial stone, surroundings. Felled tree.


Reference / film number :  LFS00248 1
Date :  1936
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:03:12
Reel format :  16 mm
Thematics :  Second World War : prewar
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

The three-minute fragment from the film “Zeitspiegel Lahr 1936” shows two subjects that are not directly related. On the one hand, the construction of a warehouse for the Reich Labor Service (RAD) and, on the other hand, the cutting down of a large tree at the town hall in Lahr. It is part of the chronicle, which was filmed on behalf of the city by photographers from Lahr and Offenburg and documented important events.

In the National Socialist system, the Reich Labor Service was an organization in which young men - women were only activated only at the beginning of the Second World War - between the ages of 18 and 25 had to do a six-month from 1935 on. The pennant with the number 272 refers to the RAD department "Winter-Steinen", which was named the Mayor of Lahr Dr. Karl Winter. On the meadow, clothing is piled up in piles in good order. Then two young men with their bare torsos come into the picture, who seven sand. The next setting shows the foundation of a new building. In the other building, the concrete slabs have already been laid. In the background, two men are bending over a blueprint. A man mixes cement with sand. The wooden frame of the building has been erected. Two young men climb up and get a bar. Others lay slabs on the foundation. The camera pans uneasily and tries to capture the overall situation. In the foreground, a young man screws the floor slabs in place, in the background the slabs are fixed to the wooden frame. The RAD served the discipline through paramilitary structure and physical exercise, as the muscular torso of the men also show. A man in a complete RAD uniform with a swastika armband on his left upper arm, a dagger and a peaked cap runs towards the camera.

The second subject shows the felling of an old blood beech tree at Lahr town hall. The first shot is underexposed and too dark. The camera pans upwards, where a young man is working on a thick branch with an ax. The camera pans back down, but the picture is too dark again. Then a hand saw is used. The branch falls. View of the town hall with a memorial stone. In a very long position without a cut, the camera pans from the town hall over the park to the mighty, felled tree. The root is dug up. A civilian man with a hat gives instructions. Details of the felled tree. One man swings the ax, another the pimple. The böood beech is a mutation of the beech and a popular park tree. The systematic breeding and expansion took place in the 19th century. Forerunners of the labor service as a voluntary service already existed in the Weimar Republic, but it was expanded more during National Socialism. The historian Wolfgang Benz very well analyzes the difficult process of introducing the RAD and the power games of various interest groups in an early article (Benz 1968). The young men received a standard wage of 21 Reichsmarks per week throughout the Reich; however, only 50 pfennigs were paid out per day. The rest of the money was kept for accommodation, food, clothing and insurance. They were used for physically difficult work such as road and settlement construction, in quarries, agriculture and also for the construction of the 'Siegfried Line'. The shouldered spade with which they marched at the regime's public events became a symbol. The 'Reich Commissioner for Labor Service' Konstantin Hierl coined the term 'soldier of work' in 1934, which refers to the close relationship between the labor market and armament. In the same year, the organization was placed under the Ministry of the Interior. From 1938, the RAD increasingly took over auxiliary services for the Wehrmacht and was used in the war to clean up and rebuild destroyed bridges and roads. In addition, the RAD should put the Nazi ideology of a 'national community' into practice, as Hierl emphasized in his speeches: "There is no better means of overcoming social gulf, class hatred and class arrogance than if the son of the factory director and the young factory worker, the young academic and the farmhand in the same coat, doing the same service for the same food, do the same service as honorary service for the people and fatherland that they all share "(Grüttner 1995, p. 227). On the other hand, the economic importance of the RAD was low due to its lack of productivity, but it had the advantage that the men no longer appeared in the unemployment statistics. The RAD meant barracking in a camp, as reported in the film fragment in Lahr. Exit in the off-duty period was only possible with a special permit. In the opinion of Adolf Hitler, the RAD was primarily there to "educate its relatives on the National Socialist worldview" (Benz 1968, p. 344). The economic importance was of secondary importance for the Nazi regime.

Kay Hoffmann

Places and monuments



BENZ, WOLFGANG, Vom Freiwilligen Arbeitsdienst zur Arbeitsdienstpflicht, in: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 4/1968, S. 317–346 (; Abruf 12.5.2020);GRÜTTNER, MICHAEL, Studenten im Dritten Reich, Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn, 1995; N.N., Reicharbeitsdienst, Stadtwiki Karlsruhe (; Abruf 12.5.2020); N.N., Reichsarbeitsdienst,; Abruf 5.5.2020)

  1. This film analysis is still in progress. It may therefore be incomplete and contain errors.