"The labour camp at Drachensee was a huge, ugly, chaotic and cruel place."

Arbeitserziehungslager, or AEL's, which translates to Workers Educational Camps, were set up during WWII by the Nazi regime. There were over 100 of these camps, including Drachensee, which was located near Kiel, Germany. 

AEL differed from concentration camps in that they were not being fed by police, such as the Gestapo but rather by industry, despite the fact that for the duration of the war they remained under supervision and control of the Gestapo. Interrogation and questioning leading up to incarceration, were conducted by the Gestapo as well. The purpose of these camps was to control and "educate" problematic workers, mainly foreign forced laborers but also Germans.

Interns were basically starved, and medical care was non-existent. Severe beatings, hangings and shootings took place. In most camps 10-25% of the people perished. 

Work was enforced 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. The nature of the work varied from camp to camp, and particularly at Drachensee, work included sorting and clearing of rubble after bombings, done by hand. 

Former interns described "dunklezellen" or cells used to lock up prisoners who deserved special punishment. Each cell contained a board, that was lowered so that the detainee could not walk around the cell. Along with that, there was no natural light.