The first comprehensive aim of the Nazis was to crush the political opposition. For this reason members of the organised labour movement made up the largest group of prisoners. These included communists like the Reichstag deputy Max Herm or the incandescent lamp worker Martha Plenzdorf. Other prisoners included the social-democratic trade union chairman Martin Plettl and the chairman of the German Freethinkers League, Max Sievers.

Anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews were a central component of Nazi politics from the very beginning. Among the Jews who were arrested were the physician Max Leffkowitz, the lawyers Fritz and Kurt Ball and the department store proprietor Wilfrid Israel. Witnesses confirm that Jews in particular were harassed and treated with extreme brutality.

Other prisoners who incurred the enmity of the Nazi Party include the „clairvoyant” Erik Jan Hanussen and the founder of the Young German Order, Artur Mahraun.

The names of almost 500 persons who were imprisoned in Papestrasse are presently known. It is likely that the total number of prisoners is considerably higher, since it is meanwhile no longer possible to establish a complete list of detainees. Approximately 30 persons died either during the imprisonment or as a result of it.