The Rachel and Leah Center, unofficially known as The Red Center, is a center established to house and train Handmaids. It is named after the Biblical Rachel and Leah, whose story provided inspiration for the role of Handmaids as breeders in the Republic of Gilead. The Red Center is so nicknamed both due to the fact its primary inhabitants are Handmaids, who are required to wear red, and as a portmanteau of re-education. The Center is run by the Aunts.
Scene from "June" in the court of the
The Red Center is located in what was once a secondary school. It has new fencing with barbed wire, and in the novel, guarded by the Angels. The Handmaids are under strict surveillance at all times - even being accompanied by an Aunt when they use the toilets - and are not permitted to leave unless they are to be assigned to a Commander. The Handmaids live at the Red Center when they have not been assigned to a Commander. In addition to housing the Handmaids, the Center is also where Handmaids are trained and indoctrinated in Gilead's belief system. All fertile women, particularly those considered 'subversive', were rounded up and sent to the Red Center when Gilead was first founded.
New Rachel and Leah Center Edit
In the TV episode "First Blood", a second Rachel and Leah Center was built a year after Offred went to live with the Waterfords. This center was larger than the previous one, and resembled an office building. The interiors had wide hallways with tall ceilings, with very modern designs. Commander Fred oversaw the construction of this new complex.
During the christening ceremony, where multiple Commanders and Handmaids attended, Ofglen #2 walked into the building, and revealed to the other Handmaids that she had a suicide bomb. As the Handmaids ran away from the building, she ran down the auditorium aisle toward the stage where Waterford was giving a speech. Before Ofglen could be stopped she detonated the bomb, killing 26 Commanders, 31 Handmaids, and severely injuring several others. The new Rachel and Leah Center took severe damage from the bombing and it is unknown if it will ever be activated again.