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Start > Sights > East Berlin > Hohenschönhausen Memorial Center

Hohenschönhausen Memorial Center (Stasi prison museum)

Between 1951 and 1989 East Germany's Stasi secret police used this site in Hohenschönhausen as a detention centre / prison for unsentenced suspects. Holding mainly political prisoners, it was infamous for its regime of physical and psychological torture meted out to inmates. Following the fall of the Communist regime and the disbanding of the Stasi the prison was converted into a memorial museum, the Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, on the initiative of former prisoners.

The prison was originally established in 1945 by the Soviet NKVD, the forerunner to the KGB as an internment camp ('Special Camp Nr. 3' ). This camp was closed in October 1946 but the cellar was converted into cells and served as the main detention and interrogation centre for dissidents and other undesirables. It was taken over by the East German Stasi in 1951. By 1960 / 61 a new prison building had been constructed using prisoner labour; following the construction of the Berlin Wall many attempted escapees were held here. As well as the prison facilities the Stasi also ran other operations on the site, such as a workshop for forgeries. Much of the area around the prison was a forbidden zone

Recently the memorial center was at the center of controversy when, during consultation on plans to erect memorial signs outside of the prison complex, former Stasi employees of the prison used a public meeting to cast doubt on the testimonies of former prisoners and denigrated the Memorial itself as a "Chamber of Horrors".

The memorial center also house the "Grotewohl Express" (so named after the first GDR Minister President Otto Grotewohl) - an example of the railway carriages used to transport prisoners between different prison locations in the GDR.

Access

Currently it is only possible to view the Memorial Center as a guided tour (guides are volunteer former prisoners). There are public tours which do not require registration on weekdays at 11am, 1pm and 3pm; and at weekends hourly between 10am and 4pm . Admission is €3 / €1.50 (concessions), and free on Mondays.

Tours for pre-registered groups can be arranged on any day between 9am and 4pm - contact the center for details.

Hohenschönhausen Memorial Center (Stasi prison museum)

Genslerstraße 66
13055 Berlin
Germany
Tel.: (030) 986 082-30
Fax: (039) 986 082-34

The center has detailed information on how to get there.

Oranke am See (1.4 km), Linden-Center (2.4 km), Generator Hostel Berlin (3.3 km), Magdalenenstraße (Station) (3.4 km), Frankfurter Allee (Station) (3.5 km), Ring-Center (3.6 km), Berlin-Lichtenberg (Station) (3.6 km), East of Eden (Bookshop) (3.6 km), Berlinomat (3.6 km)