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Sparkasse Berlin
IBAN DE95 1005 0000 0190 2057 41

Ihre Spende fließt an den Förderverein Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, der damit unsere Arbeit unterstützt. Vielen Dank!

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Historical Location
Map of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Restricted Area with the former remand prison outlined in black.

It would be hard to find another site in Germany so intricately linked with the 44-year history of political persecution in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) as the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. In June 1945, the Soviet Secret Police took over a former canteen block and food store in the north-east of Berlin and turned it into a detainment and transit camp called 'Special Camp No. 3'. After the camp was closed in October 1946, the cellar was converted into an underground cell section that served as the main Soviet Secret Police prison in Germany and was used for detention and interrogation. In 1951 the East German Ministry of State Security (MfS) took over the prison, added a new prison building and, until 1989, used the site as its main remand centre. Thousands of political prisoners passed through this jail, including nearly all the prominent figures opposing the GDR regime.

The main MfS service units responsible for prisons and criminal prosecutions were conveniently located in nearby Genslerstrasse, close to the prison: the Main Investigation Department (HA IX) and the Central Prison Department Headquarters (Dept. XIV), which reported directly to Erich Mielke, Minister of State Security. These two departments monitored and directed the work of all investigation departments and remand prisons in the 15 local authority areas comprising the GDR. The remand prison and restricted area formed a kind of headquarters of communist repression in East Germany.

The remand prison was located within a restricted military area hermetically sealed off from the outside world. This area, which never appeared on any maps of East Berlin, was home to a number of other MfS service units: the Operative Technical Sector (OTS), whose tasks included, for example, building bugging systems; Sector HA IX/11, responsible for a secret Nazi archive; and a part of the Espionage Data Processing Centre (HVA). Until 1974, labour camp "X" was located directly next to the prison. The labour camp used sentenced prisoners as forced labour for the Ministry of State Security.

Political prisoners today

Political prisoners today

In cooperation with
amnesty international

The Prohibited District
The Stasi Restricted Area Berlin-Hohenschönhausen

Please note that, as yet, it is only possible to tour the Memorial in a group - click here for details