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Stasi Prison - Disintegration of the Soul

Listed under Museums in Berlin, Germany.

  • Photo of Stasi Prison - Disintegration of the Soul
  • Photo of Stasi Prison - Disintegration of the Soul
  • Photo of Stasi Prison - Disintegration of the Soul
  • Photo of Stasi Prison - Disintegration of the Soul
Photo of Stasi Prison - Disintegration of the Soul
Photo by Sherry Ott
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Imagine if you lived in a country where you couldn’t choose, you couldn’t express discontent with your government, or even be associated with anyone who expressed discontent. This was East Germany and the GDR after World War II. It was a pawn in the cold war between Russia and America, and the people of East Germany were the losers. They lived in a world where they couldn’t speak up, were asked to share secrets or forced to make up lies about their neighbors and relatives, where they could trust no one – and the outcome of this society was the Stasi Prison.

The prison was opened by the East German Ministry of State Security, also known as the Stasi, in 1951 and was used until 1989 when East Germany was dissolved. In that time it detained more than 16,000 prisoners who were considered actual and factual enemies of the government. This was not an actual prison – but more of a holding prison to get people to confess to ‘crimes’ and then they were charged officially and sent to a ‘real’ prison. However this holding and interrogation prison time could last from 2 days to 2 years – blurring the definition of prison and interrogation as well as the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

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 about €3 / €1.50 (concessions), and free on Mondays.
Hohenschönhausen Memorial Center (Stasi prison museum)
Genslerstraße 66
13055 Berlin
Tel.: (030) 986 082-30
Fax: (039) 986 082-34

Read more on Sherry's blog.

Written by  Sherry Ott.

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