While in Berlin I took a ride on the tram to the Hohenschönhausen memorial, the former prison complex of the former East German Communist Ministry of State Security, the Stasi.
After World War II the Soviet Secret Police took over the Hohenschönhausen area of Lichtenberg and transformed it into a detainment and transit camp, over 20.000 people passed though on their way to other Soviet camps until it was closed in 1946. In 1951 the Stasi reopened the prison and erected new buildings using the work force of the imprisoned. After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the prison was used to house those who wished or attempted to leave the GDR and for political prisoners. It was used until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and officially closed on October 3, 1990.
In the early 1990s former prisoners founded the memorial and they still offer guided tours by former inmates.
Since the vast majority of the buildings, equipment and furniture and fittings have survived intact, the Memorial provides a very authentic picture of prison conditions in the GDR. The Memorial’s location in Germany’s capital city makes it the key site in Germany for victims of communist tyranny. (quote)
Read more about the history of Hohenschönhausen on the memorial website!