Hohenschonhausen Prison Memorial -The Dark Side of the GDR (6)

On this episode of the Radio GDR East Germany podcast Shane records his thoughts following a guided tour of the Hohenschonhausen Stasi Prison in East Berlin and questions whether he wants to continue with the podcast based on what he has seen and heard.

Shane's report from the gates of Hohenschonhausen Stasi Prison in East Berlin

Shane’s report from the gates of Hohenschonhausen Stasi Prison in East Berlin

What is Hohenschönhausen Prison Memorial exactly?

44 years of political persecution: You can follow the darker side of Berlin’s GDR history in the Hohenschonhausen Memorial.

GDR opponents, people who helped others to flee and political prisoners are all familiar with the former Stasi prison. Today the Berlin Hohenschonhausen Memorial remembers their story. Contemporary witnesses guide you over the site that houses 44 years of political persecution. Large parts of the building have been preserved and give you an authentic impression of the prison conditions between 1946 and 1990. It is therefore no wonder that the memorial attracts more than 400,000 visitors every year.

The permanent exhibition Inhaftiert in Hohenschönhausen – Zeugnisse politischer Verfolgung[Incarcerated in Hohenschönhausen – Witnesses of Political Persecution] shows 300 photos and nearly 500 artefacts including prison clothes and letters from inmates. It depicts the everyday lives of the inmates as well as the story of the former Stasi prison. Now for the first time, separate part of the exhibition looks at the world of the culprits.

Six weeks after the visit

I still feel very moved by what I experienced at the Stasi prison. I urge all of you who are interested in the GDR to visit Hohenschönhausen for yourselves. As I explain on the podcast it is an eerie and sobering tour but one that is essential in order to understand the totalitarian nature of the East German SED regime and to understand its paranoia.  The experience is very different from the DDR Museum and even the Stasi Museum in Normannenstrasse. My heart goes out to those who suffered under the SED regime.

Let us know what you think of this episode on the Radio GDR Listeners Facebook Group.

Join our East Germany Facebook group to talk more about the GDR!

Join our East Germany Facebook group to talk more about the GDR!

Links and Resources Mentioned on this Episode of Radio GDR concerning Hohenschönhausen Prison Memorial.

Official Site in English

Hohenschönhausen Memorial Wikipedia Page

House of Horror: Inside the Infamous Stasi Prison (Wired.com) 

The power of remembrance: The Stasi Prison in Berlin, Hohenschönhausen

Tripadvisor information and reviews from other visitors.

East Germany’s inescapable Hohenschönhausen prison (DW)

Our interview with the Director of the DDR Museum Gordon von Godin.

Our interview with the Director of the DDR Museum Gordon von Godin.

 

 

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