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.
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.
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Links and Resources Mentioned on this Episode of Radio GDR concerning Hohenschönhausen Prison Memorial.
Hohenschönhausen Memorial Wikipedia Page
The power of remembrance: The Stasi Prison in Berlin, Hohenschönhausen