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Stasi Prison

A former East German prison, which cruelly remanded political prisoners secretly for decades

TravelCurious Tip

If you want to know more about life under the Stasi, watch the brilliant Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), an Oscar-winning German film partly set in the prison.

When the East German secret police, the Stasi, was formed in 1950, they soon realised that they were going to need somewhere to detain the hundreds of dissidents, deserters and undesirables being dredged up by their extensive civilian spying campaign. This site in Hohenschönhausen was the obvious choice. The chillingly-named “Special Camp No. 3” had been created by the Soviet Army in the aftermath of WW2, and German prisoners had been housed there in deplorable conditions. With the facility now vacant, the Stasi moved in.


Destroying the Evidence

It’s hard to know for sure how many prisoners passed through these walls. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Stasi prison was one of the few government locations which was not immediately stormed by demonstrators, giving the authorities enough time to destroy most of the evidence of the prison’s history and function. Much of what we do know comes from the eyewitness testimony of former prisoners.


House of Horrors

Some of these former inmates have bravely overcome their demons, and they now comprise the majority of the tour guide staff at the prison. They will guide you past the looming guard towers and coils of barbed wire to the interrogation rooms, 120 of them, where suspected dissidents were often tortured by three staff at a time. You’ll also see the infamous “U-Boat”, the windowless cell where unyielding prisoners were kept with the light permanently on, in an attempt to break their resolve. Cheery and fun it may not be, but the Stasi prison is a shocking insight into events that occurred less than 30 years ago.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
Schloss Cecilienhof Palace
The location of the Potsdam conference. Where Churchill, Truman and Stalin partitioned post-war Europe in 1945
Alexandrowka
An old Russian colony, created in 1826-27 upon the request of Frederick Wilhelm III
Dutch Quarter
A neighbourhood of 169 beautifully preserved red Dutch brick houses, built from 1733 to 1740
Sanssouci Palace
Often described as the Versailles of Germany. It is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia
Sanssouci Palace Gardens
Walk by the terraced gardens and see the magnificence of the park surrounding the Palace.
Potsdam
It is now one of the most-visited cities in Germany, home to magnificent palaces and elegant gardens.

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