Skip to main content
Michael Bradler
Zellengang im Neubau


Michael Bradler

Michael Bradler was born in East Berlin in 1961 and trained as a precision mechanic. After the early death of his mother in 1971, Bradler's grandparents took care of him. When they and his best friend moved to West Germany, he also wanted to leave the GDR.

In 1981, Bradler submitted a total of seven applications to leave the country, all of which were rejected. He was also demoted from working in the research department at his company to the boiler house. He also feared that he would be drafted into the army and thus lose any prospect of leaving the GDR.

In January 1982, he decided to provoke his arrest: He went directly to the Sonnenallee border crossing in East Berlin and demanded to leave the GDR. Bradler was then arrested by the State Security Service and taken to the Magdalenenstraße remand prison. The following day, he was sent to Hohenschönhausen. He was also imprisoned in Berlin-Rummelsburg, Cottbus and Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz).

In a closed two-day trial on 20 and 24 May 1982, M. Bradler was sentenced to one year and four months in prison for "treasonous agent activity". In October 1982, he was released into the Federal Republic of Germany and travelled to West Berlin, where he found work as a precision mechanic.

Since 1998, Michael Bradler has been guiding groups of visitors through the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial and the Berlin Stasi Museum (ASTAK). He has been working as a contemporary witness at schools and educational institutions for the Co-ordinating Office of Contemporary Witnesses since 2011. Since 2022, he also leads visitor groups through the former prison in Cottbus.

Further information

  • Michael Bradler/ Michael Rothe: Ich wollte doch nicht an der Mauer erschossen werden, Berlin 2011.

The publication is available at BuchHandlung89: BuchHandlung89

Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen (Hg.), Zeugen der Zeit. Porträts von Dirk Vogel, Berlin 2023.

Further information (German website)

Download publication (German laguage)