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Thomas Raufeisen
Zellengang im Neubau


Thomas Raufeisen

Thomas Raufeisen was born in Hanover in 1962 and lived there until he was 17. His father – Armin Raufeisen – was an employee of the industrial company Preussag and spied for the Ministry for State Security as an unofficial employee. When Werner Stiller, a lieutenant in the Ministry for State Security, defected to West Germany in January 1979 and exposed parts of the GDR's spy network, Armin Raufeisen was also threatened with arrest. The Ministry for State Security forced their agent and his family to be transferred to the GDR.

While his brother refused to apply for GDR citizenship and was allowed to leave for the West, the underage Thomas Raufeisen had to stay with his parents in the GDR. In 1979, he dropped out of secondary school and began his apprenticeship as a car mechanic. During this time, his family submitted several applications to leave the country and attempted to flee. In September 1981, Raufeisen and his parents were arrested during another attempt to leave the country. Thomas Raufeisen was remanded in custody at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen from September 1981 to November 1982 until he was sentenced to three years in prison for "unlawful border crossing" and "treasonous agent activity". From November 1982 to September 1984, he was imprisoned at Bautzen II. After his release in September 1984, he was authorised to leave for West Germany so that he could return to his home town of Hanover.

Thomas Raufeisen was awarded his high school leaving certificate in 1988 and went on to study surveying. He moved to Berlin in 1998.

He has been a freelance tour guide at the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial since 2003 and a contemporary witness at schools and educational institutions for the Co-ordinating Office of Contemporary Witnesses since 2011. 

Further information

  • Thomas Raufeisen, Ich wurde in die DDR entführt. Von meinem Vater. Er war Spion, Freiburg im Breisgau 2017.

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)