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Arno Drefke
Zellengang im Neubau


Arno Drefke

Arno Drefke was born in Wittstock (Brandenburg) in 1934. From 1948 to 1951, he trained as a chemist in Berlin-Weißensee. 

In 1953, he became a courier driver for the West German anti-communist organisation Bund Deutscher Jugend (BDJ) and was arrested on 19 April 1953 while making contact for the BDJ in Bad Langensalza. On 1st September 1953, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and stripped of his civil rights for "espionage and establishing contacts with West Berlin offices". His sentence was later reduced to twelve years. Between 1953 and 1962, Arno Drefke was imprisoned at the Berlin prisons Hohenschönhausen and Rummelsburg, in Cottbus and in Brandenburg-Görden, as well as in the Stasi labour camp X. 

His chemist's shop, which he ran until 2009, was returned to him in July 1990. From 2006 to 2016, he worked as a tour guide at the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. Arno Drefke has been working as a contemporary witness at schools and educational institutions for the Coordinating Office of Contemporary Witnesses since 2011.

Further information

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

Further information (German website)

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