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Friedemann Körner
Zellengang im Neubau


Friedemann Körner

Friedemann Körner was born in Dresden in 1945. He studied at the Dresden Academy of Music and worked as a tenor at the GDR Radio Soloists' Association.

When a friend's escape failed in January 1974, the State Security Service accused him of complicity. On 30 October 1974, Friedemann Körner was arrested together with his wife and imprisoned at Hohenschönhausen. Their sons (1.5 and 2.5 years old) were sent to the Makarenko children's home at Berlin Treptow-Köpenick. After six weeks, on the insistence of Friedemann Körner's father, the children were allowed to go and live with his sister, who worked as a nursery school teacher. 

The couple were accused of "preparing to flee the Republic", "anti-state connections" and "anti-state human trafficking". In June 1975, Friedemann Körner was sentenced to five years and six months in prison, which he served at the Brandenburg-Görden prison. His wife received a four-year prison sentence and was sent to the Hoheneck women's prison.

As part of a prisoner release programme, they both arrived in West Germany; Friedemann Körner's wife in August and he in December 1977. The children, however, were not allowed to move until January 1978. From June 1979 until his retirement in June 2010, Friedemann Körner sang in the RIAS Chamber Choir.

Friedemann Körner has been guiding groups of visitors through the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial site since 2015 and works for the Coordinating Office of Contemporary Witnesses at schools and educational institutions.