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Horst Jänichen
Zellengang im Neubau


Horst Jänichen

Horst Jänichen was born in Berlin in 1931. He was arrested by the Soviet secret service (MGB) in April 1946. The 15-year-old was accused of belonging to a Nazi Werewolf organisation. After several weeks in a Soviet cellar prison at Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, he was sent to Special Camp No. 3 at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen in May 1946 and was transferred from there to Special Camp No. 7 in Sachsenhausen.

After his release in July 1948, Horst Jänichen returned to East Berlin and became involved in the West Berlin organisation Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit (KgU) (Combat Group against Inhumanity). In December 1950, the GDR Ministry of State Security arrested him and accused him of firing three rockets with leaflets into East Berlin. The Stasi took him to the remand prison on Prenzlauer Allee. In December 1951, a GDR court sentenced him to eight years in prison for "spreading biased rumours". After a failed escape attempt in October 1952, the sentence was increased by two and a half years on probation. Horst Jänichen was not released until January 1959.

After his release, he fled to West Berlin, where he became involved in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). He represented the SPD in the Berlin House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971 and was a member of the Tiergarten district council from 1989 to 1999. From 1973, Horst Jänichen worked in the press office of the Ministry for Inner-German Relations, and he became Head of Division in the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 1989. From 1999, he guided groups of visitors through the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. From 2011, he worked as a contemporary witness at schools and educational institutions for the Coordinating Office of Contemporary Witnesses. Horst Jänichen died in Berlin in December 2020.

Further information

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

Further information (German website)

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