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Restricted area
Über den Dächern der Gedenkstätte

The secret Stasi restricted area

The Ministry of State Security (MfS) remand centre at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen was located in a large Stasi military restricted area. All that could be seen from the outside were closed metal gates, watchtowers, surveillance cameras and armed security guards. On the city maps of East Berlin, the site was marked as an empty space from the early 1970s onwards.

The restricted area was set up by the Soviet secret service as early as 1945 and was the second largest of its kind in East Berlin after the "military town" in Berlin-Karlshorst. The area within the cordons housed Special Camp No. 3 until 1946 and a detention and forced labour camp as well as the Special Camp Department of the Soviet Ministry of the Interior until 1948/49. From 1947 to 1951, the Soviet secret service (MGB) for the city of Berlin and the central investigation department of the Soviet state security service were also based here.

In 1951, the GDR State Security Service took over the restricted area. In addition to the central remand prison, the "X" labour camp and the two departments responsible for carrying out pre-trial detention and interrogations, other MfS facilities were also located here: the Operative Technical Sector (OTS) developed wiretapping equipment, hidden cameras and forged passports. The Armaments / Chemical Services Department (BCD) maintained the weapons of MfS employees and made preparations in case war broke out. Parts of the Behind the Lines Services Administration (VRD) supervised construction projects, motor vehicles and MfS guest houses from the restricted area. Electronic espionage was carried out in the West from a property held by the Main Administration A (HV A). Department XII, which was also located within the restricted area until 1984, housed the MfS archives and information files.

After the complex at Normannenstraße, the headquarters of the Minister for State Security, Erich Mielke, the restricted area in Hohenschönhausen was the largest MfS site in East Berlin.


Peter Erler/Hubertus Knabe, The Prohibited District. The Stasi Restricted Area Berlin-Hohenschönhausen

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