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Contemporary witness archive
Ordner im Zeitzeugenarchiv

Contemporary witness archive

Interviews and documents

The memories of former inmates are a valuable and unique source for the history of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen detention centre. In order to preserve these personal testimonies, the contemporary witness archive maintains contact with former political prisoners and documents their imprisonment history.

We conduct interviews with contemporary witnesses and collect publications by and about those affected, in particular personal documents, such as letters, photos or personal notes. The collection comprises around 130 shelf metres of archive material, containing information on around 4,500 people and over 900 audio and video interviews with contemporary witnesses.

The contemporary witness archive makes these unique documents available for historical research in consultation with the people concerned.

Reporting on the experience of imprisonment

We encourage contemporary witnesses to talk to us about their own experiences of imprisonment at Hohenschönhausen. After making contact with the contemporary witness archive and a confidential introductory meeting, our staff conduct an open biographical interview. The interview is written down and archived at the Memorial together with other documents relating to the prisoner's history. 

Making contact

Would you like to tell us your story or research biographies of former political prisoners in the contemporary witness archive? Get in touch with us:


Dr. Stefan Donth

Julia Baumann

Scientific Volunteer

Phone +49 30 98 60 82 33