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The encounters
Fotohalle in der Ausstellung "Inhaftiert in Hohenschönhausen"

Political prisoners, comtemporary witnesses, people today

In den ersten Jahren waren die fensterlosen Zellen im U-Boot nur über Luftlöcher im unteren Bereich der Zellentüren belüftet.

Fates of imprisonment

Thousands of people passed through the Hohenschönhausen detention centre between 1945 and 1989: Nazi suspects, alleged spies, opposition activists, people who wanted to leave the GDR - the reasons for their imprisonment were many and varied.

The fates and stories of the people who were imprisoned here are just as varied.

From 1945 to 1989, over 20,000 people were imprisoned in Hohenschönhausen. You can read about the fates of some of the prisoners in our biographies.

Zeitzeuge Hans-Jochen Scheidler bei einer Führung

Contemporary witnesses

Contemporary witnesses play an important role in Hohenschönhausen. Thanks to their commitment at the beginning of the 1990s, a memorial site was established in the former Stasi prison.
Many of them are still active today and tell visitors about their experiences in prison.

Contemporary witnesses

The memorial's archive of contemporary witnesses collects and preserves the memories of former political prisoners.

Media library

What did it mean to be imprisoned by the Stasi? What was everyday life in the cell like? How were the interrogations organised? What fears, worries, thoughts and feelings did prisoners have in Hohenschönhausen?  In our short videos, contemporary witnesses talk about their experiences. 

Media library

Coordinating Office of Contemporary Witnesses

Reports from contemporary witnesses offer a special approach to history. The coordinating office of contemporary witnesses provides schools throughout Germany with people who can talk in class about their personal experiences of political imprisonment and persecution in the GDR.

Further information


Besucherreferentin bei einer Führung

Our guides

The work of our freelance guides is an important pillar of the memorial. With great motivation and commitment, they guide visitors through the former Stasi prison and convey the history of imprisonment and repression in the GDR.

Our guides introduce themselves!