Involuntary Community

The Labor Commandos of Prisoners in Hohenschönhausen

Permanent Exhibition
Open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free entrance

The remand prison of the Ministry for State Security (Stasi) in Hohenschönhausen needed manpower to keep the prison running and to feed the political prisoners. For this purpose, the State Security resorted to prisoners and formed labour units of women and men.

The permanent exhibition takes a look at the living and working conditions of the women who were forced to work in the commandos. They were used in the kitchen, as cleaners and for sewing, washing and ironing. Under the control of the MfS, life together in the commandos was characterised by hard work and mutual spying - but also by solidarity and friendship.

The exhibition is located in a preserved, approximately 500 square metre kitchen and living area of the prison. Prisoners of the women's commando "New Kitchen" worked here until 1989. The workrooms and accommodation can be explored with the help of tablets. An augmented reality app makes reports by contemporary witnesses, MfS documents and excerpts from informers' reports to the Stasi virtually accessible.

The original furnishings as well as numerous tools and kitchen utensils, together with the digital exhibition content, provide insights into the everyday life of the prison command. Volumetric recordings of contemporary witnesses in 3D also enable virtual encounters with former prisoners.

Tablets in German and English can be borrowed free of charge from the visitor centre upon presentation of an ID card.

With the support of: Lotto Foundation, Senat für Kultur und Europa Berlin, Bundesbeauftragte für Kultur und Meiden, Neustart Kultur, Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur

KuecheK13 1 kl 2

The kitchen in the cellar of the remand prison.

Besucher mit Tablet 2

The visitors can explore the exhibition via an augmented reality app.

Schlafraeume Copyright Luise Wagener2

Up to six women were accomodated in the sleeping rooms.

Gittertuer vor Kochhalle Copyright Luise Wagener2

Barred door in front of the kitchen.

Photos: Luise Wagener; Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen