The Memorial does not have any original records from the early years of imprisonment at the Hohenschönhausen site. The official records from the early phase of the prison are mainly stored in Moscow, while the Ministry of State Security (MfS) files are with the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the Former GDR National Security Service. However, the Memorial does collect ex-prisoners' oral histories and has an extensive collection of copied documents.

The Eyewitness Archive holds personal records, including, for example, all the official records of individual prisoners, the transcribed interviews, and other personal details. The collection is comprised of details of around 4,300 people stored in a database.

The Documentary Archive houses all the general records concerning the prison site, in particular those issued by the Ministry of State Security (MfS). These include instructions for the staff on how to organize the prison regime, prison registers, reports on "specific incidents," training material, the duty roster, staff schedules, and annual staffing plans for the on-site service units, plus degree and doctoral theses by MfS staff. This material is also accessible via a database.

The Photo Archive is comprised of nearly 4,500 historical photos, primarily exterior and interior views of the prison. However, the majority of them were taken after the prison was closed. The photos are all available in digital form.


Eyewitness Archive/Documentary Archive

Dr. Stefan Donth
Tel.: 030 / 98 60 82-454
Fax: 030 / 98 60 82-464
s.donth [at]

Julia Baumann
Tel.: 030 / 98 60 82-33
Fax: 030 / 98 60 82-464
j.baumann [at] stiftung-hsh.d

Peter Erler
Tel.: 030 / 98 60 82-412
Fax: 030 / 98 60 82-464
p.erler [at]


Photo Archive

Daniela Martinowa
Tel.: 030 / 98 60 82-427
Fax: 030 / 98 60 82-464
d.martinowa [at]