In East Berlin’s Very Back­yard

Where Berlin - - SIGHTSEEING -

Up un­til Oc­to­ber 1990, the Stasi, East Ger­many's se­cret police, op­er­ated a politi­cal prison in the re­stricted mil­i­tary area of Ho­hen­schön­hausen, in the deep north­east of East Berlin. Eerily, by omit­ting the Stasi Prison (p. 35) from all maps, the pen­i­ten­tiary flew un­der the pub­lic radar un­til af­ter re­uni­fi­ca­tion, and knowl­edge of the prison and its horrific op­er­a­tions are known to­day mainly through first-hand ac­counts. The long halls, some sub­ter­ranean, are flanked by cells that once housed pris­on­ers who were sub­jected to psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture, in­clud­ing sleep de­pri­va­tion and iso­la­tion. Nowa­days, the site is a me­mo­rial ded­i­cated to the for­merly in­terned, sev­eral of whom now lead tours. A per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion on site, fea­tur­ing pho­to­graphs, let­ters, and arte­facts, gives vis­i­tors a glimpse of the hard­ships the im­pris­oned had to en­dure and of the op­pres­sive mea­sures of the GDR regime. (English tours daily at 2:30pm.)

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