About Berlin Stasi Prison
The Berlin Stasi Prison, also known as the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, was an infamous East German prison run by the East German Ministry of State Security (the Stasi) during the Cold War.
Originally a canteen, in 1945 the Berlin Stasi Prison site became a detainment camp named ‘Special Camp No. 3’ run by the Soviet Secret Police. Transformed into a prison in 1947, it was taken over by the Stasi, also known as the MfS, in 1951.
Following the Second World War, East Germany and East Berlin were under the occupation of Soviet Russia as the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Stasi were the official security forces of this state. The Berlin Stasi Prison in Hohenschönhausen became the remand detention centre of the Stasi, housing anyone considered to be hostile to the communist GDR. Prior to the building of the Berlin Wall, this even included West Berliners, such as the lawyer Walter Linse, who was kidnapped and taken there in 1952.
Once the Wall had been erected, many of the prisoners were attempted escapees. The Berlin Stasi Prison was notoriously brutal, with inmates being kept in tiny cells and subjected to torture to extract confessions.
The Berlin Stasi Prison was disbanded in the autumn of 1989 as the GDR began to falter. It was finally closed on 3 October 1990, when East Germany was once again united with the West. Today, the Berlin Stasi Prison is a memorial to those who were detained there and is a stark reminder of the atrocities carried out during the Cold War. Tours are offered and visitors can see a film about the prison.
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