Stasi-Gefängnis Berlin


The ‘Stasi-Gefängnis Berlin’ was the main political prison of the former East German Communist Ministry of State Security, the Stasi. It was built after the Second World War and closed after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Today it is a museum.

The prison area housed a factory manufacturing supplies for the soup kitchens of the National Socialist People’s Welfare Organization before the Second World War. In 1945 the Soviet Secret Police took over the site and transformed it into a detainment and transit camp, called ‘Special Camp No3’. The camp served as both a prison and transfer point.

The authorities closed the camp and relocated prisoners to other camps in 1946. Following its closure, the camp functioned as a Soviet prison during the winter of 1946-1947. Prison labor converted the former cafeteria into the underground prison area.


The prison was reopened in 1951 by the East German Ministry of State Security, also known as the Stasi. At the end of the 1950s, inmates from the neighboring labor camp had to construct a new building with over 200 cells and interrogation rooms in the rear part of the site. This building eventually replaced the old basement prison. Numerous people who stood in the way of the communist dictatorship were imprisoned here.

Since the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, authorities primarily utilized the prison to detain individuals who desired or attempted to leave East Germany, although they also held political prisoners here. The prison has replaced the physical violence of the 1950s with sophisticated psychological torture methods since the 1960s. Well-trained interrogators interrogated prisoners for months to elicit incriminating statements from them.


The prison was used until Die Wende in 1989 and officially closed on 3 October 1990. The prison was listed as a historical site in 1992 and opened as the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial in 1994. I visited the ‘Stasi-Gefängnis Berlin’ in 2018 when I was permitted access to the closed parts of the museum. Follow this link for more abandoned prisons.

Built 1939
Abandoned 1992
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