The Stasi prison Hohenschönhausen is a memorial in Berlin East in today’s district Lichtenberg. There were several notorious prisons here from 1945 until the fall of the Wall. Today the former prison is a listed building. Every day hundreds, often thousands, of tourists come. You can visit the prison of the former GDR in a guided tour (duration 2 hours) for only 6 Euro. You can see cells, interrogation rooms and much more.
You cannot walk alone in the Stasi prison Hohenschönhausen, you have to book a guided tour. First you will be shown a film that summarizes the history of the present memorial (30 minutes). Then a guide shows the visitors the prison, some of them are former prisoners. First you see the cells in the cellar, which were used by Soviet occupation soldiers immediately after the 2nd World War. Small cells for up to 12 persons, in them only wood bed frames and a bucket as toilet. In 1951 the East German secret service Stasi took over the prison in Hohenschönhausen. A new cell wing was built, with single cells. In Hohenschönhausen mainly political prisoners of the GDR were imprisoned. It was a remand prison, most of the prisoners stayed only a few weeks. They were interrogated by the Stasi in Hohenschönhausen. The inmates were all in solitary confinement; they never saw any of their fellow prisoners. During the hours of interrogation, confessions were extorted and statements about acquaintances and relatives were forced. Torture was common in the Stasi prison in Hohenschönhausen. The prisoners usually did not even know where they were.
We really liked the tour Our guide was informative and humorous. First you see the old cells in the basement, built by the Soviet Union. After the war thousands of Nazi functionaries and innocent people were imprisoned here. After that you can see the wing of the Stasi. You see the infamous single cells and one of the prisoner transporters with which the prisoners were transported to other institutions.
You can also enter one of the more than 100 interrogation rooms. All in all a great guided tour on a terrible topic. Most gripping are the many little stories about the individual fates of the political prisoners in the GDR.
Opening hours Memorial Hohenschönhausen
As I said, you can only with leadership in the former Stasi jail. Only groups of more than 6 people must register in advance.
From March to October there are guided tours in German every day on the hour between 10 am and 4 pm. In winter there are fewer guided tours from Monday to Friday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., on weekends as in summer every hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There are additional guided tours in English at 10:30, 12:30 and 14:30 in summer and 11:30 and 14:30 in winter. On Sundays at 14:00 there is a guided tour in Russian all year round.
Guided tours cost only 6 Euro per person, students, disabled etc. pay 3 Euro, pupils only 1 Euro.
The memorial Hohenschönhausen belongs from our point of view to the most interesting sights in Berlin.
Directions Hohenschönhausen Prison of the Stasi
In the surroundings are many residential houses, many prefabricated buildings from the GDR.
Parking: It shouldn’t be a big problem to find a parking place for the former remand prison.
Public transport to the Hohenschönhausen Memorial: From Berlin Central Station, Alexanderplatz or from Landsberger Allee S-Bahn station (ring train) take the tram in the east direction. Get off at the stop “Freienwalder Straße”. From there, turn right and walk up Freienwalder Straße (about 400 meters). The street ends at the former prison.
After the prison gate, turn left. Here you will find the cash register, a bookstore (souvenir shop) and a cafeteria with snacks and drinks. Here is also the meeting point for the guided tours through the Stasi prison Hohenschönhausen.