Places of Remembrance

Former Soviet Special Internment Camps during the Soviet Occupation and Detention Facilities in the GDR Including Prisons and Administrative Buildings of the Secret Police "Stasi"

With regard to political repression in communist East Germany, two time periods need to be taken into account the period of the Soviet Zone of Occupation (1945-1949) and the period of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) with the dictatorship of the Socialist Union Party "SED" from 1949 until 1989.

Starting in 1945, the Soviet occupational forces set up 10 special internment camps in their zone of occupation. In some cases, they used former concentration camps from the period of national socialism or prison facilities with a longer-standing tradition that had also been used by the national socialists. The camps existed until 1950, although Soviet Military Tribunals were in session on East German soil well into the 1950s. The GDR penal system came into being after the creation of the GDR in 1949. In addition to the prisons run by the Ministry of the Interior, there existed the infamous prisons of the Ministry of State Security (the secret police known as "Stasi") as well as for example a closed juvenile detention center (in Torgau), a military prison (in Schwedt, which, however, is not a memorial site), and labor camps.

After the end of the communist dictatorship in East Germany, some of these sites of repression were turned into memorial sites, others into documentation centers, yet others serve as both. Some of them have been put to a different use altogether or were simply closed and left to decay. Some have already a long-standing history of service as memorial sites, others are just now mobilizing forces to keep alive the memory of human rights violations and crimes against humanity that were committed there. Usually groups, organizations, and forums of the formerly repressed stand behind the memorial sites today to ensure that the memory is kept alive and passed on to next generations.

Soviet Special Internment Camps
Prisons Run by the Soviets in Eastern Germany
Police Prisons and Special Detention Facilities in the GDR
Former Administrative Buildings of the Stasi
Former Prisons and Pre-Trial Detention Facilities Run by the Stasi