Torgau-Jugendwerkhof

Mememorial And Meeting Site At The Former Closed Youth Detention Facility Torgau

The closed youth detention facility in Torgau was the only juvenile hall in the GDR that was run like a prison. It was created in 1964 as a special institution for young persons aged between 14 and 18 who, allegedly, were "maladjusted." The goal was within only a few months to turn the young persons into "socialist beings." The teenagers had not been convicted of any crime--to end up at Torgau, it was sufficient often to have run away from a children's home, to have missed school, or simply not to fit in. Already in the mid-1980s there were doubts as to the effectiveness of such a facility. It nonetheless continued to operate until 1989. In the 25 years of its existence, about 4,000 teenagers were imprisoned here. An initiative was founded in 1996 to remember and document this darkest chapter in the history of GDR education. The memorial and meeting site opened in 1998.

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